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Kia Sorento Performance

According to automotive journalists, the redesigned 2016 Kia Sorento has a comfortable ride and composed handling. Reviewers are impressed with its responsive steering and say there is ample power with either its available V6 or available turbocharged four-cylinder engine. The base Sorento gets good fuel economy for the class, but many reviewers called it underpowered.

  • "The brakes were easily modulated, even on questionable surfaces, and the whole machine exuded fundamental competence." -- Car and Driver
  • "The 2016 Sorento drives considerably more capably than the old model." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "A stiffer structure for 2016 and numerous improvements to the suspension have resulted in a more comfortable, composed and sophisticated ride." -- Edmunds

Acceleration and Power

The 2016 Sorento comes standard with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 185 horsepower. There are two engine options: a 3.3-liter V6 that produces 290 horsepower and a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 240 horsepower. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard. A base 2016 Sorento returns an EPA-estimated 21/29 mpg city/highway, which is good for a two-row midsize SUV.

Test drivers report that the Kia Sorento feels a little underpowered with the base engine. The V6 has ample power, they say, but some prefer the new turbocharged four-cylinder option, noting that it also has plenty of power in most situations and operates very smoothly, with minimal turbo lag. The transmission shifts seamlessly, reviewers write.

  • "We're happy to see the V6 engine return, but the new 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder - available on 2-row EX and Limited models - is a good alternative with excellent low-end power. The 6-speed automatic transmission is as smooth and unobtrusive as you could hope for, and the suspension never called attention to itself for being too harsh or too soft." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "And while lag is often associated with turbo engines, the 2.0T, which we got to sample next, was almost entirely absent of the stuff, especially once at speed. In fact, while the V6 is a good engine, the 2.0-liter turbo felt far sprightlier, and it seemed to have power at the ready whenever called upon." -- Autoblog
  • "Although we still haven't had a chance to take the Sorento to the track, the general character of the turbo engine was preferable to the V-6. A hint of turbo lag didn't give it the immediate thrust off the line of the V-6, but at freeway speeds the turbo engine seemed less strained to pass slower traffic and was much smoother and quieter in the upper reaches of its rev range." -- Motor Trend
  • "On the other hand, power from the 3.3-liter V6 was plentiful and smooth with a large degree of refinement that managed to suppress extraneous road noise from entering the cabin." -- Left Lane News
  • "The price point of its base model may seem appealing, but the base four-cylinder engine doesn't possess a lot of power for such a large vehicle." -- Edmunds

Handling and Braking

The 2016 Sorento comes with standard front-wheel drive or optional all-wheel drive. Auto journalists write that the Sorento has controlled handling and rides comfortably. Several also remark that the steering is responsive and provides a good amount of feedback to the driver, adding that the Sorento feels more maneuverable than some rivals.

  • "Regardless of which engine is powering your Sorento, you'll appreciate the accurate, linear steering. This surprised us not because it was so spectacular, but more so because it represents a dramatic improvement from Kia's steering efforts of just a few years ago." -- Autoblog
  • "The suspension and steering were both good, with the former offering good control and comfort without too much body lean in corners, and the latter a huge leap forward compared to the old Sorento." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The optional rack-mounted electric power steering gave more direct feeling than in previous Kia products." -- Motor Trend
  • "The overall handling is solid, and the Kia's smaller dimensions and commendable visibility make it feel less cumbersome to drive than a Grand Cherokee or Highlander." -- Edmunds
Review Last Updated: 5/14/15

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