If you made a list of the top five Crossovers or Sport Utility Vehicles for your family, what would be on the list? Did the Kia Sorento make the list? Maybe for some of you, but if you’re like me, you probably scrolled through a number of other choices in your mind before Kia. However if you did think of Kia, then it’s probably because you’ve had a chance to own or drive one!
Recently I was fortunate enough to actually test drive the 2012 Kia Sorento for an entire week. Honestly, I probably wouldn’t have thought of test-driving a Kia Sorento if I was in the market. However, I am so glad I did, because our three kiddos will be here before we know it, and we are going to need the extra space of an SUV or a van.
I was honestly skeptical of this endeavor and had pretty low expectations. Why? Hubby actually drives an older model Kia Spectra that he got in his insurance selling days for the good gas mileage in a small car. But other than the gas mileage, we were unimpressed; the car was obviously cheaply made. Not so with the Sorento! Kia has really upped their game, and I now understand why the 2012 Kia Sorento was named among Best Family Cars of 2012 by Edmunds.com and Parents Magazine.
We drove the SX model, which is admittedly top of the line. Leather seats, V6 engine (it has pep!), Voice-Command Navigation and SiriusXM Satellite Radio made my test drive very enjoyable. I also loved the leather and wood-style trim steering wheel and the iPhone/iPod USB connection.
But here’s the thing – with the exception of the wood-style trim steering wheel, those other features come either standard or available as upgrades in the lower EX model. But other than the fun toys (like the heated AND cooling seats, the second of which is nice in the Florida heat!), what are some of the practical takeaways of the Sorento?
- Optional third row seating. It’s not very practical if you’re counting on it for every day use because you have to lay down one of the second row seats to get to it, but it’s very convenient if you need it.
- Keyless start and keyless entry. Awesome, awesome, awesome! Just push a button and you’re on your way. But even more practical, as long as your keys are near you (in your pocket or purse), all you have to do is push a button on your door handle and you’ll be inside your car. Perfect for those rainy days when you need quick entry into your car.
- Rear view video camera. I hate backing up in the first place, and this allows me the comfort of having “eyes” in the back of my head, and more importantly, peace of mind knowing there are no children playing behind me or running out behind me. This comes standard in the EX, EX V6, and SX models (we drove the SX).
- Driveability. The Sorento was a very smooth drive. I had a 1999 Ford Explorer for over 10 years, and I can tell you that the Sorento drives more like a car, whereas the Explorer drove more like a truck. As one who likes to be in as much control as possible while on the road, I found this to be very helpful!
- Turning radius. You know how sometimes you get in a tight spot in a parking lot and you feel like you’ll never make the turn, or worse, that you’ll never be able to get out of a parking spot because someone else has parked too closely? I don’t foresee this happening in the 2012 Sorento. Even my husband couldn’t stop talking about the turning radius, which felt every bit as good as my Sonata.
- Folding mirrors. Keeping the parking theme, how nice is it that the mirrors fold in like this? Yes, this is an upgrade, but don’t you think it’s worth it for when you’re in tight parking situations? I thought it was great. And they’re heated, which we don’t need in Florida, but would be very nice up north in the winter.
- Price. The MSRP for the fully loaded SX like we drove was just under $34,000. Compare that with the top of the line from the following brands: 2012 Lexus 450H (no navigation): starting at $45,000; 2012 Toyota Highlander Limited (no navigation): starting at $35,700; 2012 Ford Explorer Limited (no navigation): $37,800. (All prices taken from Edmunds.com.) And if you don’t need all the upgrades, you can get a brand new 2012 Kia Sorento starting at $21,300, which is really affordable for this quality of a car.
- Warranty. 10 year, 100,000 mile limited powertrain warranty. It’s the best warranty out there, and that also gives peace of mind.
- Fuel-economy. The SX we drove gets 27 mpg hwy, but the lower model LX and EX models get 32 mpg hwy using Kia’s GDI engine.
- Safety. Just look what comes standard (and this isn’t even the whole list!) on all Kia Sorento’s:
- Dual front advanced airbags
- Dual front seat-mounted side airbags
- Side curtain airbags (1st & 2nd rows)
- 4-wheel disc brakes
- 4-wheel anti-lock brakes (ABS)
- Electronic Stability Control
- Traction Control System
- Electronic Brake-force Distribution
- Side-impact door beams
- Lower anchors and tethers for children (LATCH)
There are many other features I haven’t touched on, but hopefully you get the picture. We really enjoyed this car, so much so that we are very serious about purchasing one in the future. As most of you know, our family will be growing very quickly, and we’re going to need the space in a hurry. So here’s how I would rate the 2012 Kia Sorento after driving it for one week:
Vehicle Design and Look – 4 stars out of 5. I have to admit…I’ve always liked the way the Lexus SUV’s look. The Sorento comes close enough for me; hopefully you can see that from these pictures.
Vehicle Quality – 5 stars out of 5. Although in comparison to hubby’s current Kia, I suppose they had no where to go but up. Even so, we found the Sorento to be incredibly well-made, sturdy, solid, yet smooth.
Vehicle Technology – 5 stars out of 5. Gadgets galore! From the voice-command navigation to the folding mirrors to the Bluetooth iPhone capabilities, we loved it.
Vehicle Convenience – 3.5 stars out of 5. This is the one area I thought they could improve just slightly. While the third row is available when you need it, it is a little inconvenient for the kids to get back there. However, the memory driver’s seat and mirror position is very nice, especially if you share the car with your spouse.
Overall Score – 4.4 stars out of 5.
We were very impressed. Would we buy this car? Absolutely. For those in the market for a new vehicle, I hope you’ve found this review valuable. I know I would’ve never even considered driving a Kia Sorento until this opportunity came available, one for which we’re very grateful. So next time you’re out car-shopping, check out the Kia Sorento – I think you’ll be glad you did.
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