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Review: 2013 Kia Sorento EX AWD

Saturday October 26th, 2013 at 8:1010 AM
Posted by: D.Colman

By David Colman

Hypes: Counterbalanced Hood, Well Designed Interior Accoutrements
Gripes: Dark Red Instrument Needle Pointers Virtually Invisible

Last year, Kia transformed its Sorento from a truck framed SUV to a crossover style unibody. That big switch relegated the 2013 version to such minor revisions as new badge work and optional 3rd row mini-seats. The model range covers the gamut from entry level front-wheel-drive, 4 cylinder offerings like the $23,950 LX, to the penultimate offering we spent a week in, the $31,700 EX. Top of the model line is the SX, which stickers for $33,400. The all-wheel-drive EX model features a 3.3 liter V-6 using variable valve timing and direct fuel injection to produce 290hp and enough torque to tow 3,500 pounds. You’ll be operating a 6-speed automatic transmission without the assist of steering wheel paddles. The V-6 in this 4,235 pound vehicle, records just 18 MPG in city operation and 24 MPG on the highway. A round trip from Mill Valley to Santa Rosa surprised us by taking the fuel needle from full to half full in just 120 miles.

The Sorento EX is so softly sprung that the buckled pavement typical of California back roads causes it to pitch to and fro like a carnival ride. Comfort improves considerably on freeway jaunts where the independent front and rear suspension systems cope better with smooth pavement. Steering is fingertip light, with little information about front wheel position filtering back through the smooth leather wrapped rim. Although Kia provides the EX with standard 18 inch alloy rims wrapped in premium Kumho Venture rubber (235/60R18), you’ll rarely put these beefy contact patches to the test because the jiggling EX will dissuade you from cornering too vigorously.

At the moderate pace thus dictated by this SUV, you will, however, enjoy luxury and comfort beyond expectation in this price range. Of course, part of the bounteous swaddling stems from the fact that KIA fitted our EX with a “Touring” package that added a whopping $4,000 to the base price of the Sorento. Included in this compendium were such niceties as a Navigation System with a prominent 8 inch display panel. Unfortunately, unless you tap the “I Agree” button on the screen’s legal release document every time you start the Sorento, you’re forced to view this ridiculous warning in perpetuity.

Also provided by the Touring Package are an Infinity Surround Sound System, Ventilated and Power Adjustable Front Seats, Blind Spot Detection, and the Biggest Sunroof You’ve Ever Seen. When you factor in good visibility from the driver’s seat, oversize rear view mirrors, and very refined cruise control, the Sorento EX becomes a willing long distance cruise partner. Standard inclusions at the EX level include keyless push button start, tilt and telescoping steering wheel, tire pressure monitoring system, BLUETOOTH wireless technology, USB input jacks, 3 months of free SIRIUSXM service, and a rear camera display through the navigation screen.

If you opt for the $715 third row seat, you’ll be able to carry 5 adults and 2 children in the Sorento at the same time. This makes the EX an attractive proposition for large families more concerned with practicality than performance. While the latest Sorento will never confuse you with BMW-like handling, it accomplishes more mundane driving chores with a panache and refinement that exceed the modest expectations suggested by its cost.

2013 Kia Sorento EX AWD

  • Engine: 3.3 liter DOHC V-6 with direct injection and variable valve timing
  • Horsepower: 290hp
  • Torque: 248 lb.-ft.
  • Fuel Consumption: 18 MPG City/24 MPG Highway
  • Price as Tested: $36,550
  • Star Rating: 7.5 out of 10 Stars

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Tested: 2014 Kia Sorento V6

Monday August 26th, 2013 at 11:88 AM
Posted by: Francois

What’s New

Wow, color us surprised. The exterior did not wow us but we got in the car, and fell in love within our first day with the Sorento. It’s a kind of car that just keeps surpassing expectations from the moment you mash the throttle, throw it into a corner or open the sunroof. Every aspect of the car overdelivers except the sticker price. And one thing we love is the option list is empty and does not come with a $6000 price tage. Most everything is included in our trim level package.

The Sorento gains standard leather seating in EX trim, while the LX V6 now comes standard with a third-row seat.

From the outside, the Sorento lacks the visual pop of Kia’s other products, such as the stylish Soul and Optima. But this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as it may widen the Sorento’s appeal to more mainstream buyers. Step inside the Sorento and it’s a different story. The interior simply outshines the competition with an elegant design, rich materials and fabric choices–such as white-on-ebony leather–features usually reserved for more expensive luxury models.

In addition to its ability to carry seven passengers, the Sorento’s fuel economy and horsepower are near the top of its class. And its pricing undercuts just about everything comparable. The Sorento also comes with a 5-year/60,000-mile vehicle warranty and 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty that is virtually unmatched. And for those who feel strongly about buying American, it will come as welcome news that the Sorento is built at Kia’s plant in West Point, Georgia.

