By KBB.com Editors
Completely redesigned following a one-model-year hiatus, the 2011 Kia Sorento reflects a wholesale transition that spans everything from its look and feel to its place of origin. Swapping body-on-frame for more car-like unitized construction and available in base/LX/EX/SX trims, the new Sorento boasts a smarter appearance, enhanced creature comforts for up to seven, upgraded powertrains and improved dynamics. Related by architecture to its Hyundai Santa Fe cousin, this "compact-plus" front-drive/all-wheel drive crossover is the first Kia to be made in America at the firm's new facility in West Point, Georgia. The automaker sees four-cylinder Sorento variants facing off against rivals like Chevrolet Equinox, Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4 with V6-powered models taking on foes like the Ford Edge, Mazda CX-7, Nissan Murano and Toyota Highlander.
Should words like practical, comfortable, versatile and economical be the first to come to mind when you start scoping out a mid-size crossover, the 2011 Kia Sorento definitely merits a test drive.
A comprehensive ground-up remake moves this bigger, better and decidedly more capable 2011 Kia Sorento into the most desirable part of an increasingly popular market segment.
Driving Impressions Well-mannered, well-balanced, easy to maneuver and easy to live with, the 2011 Kia Sorento is truly a driver-friendly travelmate. Although the 2.4-liter four has sufficient power to handle all light-to-medium...duty work, it's decidedly less stressed when fitted to the front-drive models. The 3.5-liter V6 adds considerably more enthusiasm in either configuration without exacting too much of a fuel-economy hit and ups the Sorento's max-tow rating from 1,650 to 3,500 pounds. Wider track dimensions, a nicely tuned, fully independent suspension and appropriately scaled wheel/tire fitments give this Kia crossover a confident feel and help curtail body roll in corners while its low-key stability control allows for some measure of reasonably spirited driving. However, even modestly rough road surfaces tend to produce more noise and impact harshness than you'd expect in the Sorento's otherwise notably well-isolated cabin. Although lacking a low-range transfer case, the Sorento's torque-on-demand all-wheel drive system does include a lockable center differential.
UVO infotainment system
Introduced on the 2011 Sorento, Kia's answer to Ford's SYNC also is built around Microsoft's Windows Embedded Automotive software and offers a full spectrum of user-friendly features, expanded voice recognition capability and is easy to update.
The 2011 Kia Sorento is protected by the automaker's outstanding five-year/60,000 mile bumper-to-bumper coverage that includes 24-hour roadside assistance as well as a 10-year/100,000-mile limited powertrain warranty.
Impressively finished and tastefully turned out, the 2011 Kia Sorento cabin gains 15 percent more volume and a new – albeit kid-scaled – third-row seat that's standard in V6 models and optional in all but the "base" four. Numerous soft-touch surfaces effectively counterpoint hard plastic elements, while highly legible instrumentation, logical control layouts and a bounty of standard comfort/convenience touches add appeal, whether teamed with cloth or optional leather upholstery. All iterations match decently supportive front buckets with a generously proportioned 60/40 split/folding second-row bench. The Sorento's modest 9.1 cubic feet of stow space when rigged for seven rises to 37.0 cubic feet with the third row folded and maxes out at 72.5 cubic feet.Exterior
Integrating cues from its 2007 KND-4 Concept vehicle with the latest elements of Kia production design, the Sorento's bodywork melds clean, aerodynamic lines with suitably modern detailing in the grille and headlamp/taillamp treatments. Longer, lower and wider than the 2009 model it replaces, the 2011 Sorento rides on a marginally shorter wheelbase but boasts over 1.5-inches of additional front/rear track. Nicely flared fender arches are filled with 17-inch aluminum wheels wrapped in 235/65 all-season tires on base and LX models, while the EX and SX models get 235/60 rubber on 18-inch satin-finish and polished alloys. The top-line Sorento SX adds a bit more brightwork, body-color bumpers and LED taillights.
