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#15

in 2011 Affordable Midsize SUVs

Avg. Price Paid: $14,523 - $23,675
Original MSRP: $21,195 - $34,095
MPG: 21 City / 29 Hwy
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2011 Kia Sorento Interior

This interior review was created when the car was new. Some links may no longer point to an active page.

The redesigned Kia Sorento excels in interior comfort and quality. For its price range, it offers high-quality materials and a surprising number of standard features, such as Bluetooth.

  • "The Sorento's interior is class-competitive in both design and materials, with a look that is restrained but sophisticated. Dashboard plastics are hard to the touch but look good." -- Edmunds
  • "Fit and finish are excellent, equal to anything from putative automotive quality leaders Honda and Toyota." -- Washington Post
  • "Sliding into the interior, you don't get that Toyota deja-vu experienced in the older Sorento. The seats are comfortable and interior materials exude quality, not economy." -- Boston Globe
  • "Though I liked the look of the dash and center stack, I was a little disappointed in the quality of some of the surfaces and materials. I did like how simply and intuitively the standard BlueTooth connection was, and how great the iPod interface worked. So it was a mixed bag." -- About.com
  • "The interior is comfortable, with supportive seats and logical controls." -- Automobile Magazine

First- and Second-Row Seats

The Sorento’s first and second rows of seats are generally comfortable, with some reviewers going so far as to say they’re great even on long trips. They also love the high driving position. However, one or two say the front seats aren’t cushy enough.

Base LX models come with manually-adjustable front seats, while EX models upgrade to an eight-power driver driver’s seat (a power passenger’s seat isn’t offered). Leatherette seats are standard and full leather is optional on EX and EX V6 models. Heated seats are optional on any model.

  • "The seats are an absolute wonder compared with the previous model, delivering plenty of support without the sensation that you're riding on a buckboard." -- MSN
  • "The front seats are comfortable on long trips and provide the commanding view of the road that crossover buyers love, and the inviting second-row seat accommodates two with ease and three in a pinch." -- Edmunds
  • "In the second row, I fit both my children in their child-safety seats without having to move the front seats to accommodate them." -- Cars.com
  • "Sorento's front seats are way too hard. After a few hours behind the wheel, I was looking for a cushion, a jacket -- anything to put under my tush to soften the ride." -- About.com
  • "Comfortable front seats made for relaxing driving with no fatigue after a full day behind the wheel." -- Left Lane News
  • "The leather seats are handsome and comfortable." -- Automobile Magazine

Third-Row Seats

EX V6 models come standard with a third row, which increases seating from five to seven. It’s a $700 option for other models. While reviewers appreciate that the Sorento has the ability to seat seven, most of them say fitting that many people inside isn’t a great idea. The third row is best left for kids or cargo.

If you want a larger third-row seat, you’ll have to look at a midsize SUV. The Ford Flex is the ultimate minivan alternative because of its extremely spacious third row. It’s even big enough to fit adults comfortably. However, the Flex costs about $6,500 more than the Sorento, and its fuel economy isn’t as good because it’s a larger, heavier vehicle. Of course, cargo space is a big plus -- the Flex has over 10 cubic feet more than the Sorento.

To see more about all of the Sorento's seats, be sure to view our Sorento video.

  • "As with the Mitsubishi Outlander and Toyota RAV4, the Sorento has third-row seats in the cargo area that few people more than 12 years old will find tolerable for long." -- Car and Driver
  • “And the EX V6's standard third-row seat (it's optional on most other trims) turns out to be a useful addition -- normal-size adults can fit back there for short trips, though their knees may be in their chests, and kids should have no problem." -- Edmunds
  • "Once in the third row, there's room in the walls for juice boxes and pop cans, but precious little room for heads, legs or knees unless you lie on the seat." -- Chicago Tribune
  • “Though the third-row seat is a nice option, ingress and egress is about as problematic as every other model offering the extra row. The option is best left to kids or very small adults." -- MSN
  • “And the extra two perches out back? Yeah, pretty much exactly as you'd expect - for children, chihuahuas or chia pets only." -- Autoblog
  • "The third row (standard in the V-6, optional in the I-4) provides comically little legroom and the seat sits mere inches off the floor. It does, however, fold perfectly into the floor with the pull straps being the only indication that this Sorento has (theoretical) room for seven." -- Automobile Magazine

Interior Features

The 2011 Sorento is surprisingly well-equipped for its class. The base model comes with features that cost extra on competitors like the similarly priced Toyota RAV4. These include Bluetooth, steering wheel-mounted audio/cruise/Bluetooth controls, and satellite radio with a trial subscription.

A navigation system with real-time traffic is optional on EX models, and a DVD player with overhead screen and headphones is optional on EX V6 models only.

Nearly every reviewer praises the new Sorento’s controls for being so easy to use, but a few of them still say the interior is short on style and quality.

For a closer look at the Sorento's interior features, check out our Sorento video.

  • "The Sorento's interior might look nice and fit together well, but some of the materials are as cheap or cheaper than you would find in a $16,000 Kia Soul. At the Sorento's starting price of $22,395 that might not be such a big deal, but it's unforgivable in our $34,840 test car." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "The audio and climate controls (whether manual or automatic) are intuitive and have a substantial feel, as does the rest of the switchgear." -- Edmunds
  • "Interior ergonomics -- convenient placement of dials and gauges, comfort of seats and surroundings -- are among best in class." -- Washington Post
  • "Interior materials are middle-of-the-road. There's plenty of hard plastic that fails to pass the standard tap-tap test with the back of the knuckles, but at least it's nicely grained and doesn't cast much glare on the somewhat rakish front glass." -- Autoblog
  • "The Sorento's cabin has a nice mix of textures and a handsome, logical design. Our test vehicle had matte-finish plastic wood trim that we preferred over the glossy, chintzy stuff in other examples; if the wood has to be fake, at least the matte look was interesting." -- Car and Driver

Cargo

Cargo space is a big plus for the Sorento. It provides 9.1 cubic feet of space with all seats in use, 37 cubic feet with the third row folded down, and 72.5 cubic feet with the second and third rows folded down. For five-passenger models, a cargo tray and organizer are optional.

Most three-row SUVs in this class offer similar amounts of space. The similarly priced Toyota RAV4 provides just slightly more.

To see how the Sorento handles cargo, be sure to watch our Sorento video.

  • "In real-world functionality, the 2011 Kia Sorento shines. Its 73 cubic feet of maximum cargo space is good for this class (and a whopping 9 cubes more than the Equinox has to offer), and both the second- and third-row seatbacks fold down with minimal fuss." -- Edmunds
  • "Cargo room is tremendous in the Sorento. There is 37 cubic feet of storage behind the second row, which is second only to the Dodge Journey (39.6 cubic feet) in this class." -- Cars.com
  • "Put those rear-most seats down and you'll find plenty of cargo space (a max of 72.5 cubes with all the seats stowed away) with a nicely-shaped opening through the single-piece rear liftgate and a good amount of floor space." -- Autoblog
  • "All four doors have built-in bottle holders (signs warn not to attempt cans). The center console has two cupholders. There is small stowage space under the center armrest, where you'll find a key fob recharger to keep the push-button keyless ignition working." -- Chicago Tribune
  • "I put my bag in the rear compartment behind the second seat, and if I hadn't read Eric's comment above about the standard third-row seat, I wouldn't have even known it was there, because the load floor was perfectly flat, just like in a two-row crossover." -- Automobile Magazine

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