Pros

  • Powerful 4-cylinder engine
  • Excellent fuel economy
  • Low price
  • Impressive standard equipment list
  • IIHS Top Safety Pick

Cons

  • Side curtain airbags don’t cover the third row
  • No blind spot warning system
  • Somewhat sedated and boxy exterior styling
YouTube Preview Image Video: Edmunds.com Review

Comfort & Utility

Kia packs a lot of utility into the Sorento, giving it an available third-row seat and 60/40 split folding, second-row seats. Although the third-row seat expands passenger occupancy to seven, it’s really only suitable for young children. With the third-row seat in the up position, the Sorento’s generous 37 cu ft of cargo space dwindles to around 9.1 cu ft.

On the comfort side of the equation, the Sorento exceeds expectations. Base LX models are nicely equipped with such standard features as a tilt/telescoping steering wheel, cruise control, USB interface and Bluetooth hands-free phone connectivity. The EX trim adds dual-zone automatic climate control, an 8-way power driver’s seat, fog lamps and a backup camera. Move to the top-of-the line SX and you’ll get full leather seating, Kia’s navigation radio and a 10-speaker 550-watt Infinity audio system. Options for the Sorento include all-wheel drive, heated front seats, heated steering wheel, an air-cooled driver’s seat, power folding side mirrors and a panoramic glass moonroof.

Technology

Powered by Microsoft, the UVO information and entertainment system allows voice control of Bluetooth-enabled cell phones as well as a portable music devices like an iPod or iPhone. Add the available navigation system and you’ll enjoy SiriusXM Traffic free for three months (after that, you’ll need to pay for a subscription). SiriusXM Traffic uses the navigation system to alert you of approaching traffic problems. If there’s a delay, the navigation can be used to calculate a new route around the jam.

Performance & Fuel Economy

The Sorento’s standard engine is a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder good for 175 horsepower and 169 lb-ft of torque. Available only on the LX, this engine may help the Sorento achieve a low starting price, but it won’t do much to help move it along when fully loaded. A better choice is the 2.4-liter GDI gasoline direct injection 4-cylinder (optional on the Sorento LX, standard on the EX), which bumps horsepower to 191 and torque to 181 lb-ft. GDI technology boosts horsepower while also offering better fuel efficiency. Fuel economy for the 2.4-liter is rated at 21-mpg city/29-mpg highway (front-wheel drive) and 21/27 mpg (all-wheel drive). The GDI changes those figures to 21/30 mpg and 20/26 mpg, respectively.

The Sorento’s 3.5-liter V6 is available on the LX, EX and SX models. With 276 hp and 248 lb-ft of torque, this engine has the muscle to move a loaded Sorento with ease. Yet its fuel economy figures of 20-mpg city/26-mpg highway are not far below the 4-cylinder’s figures. The all-wheel drive (AWD) model attains slightly lower marks of 18/24 mpg.

No matter which engine you choose, it will be connected to Kia’s electronically controlled Sportmatic 6-speed automatic transmission with manual shift control. Those who opt for the AWD option will get a full-time on-demand system with a lockable center differential that’s useful when driving slowly through heavy snow or light off-road duty.

Safety

The 2013 Kia Sorento offers a full complement of standard safety equipment, including electronic traction and stability control, 4-wheel ABS, front seat side-impact airbags, first- and second-row side curtain airbags (the third-row seat is not protected) and Hill Start Assist to keep the vehicle from rolling backward when pulling away on a steep grade. The Kia Sorento is also an Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Top Safety Pick, getting top marks in the frontal offset, side impact and roof strength crash tests.

Driving Impressions

Despite its size, the Sorento rides and drives like a midsize sedan. With its wide track and independent front and rear suspension, the Sorento delivers a smooth, controlled ride. Excessive body lean was observed only during extreme hard cornering maneuvers. The Sorento’s unobtrusive stability control allows for somewhat sporty driving. But when the road gets rougher, we did notice more noise and impact harshness than in comparable SUVs. We also found that the Sorento’s steering wheel feels a bit heavy to turn, and its suspension favors the softer side of the spectrum. If you’re looking for an SUV with a firmer suspension and a sportier attitude, we suggest the Ford Edge or the Mazda CX-5 (though neither offers third-row seating).

We’re not big fans of the standard 2.4-liter’s performance, but we do like the GDI version, which offers better off-the-line acceleration and passing power. The Sorento’s 3.5-liter V6 not only ups performance but also increases the maximum tow rating from 1,650 to 3,500 pounds.

