2011 Kia Sorento EX 3.5 Review – A Lot More Than Meets the Eye

Expert Reviews Kia

2011 Kia Sorento


Let’s be honest, the Koreans haven’t exactly been experts in this department. Take pretty much every single model Hyundai went to market with in the late 80s to well…even today. Not exactly their strong suit. Kia also had its own share of laughable designs, like the Amanti. They started to turn the corner when they copied the Lexus RX design in the first Sorento. But now look at the Kia line-up. With new designs coming out of their Irvine design center like the Soul and the Forte, Kia is really showing up its parent company Hyundai and also the competition. New Kias have a distinct corporate look in the nose of the cars. The corporate grill and headlights actually work pretty well on the Sorento SUV, despite its taller face. The taillights could use more work, as can the fat C pillars. I also think the SUV could benefit from a wider stance, not only for style but probably for handling as well.

2011 Kia Sorento front view2011 Kia Sorento rear view2011 Kia Sorento side view


The Sorento tester MSRPs at close to $35k, not exactly a bargain for a Korean car. But then look at all the options and then drive the vehicle, you might begin to change your mental model about Kias. Funny thing about mental models though, they’re very hard to change. I think Kia will have a hard time convincing car buyers that this Sorento is just as good as competitive offerings like the Mazda CX-9, Toyota Highlander, Dodge Journey and the Honda Pilot and to shell out about the same amount of money. Once you peel off the tape over the Kia oval, the perceived value drops instantly. That’s too bad because this 2011 Sorento is a really solid performer and a vast improvement over the last generation.

Who should buy it?

I would recommend the Kia Sorento EX to small families with one or two children, who might need the extra room for 7 passengers when grandparents come to visit. It is not big enough to fit 7 people comfortably on a regular basis. It is a practical SUV/crossover with a lot of bells and whistles. It will not, however, turn any heads at the mall or make your kids cool at the school.

72.5 cubic feet max cargo space 37 cubic feet of cargo space


Overall the Kia Sorento is a solid and practical performer that exceeds expectations. Kia has come a long way in terms of quality and design, now if only they could do something about resale values and brand equity.

RATING 4.5 5.0 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.0 4.5/A-

Kia Sorento Superbowl Ad

2011 Kia Sorento Photo Gallery

Kia Forte Specs

2011 Kia Sorento EX V6 Specs

Kia MotorsThe official website of Kia Motors – www.kia.com

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  • Russell Alexander says:

    I purchased my Sorento SX AWD a month ago. I enjoyed driving it for the first three weeks. Then the beginning of the third week I noticed it was starting a little rough. I thought ok; it is December and is very cold outside; no big deal. Then Thursday morning the day before Christmas Eve I notice a ticking sound coming from the engine. So I call the dealership to see if I could bring it by to see if it is safe to drive. They basically told me NO its the day before Christmas Eve its probably your breaks you will be fine. Bring it in after the holidays. Ok sensing no help from the dealer I went out to finish my Christmas shopping with my wife. As we pull up to a major intersection I hear a nasty loud squeal then the sound of metal screeching and my car ceased and came to a dead stop in the middle of the intersection! I put it into neutral and I could not even get it to roll out of the middle. Everything under the hood had completely ceased up and locked up. Long story short we were able to have the car towed to the dealer but had no vehicle over the holidays so we had to cancel plans with our families. The next week they drained the oil and found metal fragments inside the engine. Now you tell me how a vehicle with less than 1000 miles on it has catastrophic engine failure like this? I will never purchase another Kia and I STRONGLY advise anybody thinking about the Sorento model reconsider until they get the kinks worked out.

  • sarge says:

    I presently own a 06 RAV4 Limited w/ V6, 3rd row seat. I just purchased a 2011 Sorento EX V6 AWD.For just $2K more than I paid for the RAV four years ago,I have leather int, NAV w/ backup camera, Bluetooth, chrome 18”wheels, 6 spd auto,better speed display, rear door goes up not sideways, little more room inside. But, a LOT more performance from RAV,better handling, easier to drive around due to smaller size. Also better mpg. The EX so far w/900 miles, 16.5, 17.5 (18.5 mostly hwy going 70-80 mph.) The ride is softer in the EX not as truck like in the RAV. 3rd row seats easier to get into and little more space. My wife LOVES the EX luxurious int and ext.I like the performance of the RAV.I agree w/the editors comments above about most items, BUT narrow cabin? It’s not a Escalade.

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