Reviews

2017 Kia Sorento Walk Around


Korean carmakers are known for their ability to copy competitors, to steal the best ideas and designs, and the Sorento styling reflects that skill. It looks neat and elegant, in its family crossover tapestry. Its change is evolutionary, with familiar soft proportions.

Good aerodynamics belie the overall slight bluntness. The front and rear show maturity in the details, with character coming from the detailed grille, LED running lights, and narrow headlamps with prominent air intakes punctuated by foglamps.

Interior

The Sorento cabin has the feel of a luxury car, thanks to its refinement. The body structure, new for 2016, doubled the amount of high-strength steel, and you can hear it in the solid thunk of the closing of the doors, as well as the quiet ride.

The front seats are especially good. Kia cabin engineers have proudly stated they copied the seats of a Volvo. The seats leave your prosaic Toyota and Honda SUVs behind, and venture into the comfort zone of Jeep Grand Cherokee, BMW X5 and VW Touareg. In Sorento SX models, there’s extendable thigh support for tall drivers, and available height and tilt adjustment for the passenger.

The second-row seats are, we shall say, less than optimum. They’re low, short, firm, and not contoured: a basic bench. The Nissan Murano and Toyota Highlander back seats are far better. However there’s storage under the rear seats, and at least the bench allows the seatback neatly flip forward for access to the third row. Which is surprisingly good, considering that it’s a few inches shorter than the Highlander’s, and even more inches shorter than in the Ford Explorer or Dodge Durango. The Sorento’s third row works for short rides if you’re under six feet.

On the Sorento SX Limited the third row is power folding, by a button inside the liftgate. There’s also an available remote liftgate release that works with the key in your pocket or purse. But the storage space behind the third row is relatively small, maybe enough for three grocery bags.

The Sorento dashboard is attractive and functional, and wraps around between the front doors. It’s fairly low, making the gauges and instruments seem high, which means they’re easy to read and easy to reach. There is ample soft-touch trim, although it could be a bit more daring, and the quality of the interior materials is good. The climate, audio, and navigation controls have their own tidy control pods.

The panoramic moonroof that comes on SX models (optional on EX) is nice but brings down the headroom over the second row too much. If you have tall teens, you may not want it.

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