By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 8.6
Kia gave the Sorento SUV a thorough makeover last year, enhancing its chassis, engines and interior. For 2015, the Sorento continues with only a few minor improvements designed to make it even more appealing to tech- and fashion-conscious buyers. The Sorento’s 7-passenger flexibility makes it ideal for growing families, but Kia also offers a 5-passenger option that allows for more generous permanent cargo space. Although the Sorento scores big in the areas of power, safety and fuel economy, its biggest attraction is the amazing amount of features offered for the money. Because of its flexible seating, the Sorento can be cross-shopped with a number of popular models, including the Ford Edge, Dodge Journey, Toyota Highlander and Nissan Pathfinder.
If you’re looking for a 7-passenger crossover SUV big on comfort, safety, style and in-cabin technology, the 2015 Kia Sorento ranks among the best in class.
KBB Expert Ratings
Changes to the Kia Sorento SUV for 2015 are mild and include minor alterations to the grille and front end, the addition of a navigation option without having to upgrade to UVO and the Infinity sound system, and a more fuel-efficient 4-cylinder engine.
While the Kia Sorento for 2015 may not have the vast interior space of some competitors, it gains advantages from its more maneuverable size and sporty chassis. Seven inches shorter...
... and with a smaller wheelbase than the Honda Pilot, the Sorento has no problem fitting into tight parking spaces and its tight turning radius makes it less ponderous when negotiating crowded parking structures. Get the Sorento out on the open road and the 290-horsepower V6 and seamless-shifting 6-speed automatic deliver smooth and responsive performance, yet return surprisingly good fuel economy figures. On our long-term test drive, we found the Sorento’s seats to be comfortable and supportive and the driving experience very relaxing, with none of the fatigue that is sometimes a trait of larger, truck-like SUVs.
Kia’s UVO voice-activated system allows for smartphone integration with the existing audio and navigation setup, allowing an owner to plot a trip from a home computer and then send that information to the car’s navigation system. UVO can also automatically dial 911 in the event of an airbag deployment.
Kia’s driver-selectable steering system, dubbed FlexSteer, allows for three settings: Comfort, Normal and Sport. Each setting is designed to enhance the driving experience, depending upon driver preference, although we found the Comfort mode to be the least artificial and most enjoyable of the three.
Interior highlights from the well-equipped 2015 Kia Sorento models we’ve driven include small touches, such as a leather transmission selector boot, and unexpected features, including an LCD speedometer, retractable 2nd-row window shades and a huge panoramic sunroof. Combined with a next-gen level of refinement for Kia, you’ll have a hard time finding a nicer interior for the money. The Sorento definitely gives up some passenger and cargo room to just about every other 3-row SUV worth considering, but a rear seat that slides, reclines and folds down in 40/20/40 sections adds valuable flexibility. The optional third row is best reserved for little ones.
Subtle changes for the 2015 Sorento include a choice of anodized silver metal or black mesh grille and a wider crosshatch lower air intake. The Sorento’s headlights offer an LED design element, the exterior mirrors will fold in at the push of a button and the exterior door pockets light up to welcome you back at night. Stepping all the way up to the SX Limited nets xenon HID headlights, unique 19-inch wheels and red brake calipers, but even the base models have a finished look that includes 17-inch aluminum wheels.
A base model 2015 Kia Sorento LX comes with a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine, front-wheel drive and two rows of cloth seats. Standard-feature highlights include Bluetooth and USB phone/audio connectivity, air conditioning, cruise control and steering wheel-mounted controls. Outside, alloy wheels, body-color side mirrors and LED taillights help the entry-priced Sorento present about as well as the pricier trim levels. The full complement of electronic and inflatable safety equipment is also standard.
A 2015 Kia Sorento SX has all of Kia’s best features on display, including a powerful V6 engine and all-wheel drive, leather seats (heated and cooled in front), three rows of seating, a panoramic moonroof, keyless entry and touch-start, blind-spot monitoring and the full UVO eServices infotainment setup, including an 8-inch touch-screen display, navigation and a 10-speaker Infinity audio system. For an additional $3,000 you can step up to the SX Limited, with softer Nappa leather, a heated steering wheel, heated rear seats and a handful of exterior touches.
Because the 4-cylinder engine isn’t markedly cheaper or more efficient than the V6, and because the V6’s 290 horsepower is a lot to feed through only the front wheels, we recommend the 2015 Kia Sorento with its new V6 engine and all-wheel drive. The all-wheel-drive system features a locking center differential for especially difficult conditions and incorporates a new Torque Vectoring Cornering Control system that further enhances drivability. All Sorento configurations offer the same 6-speed, manually-selectable automatic transmission.
191 horsepower @ 6,300 rpm
181 lb-ft of torque @ 4,250 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/27 mpg (front-wheel drive), 19/25 mpg (all-wheel drive)
290 horsepower @ 6,400 rpm
252 lb-ft of torque @ 5,200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/25 mpg (front-wheel drive), 18/24 mpg (all-wheel drive)
The 2015 Kia Sorento starts at a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $24,995 and climbs to just shy of $42,600 for the Nappa-leather-clad SX Limited specialty trim. That upper end sounds like a lot of money for a Kia, but the 2015 Sorento is a lot of car, both in features and refinement. Kia’s dramatically improved resale values only bolster the Sorento’s already-impressive value proposition. To make your best deal, be sure to check out our Fair Purchase Price that shows what others in your area are paying for a Sorento.