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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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2012 Kia Sorento Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.1
Out of 10

Based on 282 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

I was a little disappointed in gas mileage

By on Wednesday, August 26, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 22,500

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Price , great options, lots of room"

Cons: "Mileage was a little over hyped"

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

"The sticker rated the miles as 20mpg in town and 26mpg highway. The highway mileage was pretty close but the in town was more like 17-18 which is not bad but less than I expected. All in all it is a very comfortable ride on long trips and since my commute is only 4 miles a day I really can't complain too much about the in town mileage. The cost was better than most vehicles I had looked at before buying so I was a little skeptical about the options holding up, but so far so good. The car is about 18 months old and no issues."

You Get What You Pay For - Kia Engines Arent Relia

By on Friday, August 07, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 65,000

10 2.0
overall rating 2 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
2/10
Value
2/10
Reliability
1/10
Quality
1/10
Performance
3/10
Styling
5/10
Comfort
4/10

Pros: "affordable, decent amenities"

Cons: "engine failure, roof rack paint came off fast"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 2

"Kia has made leaps and bounds of progress over the past decade, mainly based upon its warranty and drivetrain guarantees. I bought this vehicle slightly used (about 1 year old) with that in mind, intending for it to last at least the next 5 years. In 2013 I paid $18k for this 2012 Kia Sorento LX with the GDI engine and convenience package. It was a fair price for a car with between 20-30k mi on it & the car was in good shape. For the next 27 months it was driven for city commuting twice daily at 15-25 miles each way, and frequently used to drive between towns in Texas. I averaged about 14k-15,000 miles per year on the vehicle. I regularly had the vehicle maintenance, replaced all 5 tires, and did not have a single mechanical issue for two years. Just after 60,000 mi, I paid $500 to get all the mfr recommended service work done, in anticipation of a lengthy road trip. A month later, on a road trip, the engine seized completely. I was stranded in the middle of nowhere with a relatively new vehicle whose engine failed without ANY warning; no warning lights, no indications to mechanics the vehicle saw in the months preceding. They found metal shavings in the oil upon checking the oil stick. Kia indicates that they must replace the engine for $4500-9000 (depending upon whether they put in a new or used engine). The vehicle is just past the warranty cutoff for 2nd owners & Kia indicated they are not obligated to help at all. I'm holding out hope that Kia makes some sort of gesture of good faith, since their engine failed catastrophically inside (probable manufacturer defect). It appears that many other Kia owners have experienced a similar mishap with their engines. Buyers of Kia 4cyl engines - BEWARE"

5 people out of 6 found this review helpful

Great Mountain Vehicle

By on Tuesday, August 04, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 22,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Large interior, Quiet cabin, Good mpg, Easy towing"

Cons: "Cheap plastic interior trim."

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

"I bought this vehicle as a Certified Used Vehicle in 2013. I have been most surprised by the mpg. I live in a mountainous area, and average 24 mpg here, and 28-30 mpg in the flatlands. The Sorento is comfortable and quiet, but the stock tires are a little noisy. I will be replacing them soon. I have a utility trailer that I tow fully loaded up the steep inclines between here - Marion and Asheville, NC, and also eastern Tennessee. I even towed a '94 Buick Century to Asheville and back.(115 mile round trip)The Sorento never moaned, and towed great! I am not overly fond of the short space between the brake and accelerator, but that seems to be the norm in newer SUV's. Evidently, the beige cloth seats were not treated with Scotchguard, for they stain easily. The interior trim is plastic and would have been more attractive if finished in wood grain. All in all, this vehicle has been exactly what I needed for this part of the country, and has been the best all around vehicle I have ever owned. A major drawback is the vehicle does not hold its value."

2 people out of 2 found this review helpful

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."

14 people out of 30 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."

22 people out of 31 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

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