Kia will make a new direct-injected 2.4-liter engine available in its Sorento crossover for the 2012 model year. “The new engine is almost certainly going to boost gas mileage on the Sorento,” writes USA Today. The Sorento’s current 2.4-liter, four-cylinder engine already gets an EPA-rated 21 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway in two-wheel drive models and 21/27 mpg city/highway in four-wheel drive models, which are both high for an affordable midsize SUV. Kia says that it will also give its biggest SUV the company’s new UVO hands-free infotainment system, and a manual transmission will now be available. The engine’s new direct injection system will up its horsepower from 175 to 200, according to Autoblog, who says that “with those new features, the big Kia crossover can really dance with the big guns from the likes of Ford.”
However, the changes for 2012 aren’t all for the better. While a third row of seats came standard on LX V6 models, it will now be an option. Though 2012 models are already being sold at dealerships, Kia hasn’t posted much information about the next model year on their website, which is still touting 2011 models. This means that until more information is available, we won’t know how much it will cost to upgrade to the UVO entertainment system, the new direct-injected engine, or the third row of seats. As soon as we hear more about pricing or other news, we’ll post it in our review of the Kia Sorento.
Reviewers say that the 2011 Kia Sorento is one of the most comfortable-riding and powerful midsize crossovers available, and it’s also an IIHS “Top Safety Pick.” This means that it earned top scores of “Good” in all of the insurance industry’s crash tests, and it comes standard with electronic stability control. But if you’re shopping for an affordable midsize SUV with standard third-row seating, you’ll either have to upgrade to EX V6 models of the Sorento or look elsewhere. Most other three-row crossovers, like the Mazda CX-9 and Honda Pilot, start around $28,000. The Sorento EX V6 with two-wheel drive and standard third-row seats starts at $27,595, which keeps it at least $400 cheaper than most other seven seat SUVs. Though opting for the V6 will also downgrade your gas mileage to about 20/26 mpg city/highway from the four-cylinder’s 21/29 mpg, it will still get you better fuel economy than most other crossovers in its class. Most three-row midsize SUVs get about 17/24 mpg city/highway.
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