By KBB.com Editors
Styled and sized like a modern crossover utility vehicle, Kia's mid-size Sorento SUV retains the rugged body-on-frame construction preferred by off-road enthusiasts and those who need to tow heavier trailers. The Sorento's five-passenger cabin has the look and feel of an upscale SUV, making it as equally adept at shuttling business clients as it is at hauling the kids and family dog. Of course, the Sorento's long list of standard features, a choice of impressively powerful V6 engines, easy-to-swallow low sticker price and Kia's 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty are also big draws. Safety is another area where the Sorento shines, with a five-star government crash-test safety rating, full-length side-curtain airbags and electronic stability control and traction control, all included as standard equipment.
If you're looking for an SUV that's bigger than a Honda CR-V but smaller than a Dodge Durango, the 2008 Kia Sorento might suit you perfectly. Its long list of standard equipment, low base price and comfortable ride make it a good choice for the casual off-road warrior or those who keep their driving strictly on the pavement.
Powered by their rear wheels, the two-wheel-drive Sorento models don't offer the level of traction in ice, snow or mud provided by their front-wheel-drive competitors. The two V6 engines perform well but deliver mediocre fuel economy.
The Sorento LX receives a new 3.3-liter V6 engine good for 242 horsepower and 228 pound-feet of torque. A 3.8-liter V6 remains standard on the EX trim level.
Driving Impressions On the road, the 2008 Kia Sorento seems as solid and secure as the best SUVs from Japan and the U.S, and the steering feels light but precise and controlled....The Sorento's strong V6 engine offers plenty of low-end torque and highway performance. The five-speed automatic delivers crisp shifts and rarely has to hunt for the proper gear. The Sorento's somewhat soft suspension displays more front-end dive and rear squat than we would prefer during harder acceleration and braking. However, the handling in turns does not seem to be affected in the same way, and the Sorento delivers good cornering ability without excessive lean or body roll.
The Sorento's wide interior provides for a roomy cargo area and offers plenty of shoulder room.
Array of Standard Equipment
For the money, few other SUVs can match the Sorento's array of standard equipment.
This is a five-passenger vehicle, but we think that, if those passengers are adults, four would be a more comfortable fit. The Sorento's rear seats provide good headroom and legroom and allow for a fairly large cargo area behind them. The interior quality is commendably good, with substantial plastic components, rich textures and plush surfaces. Standard front and rear side-curtain airbags and a driver's knee airbag comprise a worthwhile safety bonus.Exterior
The 2008 Kia Sorento looks sharp and, on appearance alone, could easily be mistaken for a high-end Japanese SUV. The flared wheel arches, high windowsill line and wide side moldings impart a feeling of solidity, while the high ground clearance and optional Torque-On-Demand four-wheel-drive system promise good traction in slippery conditions.
The LX trim level includes the 3.3-liter V6 engine, a five-speed automatic transmission, air conditioning, four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes (ABS), rear defroster, illuminated entry, remote keyless entry, auto-off headlamps, electronic stability and traction control, dual heated power mirrors, power windows, power locks, AM/FM stereo with MP3-compatible CD player and 10 speakers, front and rear side-curtain airbags, driver's knee airbag, fuel tank skid plate, cruise control, tilt steering wheel, four 12-volt outlets, alloy wheels and a rear wiper and washer. The EX with Luxury Package adds a 3.8-liter V6, fog lights, side cladding, power sunroof, eight-way power driver's seat, heated front seats, leather seating and interior trim, automatic headlamps, 16-inch machined alloy wheels, dual-zone automatic temperature control and full-time four-wheel drive.
Options include Torque-On-Demand full-time four-wheel drive, fog lights, remote start and a rear spoiler. Stand-alone options and accessories include a power moonroof (EX), trailer hitch and side step bars.
The Sorento's 3.8-liter V6 is a strong engine with good pulling and passing power, and it works particularly well with the five-speed automatic transmission. The new 3.3-liter V6 in the LX reduces weight and cost, but delivers nearly as much power as the larger 3.8-liter. Those who need to tow up to 5,000 pounds, however, will want to opt for the larger engine, as the 3.3-liter is tow rated up to only 3,500 pounds.
242 horsepower @ 6000 rpm
228 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/22 (2WD), 15/22 (4WD)
262 horsepower @ 6000 rpm
260 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 15/21 (2WD), 15/20 (4WD)
By Mom44 on Sunday, July 06, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 31,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Good gas mileage, lots of cargo space"
Cons: "Little bit bumpy ride"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"Prior to owning this car, I had a Lexus RX 330. I have two kids and dog and haul furniture from antique stores in my Sorento. The rear seats fold down easily and I have had up to four ladderback chairs in the back at one time. (Also have had a 4 drawer file cabinet in there.) It is not as smooth a ride as the Lexus was, but it handles well. It also seems to be better in the snow than the Lexus was. I like it because it sits high, the inside has lots of cupholders and pockets for stuff, and perhaps surprisingly I have found that mine gets quite good gas mileage. And since it doesn't require premium gas, it costs me less to fill up. I was spoiled coming off the Lexus, but honestly, haven't missed it THAT much since getting this."
2 people out of 2 found this review helpful
By SC on Sunday, July 06, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 31,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Can't ask for a better car for the price I paid"
Cons: "Clock is hard to read."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Bought this car new at the end of 2009 for $18k. Love the look, all the standard equipment, tight turning radius and reliability. The rear split seats fold down individually, so I have the versatility of configuring the cargo space to fit my needs. The headlights seems to be pointing down too far so the beam doesn't light up enough of the road at night. Of course that can be corrected with high beam. The ride is a bit stiff as the vehicle is built on a truck's chassis. Doesn't drive like it's a V6, but will accelerate nicely when I need the extra power."
1 person out of 1 found this review helpful
By Kristy on Tuesday, May 06, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 120,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "excellent car with many good characters"
Cons: "It has been a wonderful truck, need to downsize"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"The leather interior is in great shape, the car has been taken care of and all standard upkeep done. It has a few scratches on the exterior but has never been in an accident. Most of them from grocery store parking lots."
2 people out of 6 found this review helpful
By Trucker on Monday, May 05, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 141,000overall rating 3 of 10rating details
Pros: "Good in snow"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"To May problems (eg.always replacing headlight ,break lights , power seats don't always work , cheep plastic control buttons breaking electrical problems , a lot of wind and road noise and the thing gets push around a lot when it's windy going down the road ) the one good thing is that it is the best vehicle I have driven in the snow"
3 people out of 4 found this review helpful
By DA the DJ on Thursday, April 03, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 106,500overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "reliability, mechanically sound"
Cons: "body construction, cheaper interior"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"This vehicle has never caused me financial pain by breaking down. There are few small downsides to this Kia, namely the need to replace head lamps and other bulbs periodically, the low quality of body construction - but overall it has been the best, most dependable car I have owned."
4 people out of 5 found this review helpful
By gfi on Thursday, March 20, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 110,000overall rating 5 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"car has major issue with main pulley that comes off crankshaft, bolt has issues and breaks - -twice in 2 weeks at 100k miles."
1 person out of 2 found this review helpful