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2011 Kia Sorento

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2011 Kia Sorento Review

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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.

You'll Like This Car If...

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.

You May Not Like This Car If...

Those expecting to spend more time off pavement than on will be better served by a more traditional body-on-frame SUV like the Nissan Xterra or Toyota 4Runner. Anyone planning to tow more than a 3,500-pound trailer should consider a Toyota Highlander V6.

What's New for 2011

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 the Sorento
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.

World-class warranty
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.

2011 Kia Sorento Details
Interior

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
2011 Kia Sorento photo

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.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

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.

Optional Equipment

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.

Under the Hood

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)

3.5-liter V6
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)

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2011 Kia Sorento Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.1
Out of 10

Based on 297 Ratings for the 2011 - 2015 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.4/10
    Quality
    8.4/10
  • Reliability
    8.7/10
    Performance
    8.2/10
  • Comfort
    8.5/10
    Styling
    8.8/10

Great car with great pick-up and go!

By on Thursday, May 19, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 58,000

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
7/10
Value
7/10
Reliability
7/10
Quality
7/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
6/10

Pros: "acceleration, interior features, panoramic roof"

Cons: "stiff ride, road noise"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"Purchased car "Certified" used with 48K miles on odometer. Super clean inside and out. The leather interior seems stiff but very supportive, many options on the vehicle make driving it a fun experience. Handling is tight and firm sort of rides like a mini pick up truck. The V6, however, is very responsive - press on the accelerator and hang on she gets up and goes. The Sorento could use more insulation in the doors, road noise a bit of an issue."

7 people out of 11 found this review helpful

Disappointed

By on Friday, April 22, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 57,000

10 5.0
overall rating 5 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
5/10
Value
6/10
Reliability
7/10
Quality
3/10
Performance
5/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
5/10

Cons: "Underpowered, low quality"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 2

"2.4L eng under powered for a SUV (175 HP) Vehicle is too light and rides very rough over bumps. Problem with sporadic hesitation during initial acceleration. Was over priced, bought when 2 years old. Internet price was 17K but ended up being 23K when deal completed."

10 people out of 17 found this review helpful

2015 Sorento

By on Friday, April 15, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 8,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I have had this SUV for over one year. Still smells new! Happy with gas mileage(4 cylinder) - 25 mpg around town. Would purchase again which is saying a lot because I had a Chevy minivan years ago and was ready to get rid of it after the first year. Only time back to the dealership was to get the oil changed."

4 people out of 8 found this review helpful

Gets you 80% of what you seek

By on Thursday, December 17, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 16,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
7/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
7/10

Pros: "Nice style, decent value, good on maintenance cost"

Cons: "Engine not smooth, seat movement"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 4

"Liked the transmission feel over the Ford Edge and saved a little money with the v6 Sorento LX. Unfortunately, the tranny has slight heistations in normal acceleration now and then, even with high octane fuel. When you start it up, it is unsually loud for a new car, sounding more like a Toyota truck from the 80's. Seats are difficult to operate when moving the backs down and up and seats foward and back. Doesn't get the gas mileage we were looking for in a new SUV."

12 people out of 16 found this review helpful

Compares to any high end SUV

By on Tuesday, December 1, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 17,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "great value, drives well, Kia is the real deal"

Cons: "MPG but still better than rest of cars this class"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"I wanted a lot for a little, and got it when I purchased my pre-owned 2014 Sorento SXLimited. Gave it an 8/10 for driving dynamics because doesn't drive like a MB, BMW, or Acura, but nothing does. The loaded Sorento is truly the next best thing to the expensive luxury SUVs. A luxury SUV with all the options that I have in my Sorento would have cost twice as much, TWICE AS MUCH people. I also liked the exterior stylings of the Sorento more than the Hyundai, GM, Ford etc counterparts."

33 people out of 52 found this review helpful

Excellent auto that gets 25 to 30 mpg

By on Tuesday, December 1, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 100,126

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "fun to drive"

Cons: "no flaws !"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I have been very happy to have this car but I have gotten a disability that makes it difficult to enter and exit the car so I would like to replace it with something just a little lower with a wider front doors!!!"

8 people out of 15 found this review helpful

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