Other Cars to Consider

Dodge Journey: The Journey offers more room for its third-row occupants and can match the Sorento’s feature and content offerings. But the Sorento gets better fuel economy and has a more powerful 4-cylinder engine.
Ford Edge: The Ford Edge has a more buttoned-down feel to it, with a sportier ride and an available turbocharged engine; however, the Edge doesn’t offer a third-row seat option, and its pricing starts well above the Sorento.
Toyota Highlander:  The Highlander holds its value better than the Sorento, but a comparably equipped model costs a bit more and doesn’t offer as good a warranty.

The Bottom Line

Step up to the SX or Limited models from $35,850 and $38,850 respectively, and AWD can be added as an option to all trim levels for an extra $1,700.
All in, the 2014 Sorento is a decent SUV. Though undeniably improved, it doesn’t look it, and that could be its biggest drawback. Continuing to be a strong value package with checkmarks in both the plus and minus columns, in a sea of attractive new offerings the Sorento fails to deliver any wows.

Specifications

  • Engine: 3.3L V6
  • Power: 290 HP / 252 LB-FT
  • Transmission: 6-Speed Automatic
  • MSRP: $31,700 (base)

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2013 Kia Soul Exclaim (!) Review

Friday March 29th, 2013 at 9:33 AM
Posted by: D.Colman

By David Colman

Hypes: Rocks the Cute Scale
Gripes: Bouncy Ride, No Manual Available on !

The happy Soul enters its 4th year of production in mildly revised form. This year, you can opt for the base model Soul, a step-up version designated Plus (+), or the full featured Soul Exclaim (!) which I tested.
In view of the fact that top shelf Souls have escalated in price from $17,190 in 2011 to $23,575 for this year’s loaded !, your exclamation might be limited to the steep price creep. But once you’ve spent a couple of days behind the slightly raked, multi-function steering wheel of this best Soul Kia makes, you’ll look at the entry price as a bargain rather than a hurdle.

Unlike the base model, which utilizes a 1.6 liter straight 4 to make 138hp, both the + and ! models bump displacement to 2 liters worth of inline 4 making 164hp. Ironically, the base motor is technologically more sophisticated than the optional version because it boasts direct fuel injection rather than multi-point injection. The base and + versions are available with either 6-speed manual or automatic transmissions, while the ! offers only the automatic. The base Soul weighs just 2,615 lbs. compared to the automatic ! which scales in at 2,778 lbs.

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2012 Kia Rio SX Review

Thursday February 9th, 2012 at 9:22 PM
Posted by: aquadog

After testing a 2011 Kia Optima last year, I found myself impressed with Kia’s revised approach to the US market. They seem to have recognized their place in the market, understand their competition, and have done a good job in creating a great added value proposition verses the competition.

The 2012 Kia Rio was a welcome test candidate given my experience driving the Optima last year. The Kia’s we’ve been able to experience have actually stood up well to other cars within their respective classes. Sure, with the competitors like Honda, Hyundai, and Mitsubishi to name a few, competition is tough, but Kia has definitely turned a corner and is producing more and more appealing cars today.

Along with the sports package features, the car comes fully air bagged, front to back, including full length side curtain air bags – definitely a nice feature given the price point of the car. Some more expensive cars will only add full length side curtains airbags as an option only. Anti-lock brakes, traction control, stability control, and hill assist control are also included, but are also very standard options from at least this price point and up. One bonus though is the four wheel disc brake feature, which is hard to find on anything else in this class where less powerful rear drum brakes are dominant.

The one feature we missed in this car is Kia’s ISG technology, or “Idle Stop and Go,” which shuts down the motor when at stop lights. It’s said to add about 1 or 2 miles to the already good 30 city and 40 highway fuel economy, but our test car was released before the technology became fully ready for the platform. With other manufacturers from Honda to Porsche adopting this type of system, it would be interesting to see how Kia executes theirs. Honda’s is not super smooth in my opinion, and I have heard that Porsche’s is better but not without some consumer issues. Only time will tell how this will work.

Base price for the Kia Rio SX came in at $17,700. As tested, our car came in at $18,545, which included a set of floor mats, as well as freight and handling. The SX package is considered the Sports Package version of the car. It comes with a sport tuned suspension and great looking 17” two tone alloy wheels mated to a peppy 1.6 liter gas direct injection 4 cylinder motor and 6 speed automatic transmission.

Ming reviews the new 2012 Kia Rio SX

YouTube Preview Image

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2011 Kia Optima Hybrid Review – Arriving fashionably late to the hybrid party

Tuesday September 27th, 2011 at 7:99 AM
Posted by: D.Colman

2011 Kia Optima Hybrid
By David Colman

Likes:

  • High Level of equipment
  • Refined interior
  • Stunning looks

Dislikes:

  • Balky drivetrain
  • Annoying “Easy Access” seat slide on entry

The 2011 Kia Optima sedan is a spectacularly successful styling effort. Its proportions, stance and attention to detail make it look twice as expensive as its $32,000 price tag. It is more handsome and better proportioned than any of the current gape-mouthed Audis or flame surfaced BMWs. But where those storied German makes succeed is performance. In that regard, the Kia falls short of the lofty mark promised by its stellar styling.

