2016 Kia Sorento : Review
The all-new 2016 Kia Sorento crossover features a newly available turbocharged engine, increased towing capacity, and more room for passengers and their gear. The third-generation Sorento has been re-designed to include more premium materials while also being more capable than the outgoing model. We enjoyed over 1000 miles in the 2015 Kia Sorento during our epic road trip, so we were excited to get behind the wheel of the new model to see what Kia has done to make their popular CUV even better.
Last month we spent an amazing weekend with the 2016 Kia Sorento at the Ritz Carlton in Lake Tahoe, a setting that provided the perfect locale for our first drive in the all-new crossover. While we didn’t encounter any snow, the Sorento proved capable enough to handle any adventure-seeker’s lifestyle, and eagerly climbed the mountain roads. Impressions from our time with the new Sorento follow below, with a mixture of original and press-kit photographs. The Sorento looked like it was having so much fun in the snow, we had to include those.
The 2016 Kia Sorento is larger than the outgoing model in nearly every way. Combining a significantly longer 109.4-inch wheelbase (up 3.1 inches) and overall width that’s broadened to 74.4 inches (increased by 0.2 inches), the Sorento conveys a brawnier, more planted stance. We appreciate the added size and further delineation from the Sportage, although we miss the days when utility vehicles were more truck, and less car.
The front has been aggressively re-styled and features a larger tiger-nose grill, narrower headlights and prominent fog lamp pockets. Overall we dig the design and certainly find this the most attractive Sorento ever made. The front is noticeably similar to the new Kia Sedona, which shows just how far they pushed the styling on that vehicle. The family-wide consistent design that Peter Schreyer implemented continues to evolve and get stronger with each new model.
There are far too many trim levels and choices to outline them all here, but the Sorento comes surprisingly well equipped at the low end. Once you reach the high-end SX-Limited trim level you add 19-inch alloy wheels, power-folding side mirrors, rear tail lamps with LED elements, and the amazing panoramic sunroof. Color choices are relatively limited, but they all look very sharp.
The interior on the outgoing model was a definite strong-point, and it has been further refined. Kia continues to push itself to include premium textures and high-quality finishes in their cabins, and the liberal use of soft-touch materials is evident throughout the front of the vehicle. We’re particularly fond of the two-tone interior, and fell in love with the Merlot Nappa Leather available on the Limited model. The Sorento was already spacious and comfortable, but they went even further adding space for cargo and passengers with more efficient design.
For added luxury and comfort, the Sorento has available heated and ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, 14-way power driver and 8-way power passenger seats, driver’s seat thigh extension, a 4-way headrest with one-button adjustment, seat memory, heated steering wheel, and dual-zone HVAC. All of those features are particularly useful when two writers are constantly jumping out into the frigid air to take photographs, and then switching seats when returning to the vehicle.
The available premium Infinity sound system boasts 630-watts, 12-speakers, an 11-channel amplifier and audiophile sound with the addition of Clari-Fi technology.
Clari–Fi works in real-time to rebuild audio details lost in digitally compressed music via an algorithm that intelligently and seamlessly reconstructs the material to restore to the listening experience, regardless of the source. With Clari-Fi, music sounds cleaner, crisper, wider and more dynamic.
The Sorento continues to offer our favorite navigation and infotainment interface on the crystal-clear 8-inch capacitive-touch color screen. Kia’s brilliant approach to utilize the connectivity of your smartphone instead of relying on the head unit has allowed UVO eServices to continue to evolve. It now includes Geo-fencing, Speed Alert, Curfew Alert, Driving Score, and the Kia App Store.
Kia didn’t just think the Sorento would look amazing in photos in the Lake Tahoe area, they thought the towering mountain peaks and twisting roads would provide a challenging proving grounds for their new vehicle. We felt the Sorento performed admirably, and were particularly delighted when driving the new 240 hp 2.0-liter turbocharged four cylinder. We also drove the 290 hp 3.3-liter V6 which is suitable for hauling additional weight, such as more passengers or towing up to 5,000 lbs. Both are Gasoline Direct Injection (GDI) engines with an electronically controlled six-speed automatic gearbox featuring Sportmatic® shifting. While we didn’t encounter any weather that needed it, we were comforted knowing that the advanced AWD system automatically routes power to the wheels with the most traction.
We’ll refer to the Press Release for the safety feature alphabet soup :
All Sorento models come standard with active safety features such as Electronic Stability Control (ESC), Traction Control System (TCS), Brake Assist System (BAS), Hill-start Assist Control (HAC), Electronic Brake Force Distribution (EBD) and Antilock Braking System (ABS). Additional technologies such as Roll Over Mitigation (ROM) and Cornering Brake Control (CBC) on AWD models also were added as standard equipment for improved dynamic control and safety.
New available driver aid technology, including Vehicle Stability Management (VSM), Forward Collision Warning System (FCWS), Smart Cruise Control (SCC), Blind Spot Detection (BSD), Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Surround View Monitor (SVM), help provide Sorento owners with a more convenient daily driving experience.
Kia continues to impress, and the 3rd generation 2016 Kia Sorento is easily the best Sorento ever. We had an amazing time driving the new Sorento in Lake Tahoe, and can’t wait to get behind the wheel again. Trims range from about $25,000 up to $43,000, which means there is a Kia Sorento offered for nearly every driver and budget. The 2016 Kia Sorento is built in West Point, Georgia and will be available starting this month. As with other Kia vehicles we’ve driven, we believe the new Sorento offers a compelling amount of content for the price without sacrificing on style. Kia was named the 2014 KBB Best Value Brand which means the industry is starting to take notice. Unless you like paying more for less, the Sorento shouldn’t just be on your CUV test-drive list, it should be at the top.