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2011 Kia Sorento LX Review | Toronto Sun

2011 Kia Sorento LX Review
By Wade Ozeroff, Toronto Sun
 
Affordability and utility keys to Sorento
 
All dressed up for the 2011 model year, Kia’s Sorento changed enough to qualify as an ‘all-new’ model in the 2011 Canadian Car of the Year balloting.
 
The new generation of the Korean manufacturer’s midsize utility vehicle brings a package of convenience and all-round usefulness, along with the improved styling with which the company is redesigning its line-up.
 
My Autonet test model, an LX trim with all-wheel drive, isn’t as leathery inside as the model entered in the CCOTY test fest, but it isn’t as expensive either, sporting a window sticker under $30,000.
 
With that, you get cloth upholstery and a fewer frills, but the overall package is fairly comprehensive. Keyless entry and push-button start are a couple of my favourites in this test vehicle, but standard equipment on the Sorento includes all the must-have power and tech goodies: power windows, tilt-and-telescoping steering column, heated (front) seats, and air conditioning.
Bluetooth connectivity comes with the package, though I don’t make or take phone calls while driving, whether hands-free or not. My test car lacks a navigation system and backup camera, though they are available.
 
Fitted with the more powerful of the available engine choices – a 3.5 litre V6 – the Sorento is capable and confident on the road with its 276 horsepower and 248 lb.-ft. of torque (the base engine in Sorento is a 2.4 litre four-cylinder). Paired with a six-speed automatic transmission it delivers smooth acceleration and quiet engine note whether in urban situations or on the highway.
 
Four-wheel ABS disc brakes rein in the vehicle quickly under control and without fuss, backstopped by traction control and electronic stability systems that help with the handling of the relatively large body. My tester includes a sonar parking aid that warns me when it’s approaching objects as it’s backing up.
 
Inside, a comfortable cabin environment greets occupants with very good headroom in both rows (there’s a third row seat option as well, though my tester doesn’t have it) and seats that feel good on long drives.
 
The dash treatment looks good, stylish and upmarket, though with a lot of brittle-feeling plastics surrounding the center stack. Controls for all the Sedona’s climate and electronic functions are simple, easy-to-figure out and easy to locate.
 
Outwardly, the Sorento looks as good as an SUV can, and better than many, benefitting from Kia’ s new attention to style. The “tiger nose” grille, as Kia calls it, manages to be distinctive without being either gimmicky or over-the-top; and the overall body appearance maintains a powerful stance with smooth lines, although there’s no getting away from the fact that all utes look very similar.
 
Overall, it seems to satisfy all the major qualifications of the class with a well-rounded package of mechanical and technological comforts, and my complaints are few; the built-in-Georgia ute showed a few minor finish glitches – screw-covers not put on in the armrest and some squeaks coming from the chassis somewhere.
Overall, the Sorento line-up plays in the low thirties, and ranges into the low forties. The one I am using is a base LX model with automatic transmission and no extras listed on the price sheet.
 
The latest generation is worth a test drive for anyone looking for the enhanced cargo capacity of an urban utility people-hauler along with all-wheel drive (not to mention the higher seat position and decent all-round visibility) that offers a good level of standard equipment and safety features at a price that stands up well to foreign and domestic challenger
 
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http://torontosun.autonet.ca/autos/search/testdrives/2011/05/06/18114556-autonet.html