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Avg. Price Paid:$16,838 - $25,820
Original MSRP: $21,250 - $34,850
MPG: 21 City / 30 Hwy
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2012 Kia Sorento Review

Review Last Updated: 10/10/13

These scores and this review are from when the car was new.

The 2012 Kia Sorento continues to shine, offering car-like handling, capable engine options and plenty of standard equipment. 

Test drivers are impressed by how well the 2012 Kia Sorento drives for an SUV in its price range. Though some write its ride is too firm, most mention that this helps it feel composed over winding roads. Even the base engine is adequate for most drivers, but the Sorento’s upgraded powerplants receive praise for their capable performance. Even though this crossover can’t handle hardcore off-roading, reviewers say its optional all-wheel drive is capable enough to get the kids to school in bad weather.

The Kia Sorento’s interior is a success story as well. Though it’s covered in cheap-feeling materials, most vehicles in this price range usually are. However, it comes standard with more features than most other SUVs in its class. Reviewers say its cramped third row is barely big enough for kids, but they say that opting for five-seat models results in a roomier second row and more cargo space.

Though the 2012 Kia Sorento is a good choice, it’s far from perfect. Reviewers note that its base engine is adequate, but doesn’t offer enough fuel savings to make it a viable choice against more-powerful engine options. If you need to frequently transport passengers in the third row, you’ll be better off with a larger SUV that has a roomier back seat. And if you live in an area with rough roads, the Sorento’s ride may be too jarring for you, especially in the firmed-up SX trim.

Overall, though, it’s hard to beat the 2012 Kia Sorento for its combination of a livable interior, capable performance and low price. Sure, if you prioritize sporty driving, third-row space or an upscale interior, you might prefer other crossovers, but if your budget is the bottom line, reviewers say that you can pick the 2012 Sorento without feeling like you’re making a sacrifice. "No longer simply just a good value, the 2012 Kia Sorento is now an excellent pick for a small or midsize crossover SUV,” writes Edmunds.

Other SUVs to Consider

Since the Sorento can be compared with both compact and midsize SUVs, buyers should shop both classes. The compact Chevrolet Equinox ranks near the top of its class for its impressive fuel economy and roomy interior. Reviewers also say the back seat in the Equinox is comfortable and roomy. However, it doesn’t offer a third row of seats like the Kia does, and test drivers don’t like the way it drives, so if you need seating for seven and a powerful engine, the Kia might be a better choice.

The Dodge Journey is a similar crossover that’s on the small side for a three-row SUV. Test drivers say the Journey is pleasant to drive and that its V6 is plenty strong, and that its 2011 refresh added competent handling to its list of benefits. Though its optional third row isn’t adult-sized, neither is the Kia’s, and the Dodge costs significantly less.

Details: Kia Sorento

The Sorento comes in three trims: LX, EX and SX. All trims are available with all-wheel drive and a V6 engine, while the top-of-the-line SX is not available with either four-cylinder engine option. The Kia Sorento was fully redesigned for 2011, and for 2012 it adds a more-powerful version of its base four-cylinder to its powertrain lineup. It also gains Kia’s UVO system, which acts like Ford’s SYNC and uses voice commands to control audio functions. Plus, for this year, all Sorento models come standard with anti-bacterial cloth upholstery.

See the full list of 2012 Kia Sorento specifications.

  • "With carlike unibody construction, secure handling, and a high level of standard and available technology, this Kia trades on more than good looks. Impressive dynamic handling and an attractive interior are but two of the many positives. Just skip the harsh ride of the top-level SX trim. The Sorento's quiet manner is matched by a roomy, comfortable cabin. Of the three engines our pick is the middle choice, DI four.” -- Car and Driver
  • "Sorento rides and handles well, aided by tidy-for-the-class exterior dimensions. A strong warranty and many available upscale features add to its appeal. Rear-seat room and comfort are a bit disappointing, with the 3rd row being little more than a token gesture.” -- Consumer Guide
  • "This is a credible, but not terribly exciting, entry in this all-important segment for Kia. But our fully loaded model at $35K doesn't make much sense to me; I'd aim for a lesser model. The Sorento doesn't have the chassis chops to merit a $35K window sticker.” -- Automobile Magazine

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