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 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