By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 7.3
The 2012 Kia Sorento SUV continues to buck the trend toward larger, thirstier and more expensive mid-size SUVs. Built in Kia's new West Point, Georgia, manufacturing facility, the 2012 Kia Sorento also bucks the trend toward shipping American jobs off shore. With available seating for seven, some of the most advanced engine and transmission offerings in the marketplace, and a list of creature comforts that looks more Lexus-like than Kia-originated, the 2012 Kia Sorento SUV is one attractive prospect. Toss in Kia's 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty, and suddenly the Chevy Equinox, Toyota Highlander and Mazda CX-7 start looking a little weak in the knees. And, although the 2012 Kia Sorento SUV can seat up to seven people, the 4-cylinder entry-level models are priced and equipped more like the mid- to up-level versions of the smaller Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4 and Nissan Murano.
The 2012 Kia Sorento promises a lot and never fails to deliver. It's attractive, versatile, fuel-efficient, affordable, reliable, and it has one of the nicest interiors we've seen in this category in a long time.
About the only negative we can think of regarding the 2012 Kia Sorento SUV is that it can't be taken off-roading (a Nissan Xterra is better suited for that) and its ability to tow is limited to 3,500 pounds.
The 2012 Kia Sorento SUV adds an optional gasoline direct-injection (GDI) 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine to the lineup earning top marks for horsepower and fuel economy. Also new this year is the addition of YES essentials fabric that provides anti-bacterial, anti-soil and anti-static properties. Last year's base-model Sorento and manual transmission are dropped for 2012.
Driving Impressions Well-mannered, well-balanced, easy to maneuver and easy to live with, the 2012 Kia Sorento - coming with a choice of front-wheel drive (FWD) and all-wheel drive (AWD) – is truly...a driver-friendly travel mate. The new gasoline direct-injection 2.4-liter 4-cylinder has more horsepower than the standard 2.4-liter engine, pumping out 191 horsepower yet achieving laudable fuel economy. We like this engine very much and think most people will be quite satisfied with its power and smoothness. 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 maximum tow rating from 1,650 to 3,500 pounds. The 2012 Kia Sorento SUV's wide track and fully independent front and rear suspension give it a smooth, controlled ride with only the slightest hint of excessive lean occurring during hard cornering. The Sorento's low-key stability control allows for some measure of reasonably spirited driving. However, even modestly rough roads 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 2012 Kia Sorento SUV is protected by the automaker's outstanding 5-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.
Kia interiors have been getting better and better over the years, and the 2012 Kia Sorento SUV is no exception. The dash and door panels show great detail and thought, as do the numerous soft-touch surfaces, but what really strikes our fancy are the numerous cloth patterns and leather color combinations that go a long way in making this rather middle-class SUV look and feel like it is part of the one percent. Seating in the first two rows is supportive and generous in space, but the available third-row seat, like so many in the class, is best relegated to small children or very limber adults. The Sorento's second-row seat is of the 60/40-split folding kind, which is useful for carrying bulky cargo items larger than the Sorento's 37 cubic feet of stowage space (that number falls to 9.1 with the third-row seat in place).Exterior
Taking its visuals cues from the Kia concept shown in 2007, the 2012 Kia Sorento SUV is endowed with an arguably conservative profile dressed up with a snazzy front end. The design is intended to help cheat the wind while also creating a strong and secure cocoon around the interior occupants. The 2012 Kia Sorento SUV has plenty of ground clearance, all-important for forging through deep snow, and its big wheel-and-tire combinations range from 17 inches on the LX trim, to 18 inches on the EX and SX models. Upper-end trims get more brightwork, such as chrome door handles as well as a stainless-steel rear bumper step pad and LED taillights.
