This week, we drive the 2015 Kia Sorento, delivered in top of the line SX Limited trim with room for seven passengers. Following a re-design in 2014, Sorento continues to be one of Kia’s best-selling vehicles thanks its excellent owner reviews, 10-year/100,000 mile limited powertrain warranty and overall mechanical reliability ratings. Thus, Kia Sorento enters a new phase of popularity and continues its climb as one of the best selling mid-size SUVs on the road.
Our top line front-drive SX Limited tester came with a base price of $39,900, so we want to assure readers that an entry level, five passenger, Sorento LX starts at $24,100. Granted, this is still pricey when you consider Kia pricing history, but the LX does compete well, with its main difference in trims being the engine. Instead of a V-6, the LX relies on a 2.4-liter, 191-horsepower four cylinder with EPA ratings of 20 city and 27 highway.
Our V-6 powered Limited, meanwhile, adds nearly 100 more horsepower while still delivering good EPA numbers. Rated at 290-horses, the SX Limited delivers an impressive 25 EPA highway MPG while city drops to 18. This is an impressive comparison as for an additional 100 horsepower, you give up just one MPG highway. This makes considering a V6 powered Sorento a reality, especially if towing a small boat or regularly hauling more passengers.
Once you move up to the EX model ($26,600 and includes third row seat), the 3.3-liter V6 is the standard engine across the remaining line, which includes SX ($36,700) and then SX Limited. Power is transferred via a reliable six-speed automatic, and there’s an active Eco button that calibrates the transmission shifting for better fuel efficiency.
Sorento also features its fairly new UVO hands-free eServices infotainment system, introduced last year on select models. This high-tech system features a Voice-Command recognition navigation with eight-inch display connected to the UVO eServices and Sirius/XM traffic system. This allows the driver to do a little bit of everything with his/her voice, from sound entertainment to receiving and sending text messages. (Your dealer will fully explain). A 10-speaker Infinity surround sound stereo comes standard and sounds awesome.
Cargo and passenger capacity is generous as 50/50 split and fold down third row seats allow for seven passenger capability. (Kia is one of just a few mid-size SUVs to offer a third seat). This third row seat folds under, expanding cargo room from 9.1 cubic feet with all seats up to 72.5 with second and third rows down. Other cabin notables include a power liftgate, heated steering wheel, rear safety camera, blind spot detection and much more.
Our Sorento SX Limited arrived in pearl white finish set off by beautiful chrome alloys attached to Kumho 235/55R 19-inch all season tires with red brake calipers. Only three colors are available with the Limited, the others high-end metallic silver and black. High intensity discharge headlamps, NAPPA trim heated leather seats, wood steering wheel, power seats and even heated second-row seats are all standard fare on the Limited.
I especially like the exterior power fold-in side view mirrors that close with the push of a button and also tilt down to prevent damaging chrome wheel scuff when parking. An impressive and standard panoramic sunroof includes power sunshades to help lower inside temps, and the chrome roof rails, rear spoiler, chrome exhaust tips and “SXL” badges finish off the motif.
Underneath, MacPherson front struts merge with a multi-link rear suspension, offering a comfortable ride and surprisingly good handling. The brake system is all top class featuring modern four-wheel ABS discs while safety features include everything from hill start assist to all the traction and electronic controls available today. Kia’s modern airbag protection system deserves extra mention as it fully surrounds all occupants (see photo). A 4×4 model is available for an additional $1,800 from entry LX through top line Limited.
Important numbers include a wheelbase of 106.3 inches, 3,965 lb. curb weight, 7.3-inch ground clearance, 3,500 lb. tow capacity, 17.4 gallon fuel tank and a 35.8 ft. turning circle.
If you’re shopping in the mid-size SUV segment, now is the best time to consider a brand new Sorento, be it a 2015 or, better yet, a 2014 leftover. Since a 2014 is identical to the 2015s, you’ll receive factory year-end incentives which could result in a Kia Sorento parked in your driveway for thousands under the normal price.
2015 Kia Sorento SX Limited (2WD)
Base Price: $24,300|
Price as Tested: $40,795
Entry price getting higher
(Greg Zyla writes weekly for BestRide.com and other GateHouse Media publications).