The 2011 Kia Sorento is an all-new crossover utility vehicle, completely redesigned from the ground up with a totally new structure. The 2011 Sorento is much more like a car than before. While the previous-generation Sorento was built on a rugged but clunky body-on-frame truck chassis, the 2011 Sorento uses tight, lightweight, rattle-free unibody construction.
During our test drive, we found the all-new 2011 Sorento quiet, its rigid new structure providing an impressive feeling of sturdiness. The new suspension is nicely tuned to muffle rough pavement. On smooth curves when driving a bit more aggressively, it feels decently agile and easy to control with perfect steering feel.
Larger in every way than prior models, the 2011 Sorento can be ordered as a three-row crossover seating seven. The new Sorento also has 15-percent greater cargo volume than its predecessor. One walk around this stylish new Sorento makes clear that it means to compete toe to toe with the premier midsize crossovers, Chevrolet Equinox, Toyota Highlander, Ford Edge, and Honda Pilot.
The exterior styling of the Kia Sorento is crisp, freshly contemporary. And looking over its uniformly accurate body-panel gaps confirms that Kia is paying close attention to the industry's ever-higher build-quality standards.
Most models come with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine. It delivers adequate performance and adequate fuel economy, achieving an EPA-estimated 21/27 mpg City/Highway for Sorento 4WD with 6-speed automatic. The top-line V6 delivers spirited performance, putting the Sorento at or near the front of its class.
While not intended as an off-road vehicle, a four-wheel-drive Sorento with its 7.2-inch ground clearance would be happy to head out over open desert with no thought of turning back. Furthermore, if you live in vertical country, hill start-assist control and downhill brake control, standard across the Sorento line, will make life easier.
Inside is a roomy cabin with a rich inventory of occupant-convenience technologies, including voice-actuated navigation. Its interior uses quality materials throughout. Attractive design themes, handsome interior color schemes and available leather upholstery declare that this is a quality family vehicle.
For back-seat riders, Sorento offers separate front and rear air conditioning controls and an available rear DVD player with an overhead screen and headphones. To keep the front-row proprietors amused, the well appointed Sorento features an AM/FM/satellite/CD/MP3 (or add available high-power 10-speaker Infinity audio), Bluetooth connectivity, USB audio input jacks, steering wheel-mounted audio controls and either an available rearview mirror with backup display or a full-on rearview backup camera.
All in all, the 2011 Kia Sorento is a fully equipped contemporary family crossover. It will compete with the best mid-size crossovers from Japan and Detroit, and give you the goods at a somewhat lighter price than the rest.