porting enough room to accommodate the nuclear family, along with a number of features that generally cost thousands more than other car brands, the Kia Sorento might be one of the most sensible and practical cars I’ve driven.
The exterior of the Sorento isn’t likely to stop and gather an audience. The same can be said for the inside. But unlike an $83,000 Mercedes, the $34,000 Kia Sorento ($30,000) is outfitted with all the bells and whistles one could ask for.
Though it hardly ranks as a an awe inspiring feature, it’s hard to overlook the power liftgate that can be activated with the key fob or the button just above the license plate. Once inside there is a hidden floor compartment for storing items that you don’t want in plain sight, or that you perhaps want to prevent from rolling around in the spacious cargo area.
Beyond the C pillar is a row of seats, air controls and an AC plug to power whatever gadget that is voted most likely to keep the kids quiet and content. Space in the back seat is limited, as illustrated in the accompanying video starring yours truly. But it should be plenty for kids, grandma and the dog.
Up front there is a whole suite of features and options. This includes nav, a rear view camera (no more running over the neighbors cat or at least no excuse), multiple charge points, and Kia’s connected car service called UVO. There is also blind spot monitoring mirrors, and what I consider to be the piece de resistance: a panoramic sunroof. Check it out in the video. It’s as vast as it is breathtaking, especially in light of the Sorento’s rather wallet acceptable price tag.
Under the hood is Kia’s 3.3-liter GDI V6 engine mated to a 6-speed sport manumatic transmission. Power is ample for a family mover, and the gear shifts are surprisingly smooth despite the class (and cost) of the vehicle. The chassis settings are a little stiff for my taste, especially in a car that is rather tame in the power department. However, the Sorento isn’t a bore to drive and deserves credit for its road holding abilities.
So how does one summarize the Sorento? Well, it’s probably best described as the value purchase. In fact, it might be the best bang for buck car I’ve tested. And $30,000, while not a drop in the bucket for most families, is a commensurate amount of loot to fork over given the Sorento’s all together fit and finish, as well as features and drivability. I do, however, have few gripes with the CUV. This includes not enough leg room for front and rear passengers, and an awfully high seating position that made me feel perched a bit too high for comfort. All of those are rather moot in the grand scheme of things, though.