Beyond a 175-horsepower, 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine, five-passenger base and LX Sorento models feature a full range of power assists, air conditioning, multifunction/tilt/telescoping steering wheel, trip computer, cruise control, AM/FM/CD/MP3 audio system with Sirius Satellite Radio, USB/AUX ports and Bluetooth hands-free connectivity. The LX V6 adds rear air conditioning and a third-row seat while the EX trim nets dual-zone climate control, Kia's UVO infotainment system, power driver's seat, upgraded interior trim, a backup camera, fog lamps, automatic headlight control and a rear spoiler. Sitting atop the Sorento range, the SX boasts full-leather seating, a premium Infinity sound system, navigation with real-time traffic and more.
The modest Sorento LX option roster includes a Convenience Package (roof rails, fog lamps, heated front seats, Backup Warning System) and folding third-row bench. The LX V6 can be upgraded with the same Convenience Package as the four-cylinder and EX buyers can add a Premium Package (leather, heated front seats, backup camera) and/or a Limited Package (Navigation with real-time traffic, 18-inch chrome-finish wheels, and special interior trim/mood lighting) as well as a rear-seat DVD entertainment system [V6 only]. A panoramic sunroof is the sole SX option.
The 2011 Kia Sorento offers two gasoline engines. Its port-injected 2.4-liter four makes 175 horsepower and 169 pound-feet of torque while the 3.5-liter V6 turns out a far more energetic 276 horses and 248 pound-feet of torque. Save for the "base" front-drive Sorento, all other versions feature a new Kia-designed six-speed "Sportmatic" automatic transmission. Offsetting the four's lower entry price point, the more capable and enthusiastic V6 equals its 20-mpg city rating and sacrifices but one mpg on the highway when motive force only goes to the front wheels. Interestingly enough, a four-cylinder/front-drive Sorento LX/EX actually nets better EPA figures in both categories with the new automatic than a base model does with its six-speed manual.
2.4-liter in-line four cylinder
175 horsepower @ 6000 rpm
169 lb.-ft. of torque @ 3750 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/27 mpg (FWD 6-sp manual), 21/29 mpg (FWD 6-sp automatic), 21/27 mpg (AWD 6-sp automatic)
276 horsepower @ 6300 rpm
248 lb.-ft. of torque @ 5000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/26 mpg (FWD 6-sp automatic), 18/24 mpg (AWD 6-sp automatic)
By Judy on Tuesday, July 15, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 21,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Warranty first, and cargo space second."
Cons: "The tires that come with it will be replaced."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I did alot of research and I love this car. It is great to drive on long or short trips. The warranty package is great and I'm covered for 10 years and 7 years on paint etc, i figure that I will have it for 10 years, because I like it so much."
1 person out of 1 found this review helpful
By Jim on Saturday, June 28, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 70,570overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great price and sharp looks"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Our 2013 Sorento is the second Sorento we have owned. Totally our family has owned 5 Kias. Each has always had a high quality for the price. The 2013 Sorento has all the luxury we could want plus excellent gas mileage of between 22-23 highway and 19-21 city."
11 people out of 19 found this review helpful
By Coop on Friday, June 20, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 33,500overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Good bang for buck, great value"
Cons: "S-l-o-w motor, cheap seats"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"We've had this 3rd row equipped Sorento for a couple years, with the I-4. My chief complaint is the flat feeling seats, I have trucks, so I'm used to padding, my wife came from an uber cheap 06-ish Malibu, so she's used to cardboard seating, I am not. The 3rd row is very helpful with people who need a minivan but refuse to buy one (ahem!!! Wifey), but with the rears up, you won't hold much beyond a single gym bag, and maybe a gallon of milk back there with it. The rear doors are large enough to get kids in and out, the 2nd row passenger seat "tumbles" forward, looks easy enough to get in, my 250lb over 6ft frame can get back there, once I'm there, getting back out is the trick! Aside of the cheap seats, I hate the steering wheel size, feels video game small. This is just me and trucks I'm sure, but I personally don't like it. I don't like the chrome trim around the gauges, it reflects sunlight in the eyes quite often. The overall interior is really nice looking, is holding up well to kids, but we are the "don't eat, don't drink" in the car parents, so that helps a ton. The little engine, it really seems to struggle. It's a little 4 cylinder, and it shows it. I use the manu-matic mode just to get it up around 3K so it feels like it's moving, it really feels sluggish. Gets mid to high 20's for mileage, which was below the reported mileage, so we get rebate money from that, but I don't know if you'd get that buying it used. Overall, it's a nicely styled car/van/SUV thing, rides pretty well, cruises along nicely, just has troubles passing people, and getting up to speed from a stop. It holds 6 comfortably, and 7 if the middle row has children or real small (skinny) adults. Has a lot of options, the XM/Sirius is cool, good sounding stereo, and the backup camera is really handy, as these vehicles aren't exactly the easiest thing to back into a parking spot, or a garage."
