Kia Sorento Review: When The Rain Comes, We Say Yay!.

By Posted in - Travel Review on October 10th, 2012

The rain started light, as it often does in Manomet Beach–a small seaside community in Plymouth, Mass. Just a few teardrops from the menacing clouds overhead, but nothing significant.

For a second, the rain even backed off and the clouds cleared slightly, but this was clearly just the calm before the storm because without a warning the clouds burst like a million water balloons crashing down onto our new Kia Sorento, as thunder and lightening cracked between the suffocating clouds overhead.

At this point, Beth and I were about 10 minutes into our hour long trip from Plymouth and Boston. Normally, cloud bursts of this magnitude fizzle out quicker than Vanilla Ice’s rap career, but this time the hard rain just kept coming down, and I couldn’t have been happier.

“Alright! This is perfect,” I said to Beth, as visibility dropped to less than zero.

We were a few days into our review of the Kia Sorento, so it was the ideal conditions to test out how the KIA’s 6-speed automatic transmission could handle a New England summer storm. Driving through the down pour, the Sorento handled the unsavory conditions perfectly. Puddles that looked and felt like small asphalt ponds were no problem for the SUV’s 3.5 litre V6 engine.

I’ve always enjoyed driving through intense storms–snow, rain, sleet or sand–but I must say doing it in an SUV equipped to the nines makes the experience that much better. As the rain beat down on the Sorento’s panoramic moon roof, Beth and I were as comfortable as could be with some key essentials for any good rainy day drive–power seats with multilevel heating, a stellar 10-speaker Infinity stereo system equipped for the digital age with iPhone, Sirius/XM radio and MP3s connectivity, and my personal favorite, the three zone climate control.

Eventually, the rain let up and we drove into Boston excited for our night out in Cambridge. Once in the city, we made our way to the restaurant. I was a bit apprehensive about having to park the SUV in a city notorious for its limited and tight street spaces, this is one of the reasons I drive a small hatchback, it is great for city parallel parking. So, when it came to slipping the Kia into the spot, I was pleasantly surprised about how easy it was to park the Sorento, mainly due to its rear camera feature that shows the video on the console as well as the self-adjusting power mirrors, which is a nice touch to an already intuitive SUV.

Fast forward to the next morning. Beth’s parents our in town, so we decided to put the Kia Sorento’s interior space to a test by packing six adults (it can hold seven) in for a Saturday afternoon drive. The SUV features manual folding split-bench third row seats, which we employed for this trip. Amazingly, the Sorento handled our group with ease. As I drove, it seemed surreal that we had so much depth, in what looks like from the outside, a standard size SUV. Better yet, the third row passengers had full control of their zone climate control and probably more room than an airline seat in coach.

As far as exterior’s go, the Kia Sorento is like, as ZZ Top says, “a sharp dressed man.” It’s got similar modern lines as the Kia Optima and looks good on and off the road. In fact, it seems to me that Kia took a page from Porsche’s successful playbook of morphing its popular 911 into the Cayeene SUV with a couple notable differences being Kia’s better warranty–five year/60,000 miles basic coverage and its 10 year/100,000 miles for the drive-train–as well as the Sorento’s cost to value ratio, which few, if any, automakers can compete with.

As with the Optima Hybrid, I was pleasantly surprised with the Sorento. Not only did it look great, it also was fun to drive and functional. The model we reviewed, which was fully equipped, came in under $35,000. My only suggestion for Kia would be to consider coming up with a Hybrid edition of the SUV. While the Sorento does fairly well on MPG–20 city/26 highway–for an SUV with a V6, the rising gas cost is a adherence, and after seeing the wonderful job Kia did with its Optima Hybrid, I think they could really shake the industry up with an affordable, well-equipped SUV Hybrid.

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(2) awesome folk have had something to say...

  • Diane -

    October 11, 2012 at 8:53 am

    I want one!!! Loved the final photo of the family!

    • Randy -

      October 12, 2012 at 3:20 am

      @Diane, I think it would do a nice job pulling a horse trailer. Plus, they have an AWD version, which would be nice for going up into the Southern California mountains during winter.