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 Kearstinv on Monday, January 26, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 104,000overall rating 6 of 10rating details
Pros: "Comfortable, spacious, handles well"
Cons: "Cheaply made"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 4
"I bought this used about a year and a half ago before I moved down to Mexico for a job. I needed a 4-wheel drive SUV to get me through some rough dirt terrain on occasion and to be able to carry a lot of stuff. I have been really happy with how it handles, the size, the space it offers and the amount of storage. The size is perfect because it is big enough to fit a lot in (I fit a washing machine in the back with the seats laid down!) but still small enough to fit in most parking spaces with ease. However, I am now looking into trading it in. When I bought it, we went through and changed all the hoses and spark plugs and other little things to know that most of it was up to date (you just never know with a used car when the last time things were changed). About 9 months later the coolant reservoir broke- a known problem with this make and model apparently. Then a couple months later a hose burst and it was back in the shop. Then my check engine light started going off because of a sensor that goes bad. Now my air conditioner is shot. As much as I love this car, the environment I am driving it in requires that I can truly trust this car to not break down or blow a hose or overheat and I just can't say that about my 2004 Kia Sorento."
By Soccer Dad on Sunday, October 26, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 65,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great vehicle"
Cons: "Could get better gas mileage"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Prior to owning this SUV I had never kept a car longer than 1-3 years. Also until this car I went through every series of BMW's and MBZ's with the exception of the MB SL sports car and the C series. I only bought new cars and they were all German. I bought this vehicle when I decided to retire young and needed it for my kids and their soccer playing. This car has had no problems that I can remember. I replace the oil and filters regularly and have the car aligned regularly, the wheels balanced and I only run Synthetic Oil in it. I have never burned any oil in this car. The gas mileage could be better but the car is faster than I would have expected. If you take care of this car it will take care of you."
23 people out of 41 found this review helpful
By denny on Saturday, October 25, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 103,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I bought my Sorrento 4x4 LX. New, and now have 103,000 trouble free miles on it . In 9yrs I have changed the timing belt,and a sensor, and that is the only repairs besides routine maintenance that the vehicle has needed.What more can you ask of a vehicle ?"
11 people out of 21 found this review helpful
By stub on Friday, October 10, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 33,656overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I have been really happy with the overall quality of this car; drives great up in the Sierras,good power when needed,if any downside would be the 15 mpg in city. I think these KIA's are under rated."
13 people out of 21 found this review helpful
By Rosa on Friday, October 10, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 112,300overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"I was surprised at the smooth ride while driving as well as being a passenger. Great value for the price."
9 people out of 21 found this review helpful
By jak1961 on Tuesday, September 09, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 54,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "very reliable; good mechanical works"
Cons: "i cannot think of any for my baby !!!"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I thought when I went into the sport utility range of cars, that they would be very "tippy" as far as handling and driveability was concerned - was I wrong! thi is undoubtedly the best suv ive ever had, and with the time to replace it coming in the future, I am most likely to stay with this size and class of vehicle - it just suits our lifestyles just fine !!!"
17 people out of 25 found this review helpful