6 people out of 12 found this review helpful
By Disgusted Owner on Friday, June 20, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 62,000overall rating 4 of 10rating details
Pros: "Gas mileage, price"
Cons: "Quality, reliability"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"I have a 2011 Kia Sorento and a 2010 Kia Forte. Both were bought brand new within 6 months of each other. Both are very comfortable, nice looking, get great gas mileage and affordable. However, we have had multiple problems with both vehicles. Just on the Sorento: Brake switch (replaced twice because the first one failed and the replacement part was recalled), power lock/window controls, heated seat on passenger side, fan motor, screws fell out of the dome light, transmission failed & was finally replaced after multiple repairs, gas cap door had to be adjusted multiple times because it wouldn't open, transmission sensor just had to be replaced (in the new transmission). The list goes on plus there have been a couple recall repairs. We've had similar issues with the Forte - steering wheel controls for stereo/cruise control failed (volume button activated the cruise control, station button changed the volume etc), brake switch failed, rear brakes extremely corroded after only 15k miles, speaker wires came loose, etc... While all repairs have been under warranty, the factory warranty is now expired on the Sorento and we were actually persuaded NOT to buy the extended warranty because Kia is supposed to be so reliable and has a 10 year 100k mile powertrain warranty. I now regret not buying the extended warranty because many of the repairs would not be considered powertrain issues and will now not be covered if similar things fail in the future. Kia needs to significantly improve their quality and reliability before I will ever consider owning another one. We've spent far too much time back and forth at the dealership for cars that were bought new and have less than 65k miles on them."
4 people out of 8 found this review helpful
By H on Tuesday, June 17, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 3,000overall rating 2 of 10rating details
Pros: "Good pick up with 6 cyl"
Cons: "auto dim illumination, window shade rattles, space"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"I cannot safely drive this car. The instrument cluster auto dims to the point on bright/sunny days that the speedometer needle, KMH and 5mph markers are very hard to see or are invisible. 8 complaints have been made to NHTSA for same problem. Kia says it "is working as designed" "Kia cannot help you". Since design features are not covered under warranty I am out of luck. Had a 2012 which I loved. I will have to get rid of this car soon as it is not safe for me to drive since I have to take my eyes off the road to check on speed. Also rattling window shade "no adjustment available". Otherwise the car runs great. I wish I had kept my 2012."
2 people out of 7 found this review helpful
By Hawkman7 on Friday, May 23, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 34,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Seven seats, spacious, sleek style & features.."
Cons: "maintainence of new technology.."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"We purchase our Burgundy/Cherry Sorento SX March of 2013 and currently have 34,000 miles. We constantly have people do double takes when they see the car because they can't believe it's a Kia. The third row fold down seats are perfect when our kids friends tag along. All the whistle and bells are awesome, however, my only grip with so much technology is when it has a gliche. After taking our car in for it's recommended 30k mile check up, the dealership rotated our tires. Every since, our TPS (tire pressure sensor) light on the dash continues to sporadically come on. Each time it comes on we've taken it to the dealer and they've run a diagnostic to no avail. Tires have been replaced,tire pressures have been checked all by the dealer to no avail and after the fifth trip to the dealer they've replaced all the TPS. Today it's at the dealer again for the TPS light coming on... Other than that we love the car, just frustrating not being able to trust the technology when it tells you the tire is flat or low. I know, get out and look at the tire, but that's not the point..."
14 people out of 21 found this review helpful