Handsome Three-Row Crossover Offers Three Engines
We Like: The nicely appointed and roomy interior, excellent value.
We Don’t Like: Its numb steering, lots of body roll, the unimpressive V-6.
The redesigned Sorento has a lot to be proud of. A stretched body and wheelbase make it roomier. It can be had with a new 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder engine, and it rides atop a vastly revised suspension. The big Kia looks more stylish, too.
Stay tuned to MotorTrend.com as the 2016 Motor Trend SUV of the Year contenders and finalists are revealed in advance of the official winner announcement on the evening of November 16. Learn about other SUV of the Year contenders at the links below. Check out the SUV of the Year evaluation process HERE, and read about the evolution of our Of The Year awards HERE.
Editors praised the comfortable cabin for its ability to accommodate an optional third row, though it’s best suited for small children. “I like the interior a lot,” noted Ed Loh of the front-wheel-drive LX’s cabin. “It’s more special, more Euro, than the Land Rover Discovery Sport. Classy.” Ron Kiino concurred “It’s handsome inside and out.” Although a step up in terms of quality of materials and overall layout from the year prior, items such as its Infiniti-esque wood trim and tiny navigation screen (“The smallest I’ve seen since the old Ford Escape,” Jonny Lieberman said) earned gripes.
Judges noticed a distinct numbness at the helm during our road loops. “It has a huge dead spot on-center,” Jason Cammisa said. And once you feed the wheel any significant amount of steering angle, the result is generous body roll—to put it kindly, and particularly from the front-wheel driver—which makes cornering a labor-intensive maneuver. “It felt a bit sloppy on the twisty portion, with the numb steering not helping,” Kiino said. On the other hand, the all-wheel-drive system with a locking center coupling had the Sorento easily traversing the evaluation loop’s off-road portion.
Judges found the 2.4-liter a bit too lifeless and always in need of a good prodding to muster decent momentum. The EX V6 all-wheel drive, though plenty powerful and capable of towing 5,000 pounds (2,268 kg), had the noisiest interior of the Sorento contenders. And the 2.0-liter turbo roughly splits the difference in EPA fuel economy, while just barely outperforming the 2.4-liter at the dragstrip (its SXL chassis outmaneuvers it handily). Several editors lamented that the upper level models don’t ride as plushly as the front-wheel-drive. “I’ll never understand why the more expensive version of a vehicle performs worse in any way,” said Jonny Lieberman. “What do the kids say? SMH LOL.”
|2016 Kia Sorento||LX||EX V6 AWD||SXL AWD|
|Price As Tested||$28,225||$37,245||$45,095|
|Vehicle Layout||Front-engine, FWD, 5-pass, 4-door SUV||Front-engine, FWD, 5-pass, 4-door SUV||Front-engine, FWD, 5-pass, 4-door SUV|
|Engine||2.4L/185-hp/178-lb-ft DOHC 16-valve I-4||3.3L/290-hp/252-lb-ft DOHC 24-valve V-6||2.0L/240-hp/260-lb-ft turbocharged DOHC 16-valve I-4|
|Transmission||6-speed automatic||6-speed automatic||6-speed automatic|
|Length x Width x Height||187.4 x 74.4 x 66.3||187.4 x 74.4 x 66.3||187.4 x 74.4 x 66.3|
|Wheelbase||109.4 in||109.4 in||109.4|
|Curb Weight (F/R Dist)||3,725 lb (57/43%)||4,153 lb (56/44%)||4,153 lb (56/44%)|
|Acceleration, 0-60 mph||9.1 sec||7.2 sec||9.0 sec|
|Quarter Mile||16.9 sec @ 82.7 mph||15.7 sec @ 89.6 mph||16.8 sec @ 83.4 mph|
|Braking, 60-0 mph||130 ft||126 ft||122 ft|
|Lateral Acceleration||0.78 g (avg)||0.78 g (avg)||0.79 g (avg)|
|MT Figure Eight||28.4 sec @ 0.59 g (avg)||27.8 sec @ 0.61 g (avg)||27.5 sec @ 0.63 g (avg)|
|EPA City/Hwy/Comb||21/29/24 mpg||17/23/19 mpg||19/25/22 mpg|
|Energy Consumption, City/Hwy||160/116 kW-hrs/100 miles||198/147 kW-hrs/100 miles||177/135 kW-hrs/100 miles|
|CO2 Emissions||0.81 lb/mile||1.01 lb/mile||0.91 lb/mile|
|Real MPG City/Hwy/Comb||23/29/26||20/28/23|
2016 Motor Trend SUV of the Year Contenders:
- BMW X6
- Chevrolet Trax
- Fiat 500X
- Ford Edge
- Ford Explorer
- Honda HR-V
- Hyundai Tucson
- Jeep Renegade
- Kia Sorento
- Land Rover Discovery Sport
- Mazda CX-3