Beyond a 175-horsepower, 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine, 5-passenger base 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 EX trim nets dual-zone climate control, rear-seat air conditioning, Kia's UVO infotainment system, an 8-way power driver's seat, upgraded interior trim, a rearview camera, foglights, 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 2012 Kia Sorento LX option roster includes a Convenience Package (roof rails, foglights, heated front seats, 2.4-liter gasoline direct-injection engine, Backup Warning System) and folding third-row bench. A gasoline direct-injection 2.4-liter can be added to the LX and is standard on the EX trim. The LX V6 can be upgraded with the same Convenience Package as the 4-cylinder, and EX buyers can add a Premium Plus Package (leather, heated front seats, rearview camera, Infinity Surround Sound and power-folding outside mirrors) and/or a Limited Package that brings navigation with real-time traffic, cooling seats, power-folding mirrors, and rearview camera. A panoramic sunroof and a black/dove 2-tone interior is the sole SX option package.
The 2012 Kia Sorento SUV offers three gasoline engines. Its port-injected 2.4-liter 4-cylinder makes 175 horsepower and 169 lb-ft of torque while the 3.5-liter V6 turns out a far more energetic 276 horsepower and 248 lb-ft of torque. The new GDI (gasoline direct-injection) 2.4-liter 4-cylinder may be the perfect choice, with 191 horsepower and EPA-estimated highway fuel economy of up to 30 mpg. All versions feature a new Kia-designed 6-speed Sportmatic automatic transmission.
2.4-liter in-line 4
175 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
169 lb-ft of torque @ 3,750 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 21/29 (FWD), 21/27 (AWD)
2.4-liter in-line 4 GDI
191 horsepower @ 6,300 rpm
181 lb-ft of torque @ 4,250
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 21/30 (FWD), 20/26 (AWD)
276 horsepower @ 6,300 rpm
248 lb-ft of torque @ 5,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/26 (FWD), 18/24 (AWD)
By jo on Monday, October 13, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 16,500overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "drives great great gas mileage.tires like new"
Cons: "no power seats or moon roof.dealer service"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"like new no smoking in it has 10 yr 100000 mile warranty can't afford need to down size kids in college need to sell.drove to mytrle beach twice great gas mileage plenty of room.dealer service no marks garage keep husband clean freak washed weekly"
5 people out of 9 found this review helpful
By Dave on Saturday, September 27, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 3,900overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"Gas milage was great at first but somehow has declined to around 16 for suburban driving. Vehicle does demonstrate some understeer and traction control is somewhat limited on quick starts."
6 people out of 8 found this review helpful
By Bill K on Sunday, September 21, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 9,500overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fun to drive a head turner."
Cons: "Drivers seat and passenger seat is too low."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I owned 5 new Ford SUV's in 21 years; this by far is much higher quality. The front seat I find uncomfortable it is not plush like in America cars. This is definitely a deal breaker."
13 people out of 27 found this review helpful
By tim molloy on Friday, September 19, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 30,000overall rating 2 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"had this car for a year had a problem with electric system cuts out for no reason cant find problem or solve problem. My be a lemon other people having same problem. may have to walk away from Car."
4 people out of 9 found this review helpful
By pete on Thursday, September 04, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 29,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"very reliable, looks high quality, starts instantly, comfortable ride. very useful, slight problem with chrome on interior handles, best dealer I have dealt with."
14 people out of 28 found this review helpful
By The lil pre K teacher on Monday, September 01, 2014
I owned and sold this car
Reason: Had a lunging problem after engaging to D or R . Hill assist I think had a glitch. Kinda scary.
Pros: "Seating for 7, peppy V6 eng.,"
Cons: "Poor quality, better gas mileage,more appealing tr"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 5
"Ok the Sorento has for the most part been a fun and economical 4w SUV.... But the truck did start developing a lot of little annoying problems and 1 or two recalls . The truck developed a glitch in the hill assist system. The truck stalled and lunged after you engaged into a gear...never did for dealer but did trip ck. engine light though. But problem didn't register on error log nor do it for the dealer.. Crazy. Just Crazy. The back up camera started shorting out never been wrecked either,Most problems started around 80k miles extremely heavy highway driver. 113k miles in 4 years. Car always serviced at dealership even oil changes. So I was very surprised and extremely diss appointed with Kia being unable to find it."
2 people out of 3 found this review helpful