Reviews

2015 Kia Sorento Walk Around



The Sorento is the bigger of Kia’s two compact crossovers (the smaller one is the Sportage), sharing structural and powertrain elements with the Hyundai Santa Fe, which is available with two wheelbases, 106.3 inches for the two-row version and 110 inches for the three-row. The Sorento uses only the smaller wheelbase, even with its third row squeezed in. We think it enhances the package.

The Sorento’s front stance is wide but subtle, with the most visible distinction a new semi-circle of LED lights flanking each projector beam headlamp. A wide trough in the hood, between character lines at the edges, gives the Sorento a touch of macho. You enjoy these lines through the windshield. You can actually see the hood of your Sorento, unlike some steep-nosed crossovers.

Fog lamps (optional) are vertical and at the edges, enhancing the appearance of width. New for 2015 are LED turn signals, taillights and reverse lights.

Wheel/tire choices are unusually extensive. The basic Sorento LX comes with 7×17-inch wheels wearing 235/65R17 tires. The range also includes 18- and, for the first time, 19-inch aluminum alloys.

Interior

The Kia Sorento cabin is roomy, with lots of cargo capacity: 72.5 cubic feet with the second and third rows folded flat, and still almost 40 feet with the just the third row flat. The second row offers adjustability and decent leg room. It’s a 40/20/40, not the usual 60/40, making the Sorento a sweet four-passenger with easy access to the cargo area. The third row is cramped, but it works for a family with four or five kids. Sorento is the soccer mom’s delight.

The interior materials and design say quality. The dash is clean and handsome, and the instruments are easy to read. The chassis and body engineers have done a very good job of noise suppression, winning plaudits for the quiet cabin. We found the seats comfortable if not sporty, and widely adjustable. The seats in our SX had power lumbar, which helped to make it a wonderful road trip car.

The center stack is dominated by an eight-inch touch screen that’s home for the navigation system and infotainment. Kia calls it UVO eServices, and it includes a broad range of connectivity options.

We found the screen’s incessant messages annoying and distracting to our driving. We got sick of being told, Watching this screen while the vehicle is in motion can lead to a serious accident, and then being presented with unnecessary questions that had to be correctly answered and touched, to move forward with the navigation. That can lead to a serious accident.

Upper trim levels include upscale features such as ventilated leather power front seats, front and rear dual zone auto climate control, premium audio pushbutton starting, heated and ventilated front seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, second row sliding sunshades, illuminated door handle pockets, and a 115-volt power inverter.

Higher trim levels include a large power sunroof, with a power-operated shade, and Kia has added a programmable power rear liftgate.

The Sorento continues to offer the option of a three-row, seven-passenger configuration. However, adding the third row consumes a bit of cargo space and continues to be very snug in terms of third-row leg room. Kia and Mitsubishi are now the only players in this segment to offer a third-row option. Toyota bailed with the RAV4, due to lack of buyers. The Hyundai Santa Fe with 110-inch wheelbase offers a third row, but it is a longer vehicle.

Five-passenger models (with just two rows of seats) get a storage compartment under the rear cargo floor.

The Sorento offers a sonar-based blind spot monitor system, a first for Kia. Like other blind spot watch dogs, the system tracks vehicles lurking in the Sorento’s rear quarters and provides visual alerts, followed by audible warning if the driver begins to move into the occupied lane.

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