Roominess of a mid-size SUV with a small-SUV price; choice of two V6 engines; off-road capability; stellar warranty; 5-star crash ratings in all four NHTSA categories
There are 2 trim levels of the Sorento: the LX, with a 242-hp 3.3L V6; and the EX, with the 262-hp 3.8L V6. Both versions come with 5-speed automatic Sportmatic shifting with low range, but the EX Luxury edition has an available Borg-Warner Torque-On-Demand option. Both models are available as front-wheel or 4-wheel drive.
One simple change for 2009 that makes a difference in the Sorento's usability is a 60/40 split-folding rear seat. The interior is quite roomy for a small SUV, though there is no third-row seating. The Sorento also comes with dual front airbags, full-length side curtain airbags, a driver's knee airbag and active front headrests. Not surprisingly, then, it earned 5-star ratings in front driver, front passenger, side driver, and side rear crash tests, plus a 4-star rating for the 4-wheel driver rollover test.
The LX comes with plenty of standard features, like a CD/MP3 stereo with 10 speakers, storage under the floor of the rear cargo space, 8-way adjustable driver's seat, electronic stability control, traction control, and tire-pressure monitoring. The Sport Package, available only on the LX, adds fog lights, rear spoiler, 17" tires and alloy wheels, upgraded interior trim, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob.
The EX has all the features of the LX, plus a power sunroof, remote keyless entry, audio controls in the steering wheel, cargo net, 2-tone body side cladding and bumpers and woodgrain accents in the interior. Rather than going sporty, the EX has a Luxury Package available, which adds heated front seats, dual-zone temperature control, 6-disc in-dash CD changer, chrome exterior door handles, and Torque-On-Demand full-time four-wheel drive.
In LX trim, the 3.3L V6 can tow 3,500 pounds; the EX, with its 3.8L V6, can tow up to 5,000 pounds. Without a boat behind it, the EPA estimates the LX front-wheel drive at 16 city, 22 highway, and the EX slightly lower at 15 city, 21 highway. The 4-wheel drive option doesn't affect the mileage much, with the LX estimated at 15 city, 22 highway and the EX getting 15 city, 20 highway.
Not much is new in the Kia Sorento for 2009. It received a design overhaul in 2007, and a second, larger engine was added for 2008. Both the 3.3L and 3.8L V6 powerplants are available in 2009 models. This year, there were slight changes made to the front and rear styling, and a few updates to the interior, including 60/40 fold-flat split rear seats for more cargo carrying options.
With a starting price in the low $20s and the Kia 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty, the Sorento is a very good value for a small SUV. In all trim levels, it has body-on-frame construction, low-range gearing, and high ground clearance, which all add up to an off-road ready vehicle -- plus it has a decent towing capacity of 3500 or 5000 pounds, depending on the engine selected. The fuel economy is decent, returning a highway rating of 22 mpg.
Vehicle Price: 22,295.00
*Estimated payments are for informational purposes only and don't account for acquisition fees, destination charges, tax, title, and other fees and incentives or represent a financing offer or guarantee of credit from the seller.
Equipment that may affect values (standard equipment is pre-selected):
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