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 IIBEACH on Sunday, April 06, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 64,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Lots of space, handles well, great MPG, visibility"
Cons: "Not as quiet on the highway as I'd like"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I bought my 2012 Sorento EX in August 2011. I selected it because Kia gave so much more for the money vs. others I liked. I already have 65K on it, and while I expected it to be competent, I guess I'm surprised that it has been much more than that. It gives me loads of space, it's quite comfortable, exceptional MPG (23/29), great acceleration for a 4 cyl, and with the exception of a seam in the driver's seat that opened (which Kia replaced), I have had no issues whatsoever. I don't keep most cars very long, due to my high miles driven, but when I replace this one (soon), I will give Kia another look. They earned it."
2 people out of 3 found this review helpful
By SC on Friday, March 28, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 11,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Plenty of interior space for a long drive"
Cons: "4 cylinder does not have enough push"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"I love my Sorento! It is great for highway driving and meets my needs of having to park in downtown. Fuel efficiency is wonderful, fill up once every 2 weeks, as I have the 4 cylinder. If I were to buy again, I would definitely get a Sorento, but would choose the 6 cylinder, as it lacks a little in power when getting onto the highway."
6 people out of 9 found this review helpful
By Douglas on Monday, March 10, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 20,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Dependable, fun to drive, great value"
Cons: "Gas mileage lower than advertised, naviation so-so"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"This is my 2nd Sorento. Love the heated/ cooled leather seats, auto climate control, UVO system, etc. This car has nearly every feature you can get, including a glass roof. The only things that aren't perfect are the navigation system, the gas mileage, and cargo space. The navigation maps are not very accurate. (says my home and work addresses don't exist!) Gas mileage is close to posted ratings, but not quite. I knew about the cargo space when I bought the car, so I'm not saying I am disappointed, just wish it had a little more."
8 people out of 10 found this review helpful
By Drew on Tuesday, February 11, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 17,899overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "We love it is all I can say, can't say otherwise.."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"We started out with a Kia Sportage in 2009 with a 4 cyl, & shifted up to Sorrento w/V-6 So we can better tow our 1650 Crestliner Aluminum Bass boat back & forth to Pleasant & Havasu lake, the Sportage was underpowered & now the Sorrento is powered great at 276HP! We love it as did the older Sportage, this just fits the bill better. A little pricey at 37,750. for the Sorrento FWD SX But it's fully loaded with everything you could imagine except all wheel drive & we like it that way, better mileage & less maintenance, we could have spent WAY LESS ON THE BASE MODEL BUT WE LIKE THE LOADED ONE!!! We decided because it has front twin traction drive, it's plenty of control on surfaces we drive & gets better mileage than the All Wheel Drive by around 2 MPG & is much less maintenance without another Differential, transfer case & other 4wd components! We get around 26mpg loaded on the highway & have lots of room. Very happy & Kia & sister company Hyundai have the best warranty..."
11 people out of 14 found this review helpful
By chochee on Friday, January 31, 2014
I don't own this caroverall rating 9 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"it has a remote start, video player.I can not afford the payment anymore just want to get it payoff and hopefully get 3000 back from all i have put into it. i love it. drives smooth.no problems with it.It is blue.I am buying this SUV"
3 people out of 11 found this review helpful
By WRECKED on Friday, January 24, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 9,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Cons: "see review"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I want to give this vehicle glowing remarks but I find myself comparing it to my previous MDX. Ride and comfort good but not as good. Sound system good but not as good. No heated mirrors. No power passenger seat. No grab bar over drivers head. BUT: Good value, warranty and MPG. I'd do it again."
7 people out of 11 found this review helpful