After taking a year off from the lineup for a complete redesign, the Kia Sorento is again part of the lineup. In its new incarnation, it shares the unibody constructed structure with the Hyundai Santa Fe. The new, sleeker, model replaces the previous body on frame design. It has grown almost 4 inches overall, despite the fact that it’s wheelbase has been shortened by .3 inches. This newfound space has made a pleasant increase in interior volume.

The improvements in the new Sorento don’t end there. It has gone on a diet and the reduced weight when compared to the earlier models help the 4 cylinder engine, which makes 175 horsepower, feel like a more viable option, although he Sorento offers a much more powerful option as well in the form of a 276 HP 3.5 liter V-6. Regardless of which engine is chosen, they will be mated to a 6 speed automatic transmission.

While front wheel drive is standard, there is an option for all wheel drive. Trim levels to choose from on the Sorento are the LX, EX, and SX.

Body styles: Crossover SUV
Engines: 2.4L I-4, 3.5L V-6
Transmissions: 6-speed automatic
Models: LX, EX, SX

The 2011 Sorento is now a unibody, three-row crossover. It has been completely redesigned, and uses a 2.4-liter four-cylinder or a 3.5-liter V-6 as its means of motivation. Both engines are backed by a six-speed automatic. The new Sorento is longer, steering is quicker, and its suspension is now fully independent. While there is enough space for seven people, the third row is snug and best suited for kids.

The Sorento’s notched front end reflects the new nose of Kia. The crossover looks more sophisticated than before, and is larger, too. It rolls on standard 17-inch wheels, with 18-inch alloys an option. If you need more space for long trips, the Sorento also has an optional roof-rail system.

The base-model LX is somewhat Spartan compared with the rest of the line, but Sirius Satellite Radio, Bluetooth, and tilt/telescoping wheel are standard. Seat heaters, a third row, navigation, and rearview camera are available.

The four-cylinder powered EX moves from 0-to-60 mph in 9.6 seconds — a number puts it near the back of the competitive pack. The engine sounds quicker than it actually is, but the transmission’s shifts are smooth. Not surprisingly, opt for the V-6 and the Sorento’s straight line performance gets much better: its 7.6-second sprint to 60 is better than that of the Mazda CX-7 and Ford Edge.

Driver and passenger front airbags are standard, along with front seat-mounted side airbags and two-row side curtain airbags. Also standard: four-wheel ABS, stability control, hill-start assist control, and downhill brake control. There’s a rollover sensor as well.

19-21 mpg city/25-29 mpg highway

  • Sophisticated looks
  • Good mileage
  • Seven-passenger seating

  • Tight third-row
  • Small cargo area behind third row
  • Slowish four-cylinder

Good conversion from SUV to crossover

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