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2012 Kia Sorento

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2012 Kia Sorento Review

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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.

You'll Like This Car If...

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.

You May Not Like This Car If...

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.

What's New for 2012

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 the Sorento

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.

World-class warranty
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.

2012 Kia Sorento Details
Interior

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.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

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.

Optional Equipment

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.

Under the Hood

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)

3.5-liter V6
276 horsepower @ 6,300 rpm
248 lb-ft of torque @ 5,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/26 (FWD), 18/24 (AWD)

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Buying this car?

2012 Kia Sorento Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.2
Out of 10

Based on 279 Ratings for the 2011 - 2015 models.

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

Great vehicle for the money

By on Thursday, July 23, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 110,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "All the options"

Cons: "ride on rough roads"

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

"Have been very satisfied with the Sorento. Wish it had a smoother ride, but for the price I have gotten my money's worth. No problems with the vehicle for the first 110,000 miles. Finally was able to get my hands on after market struts so hopefully ride will improve. Kia struts are ridiculously priced so KYB's are the only way to go."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

Update to earlier post

By on Thursday, July 09, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 40,500

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

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

"Brought my car in for service and discussed poor performance. I was told to try mid-grade 89 octane gas. What a difference! It's like driving a totally different car. Much more responsive with increased power. It's also much quieter. Mileage however hasn't changed much."

17 people out of 26 found this review helpful

GREAT VEHICLE. I HAVE 9,500 MILES ON IT

By on Wednesday, July 08, 2015

I don't own this car

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "SPACIOUS, LOVE THE HIDDEN CARGO SPACE"

Cons: "RADIO IS VERY POOR BELOW 20 DEGREES,"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 6

"OVERALL THIS IS A GREAT VEHICLE. I HAVE THE 4CYL WITHOUT THE THIRD ROW SEATING. THE ONLY THING IS IF THE BACK SEAT WAS MORE CAR SEAT FRIENDLY. WHEN I SWITCHED MY CHILD FROM INFANT SEAT TO AN ALL IN ONE SEAT AND SHE IS STILL REAR FACING, THERE IS NO PLACE TO ANCHOR THE CAR SEAT TO SO ITS NOT MOVING AROUND, AND I HAD TO PROP UP THE CAR SEAT SO THAT IT WAS LEVEL. THE OTHER ISSUE IS THE RADIO. LIVING IN VT WE GO THRU ALL KINDS SO WHEN IT IS BELOW 20 DEGREES THE QUALITY IS VERY POOR. SOUNDS LIKE EVERY STATION, EVERY GENRE IS ACOUSTIC AND VERY FAINT. NEVER HAD THIS IN ANYTHING ELSE IVE EVER DRIVEN AND IVE LIVED HERE 28 YEARS. ANOTHER THING IS IT FEELS LIKE IT SHOULD BE A 6CYL."

2 people out of 7 found this review helpful

Great aesthetics, poor performance.

By on Tuesday, June 30, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 39,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Aesthetics, features, overall value"

Cons: "Performance. A/C, Engine noise"

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

"Traded in a 2013 Sorento SX V6 because of mileage (113K)and bought this 2014 Sorento SXL V6. It had 28K miles on it. While the exterior & interior aesthetics were nicely upgraded & quite pleasing, I immediately noticed that the smaller V6 left a lot to be desired. First, the engine performance lagged tremendously compared to the car I traded in, definitely underpowered even though more HP was an advertised feature. It seems to wheeze off a start getting up to speed, and if you step on it to pass, the engine noise gets so loud you feel like it's about to break apart. Engage the ECO switch and everything gets worse. I drive over 60K miles per year, much of it highway. My 2013 regularly posted 26-27 MPG on the highway while driving city alone I'd get at minimum 20-22 regularly. These are higher than what's posted on the sticker, but it's what I got. With the 2014, I'm getting 24-25 MPG highway and 18-20 in the city. Again, this is what's on the sticker but everything considered, the numbers are less. Also, the A/C in my 2013 was cold from the start and stayed that way. The A/C in the 2014 doesn't get nearly as cold. If you didn't own one before, or know any better, these issues might not bother you. But as much as I still like the care, I found it frustrating that I'd taken a step down in key areas when replacing my 2013. In retrospect, I would've likely kept the 2013."

24 people out of 40 found this review helpful

2011 Kia Sorento - Great Car

By on Saturday, June 27, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 70,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Bells and Whistles. MP3, Voice Everything, & Room."

Cons: "It Gets around 20 to 24 MPG. City/HWY - 3.5 Liter"

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

2011 Kia Sorento - 3.5 Liter 276 HP Engine (FWD) Seats 7, USB MP3 Player 4GB Flash Drive Holds 1,000 Songs (Highly Recommend)

"I was looking for a Ford Escape when I came across this Vehicle. I wanted to spend around $15,000. I Test Drove MANY Ford Escape Cars and Every Time I liked what I drove except Once. But for Laughs I stopped at a Kia Dealer and Test Drove a 2011 Kia Sorento (Because My Wife said I wouldn't buy anything But a FORD..) But Let Me Tell you that after you drive a Ford Escape then go and Test Drive the Kia Sorento. The difference between a Nice Escape and a LX Sorento (base Model). Is that the LX Sorento is Much Nicer and More Powerful. I was shocked at the Quality of the Kia Sorento. The Base Model has All the Bells and Whistles that you WILL pay ALOT more for if you choose the Escape. The USB MP3 Player that comes standard on ALL Kia Sorento's allows you to plug in a 4GB Flash Drive with 1,000 Songs. Or the Hands Free Phone Use (again Standard on the Kia). Along with the 276 HP allows for No problem when passing Other Vehicles. I really couldn't get over the difference. So take it from a Man that has Bought Ford's ALL His life (Age 42). Before you buy a SUV, You MUST Test drive a Kia Sorento BEFORE you make your final Decision. I Promise you, that you won't be disappointed."

6 people out of 19 found this review helpful

2011 Kia Sorento - 3.5 Liter 276 HP Engine (FWD) Seats 7, USB MP3 Player 4GB Flash Drive Holds 1,000 Songs (Highly Recommend)

I am very happy with my KIA Sorrento

By on Sunday, June 14, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 59,500

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "affordable"

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

"I am a petite person and I am very comfortable in my car however my grandson is almost 6' and over 200lbs and he finds the driver seat a LITTLE uncomfortable because of the way the side of the seat wraps around a little. I am very happy with that."

16 people out of 27 found this review helpful

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Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

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