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2011 Kia Optima Hybrid First Impressions Review

Thursday June 23rd, 2011 at 8:66 AM
Posted by: AKramer

2011 Kia Optima Hybrid
By Alex Kramer

Pros:

  • Eye-catching exterior design
  • Roomy, well-apportioned interior
  • Smooth, quiet hybrid drivetrain
  • Solid handling and ride quality

Cons:

  • A bit slow for a car with over 200 hp
  • Brake pedal feels squishy
  • Untested fuel efficiency

The folks at Kia Motors are very optimistic. Having launched seven brand new models in under 2 years and with record sales growth over the past year, Kia is transforming itself into a major player in the car market.

Part of this success is surely due to an emphasis on value, which has resonated with buyers in these tough economic times. At the same time, a shift away from forgettable econoboxes and towards quality design and engineering has made for an almost unbeatable combination of high quality at a low price.

To keep the momentum rolling, Kia is now offering a hybrid gas-electric vehicle in the form of its Optima mid-size sedan. With gas prices looking to stay close to $4 a gallon, this could be the perfect time to make a case for fuel efficient motoring and take a bite out of the growing hybrid sedan segment.

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Video Review: 2011 Kia Optima by Driving Sports TV

Friday June 10th, 2011 at 12:66 PM
Posted by: Derek

2011 Kia Optima

Hyundai and Kia are getting better and better with each new model release and the latest from Kia is a prime example why they are gaining market share at a fantastic rate. The 2011 Kia Optima jumps into the one most heavily contested categories and does well competing against the heavy hitters such as the Honda Accord, Toyota Camry and Nissan Altima.

Designed at Kia’s studios in Frankfurt, Germany and Irvine, California, the all-new Kia Optima is longer, wider and lower than the out-going model it replaces and is based on an all-new midsize platform that allows for distinctive dimensions and proportions, while also providing a unique canvas for Kia’s global design team to pen a vehicle that stands apart from everything else in its segment.

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2012 Kia Rio

Friday May 13th, 2011 at 10:55 AM
Posted by: aquadog

2012 Kia Rio

The all-new, redesigned 2012 Kia Rio (Rio5 in North America) features a 1.6-liter, GDI 4-cylinder, 138-horsepower engine and a 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic transmission, that both achieve 40-mpg on the highway and 30-mpg in the city. The Rio will come in 3 trims, the LX, EX and the SX and will also offer ISG technology, which turns the vehicle’s engine off when it’s not in motion for lower fuel consumption. The Rio also has increased space by becoming longer, wider, and lower and features a reduced engine weight of 29 pounds over previous models.

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2011 Kia Optima Review – Not Your Average Mid-Size Sedan

Friday April 8th, 2011 at 7:44 AM
Posted by: mtan

2011 Kia Optima
By Ming Tan

Pros:

  • Feature and amenity laden
  • Smooth design aesthetics
  • Peppy 2.4L 4 cylinder motor
  • Sporty handling suspension

Cons:

  • A few oddly placed function buttons
  • Narrow trunk pass through
  • Awkward blind spots
  • Light steering feel

Just what is an “average” sedan? This is an interesting question in a world dominated by Honda, Toyota, Ford, and Chevrolet. Is average boring? Is it plainly functional? Or should even an average car stimulate your senses and make you want to take a detour just to spend a little more time in it?

The marketing hype surrounding Kia’s new Optima, which culminated in an eye-popping Super Bowl commercial involving alien abduction and Mayan sacrifice, has absolutely peaked my interest. Having owned both Hondas and Toyotas in the past, I know what an average sedan feels like. I want to feel something different. Not often do thoughts of mid-sized sedans evoke passion and verve, but why shouldn’t they?

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40 MPG Cars – Affordable and Fuel Efficient

Tuesday March 29th, 2011 at 12:33 PM
Posted by: aquadog

2011 Chevy CruzeWith fuel prices continually rising, 40+ mpg cars are looking like a great option for consumers who can’t afford or don’t want hybrid technology. Without breaking the bank, these affordable fuel efficient cars range from $15,000 to about $20,000 and all provide 40 mpg or more highway mpg driving. Companies that have joined the 40-mpg club are Ford, Honda, Kia, Mazda, Hyundai, Chevrolet, and Smart.

Automakers are achieving the 40 mpg mark by using lighter-weight materials, modern gasoline powered engines with direct injection and six-speed automatic transmissions along with additional fuel-saving technologies such as low-rolling-resistance tires.

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Posted in Audi, Chevrolet, Feature Articles, Ford, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Mazda, Press and News, Volkswagen |Tags:, , , , , , , , , , , , || 4 Comments »


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