Kia first introduced the Sorento back in 2002, some 15 years ago. It’s really hard to believe that this once “cheap” body-on-frame SUV has come such a long way in such a short period of time. The first generation was good because it was affordable. It was a ‘budget’ SUV if you will, struggling to keep up with the competition. Fast forward a little more than a decade, and we arrive to the newest, third-gen crossover.
Completely reworked for 2016, the Sorento is now a true class leader. The 2017 Kia Sorento is no longer a good proposition just because of its affordability, instead it’s a great choice because it’s just so damn good at everything it does! For 2017, Kia made a few small tweaks, adding automatic emergency braking and including the Technology package standard in the SXL trim. Seeing how far the Sorento has come is amazing, but can the updated 2017 Kia Sorento really be the new benchmark crossover?
ENGINE AND PERFORMANCE
The 2017 Kia Sorento offers three choices of engine ranging from the base level 2.4L four cylinder outputting 185hp, the mid-range 2.0L turbo charged four cylinder outputting 240hp and the top of the line 3.3L six cylinder engine outputting 290hp. With 290 horsepower and 252 lb-ft of torque, it’s a real powerhouse. Front-wheel drive is standard, as is the six-speed automatic, but you can opt for the all-wheel drive system if you feel like you need it. An AWD SX with the V6 can sprint to 60 mph in just 7.6 seconds, an astonishing time given the size and weight of the Sorento.
The most surprising thing about the 2017 Sorento is probably the chassis. You don’t expect such a large vehicle to handle like the Sorento does. Granted, there is some body roll, but the way in which the Sorento controls it is mighty impressive. The SX, being the sportiest of them all, gives excellent feedback through the wheel, enabling you to place it precisely on the road. It’s by no means a sports car, but for a large seven-seater, it can really move.
Driving around the city in the Sorento is made easy due to the compact size, despite it being a seven passenger SUV. Parking is made even easier with a full 360 degree camera complete with all the proximity sensors.
The SX, being the heaviest model also achieves the highest fuel consumption, rated at 14.0 L./100km in the city and 10.1 L/100km on the highway. Our 300km test drive of the 2017 Kia Sorento SX yielded a combined 13.2 L/100km consumption.
First impressions are surprisingly good. In the past, Kia wasn’t well known for making gorgeous cars, but the 2017 Kia Sorento looks like it’s ready to change that. From a distance, you can’t help but admire its incredible stance and aggressive demeanor. It’s no longer the dull, boring crossover it once was.
As you get closer to the 2017 Sorento, you start noticing the finer details. The front end features a “Tiger Nose” grille with a dark chrome design with bright chrome highlights and the integrated Kia logo right in the middle. The HID headlights swivel to follow the road in corners and you get a piano black trim to further disguise the lower grille and the fog light surroundings. There’s a faux chrome skid plate underneath, held on with hex bolts. While it may not be the most functional feature, it does add to the rugged look of the exterior design. The most unique front end feature is the four-pod flog lights, providing increased visibility and brightness in foggy conditions as well as a stylish design cue.
Round back, the design is in keeping with the front and features like the small roof spoiler housing the rear brake light, the large horizontal taillights flanking the quarter panels and the rear diffuser housing the exhaust outlets come together into a fluid design from front to rear. The overall exterior design feel of the 2017 Kia Sorento is understated yet elegant and modern.
If you want to see how far Kia’s come in the last decade, just have a look at the interior of the 2017 Sorento. The materials are a superb quality and everything is put together in a high quality build. You can tell Kia didn’t spare any expense when it came to the quality of the plastics and the leather.
Stepping inside the 2017 Kia Sorento, you get a bright and cheerful feeling from the full length panoramic sunroof. Although it’s spacious and roomy for driver and passengers, it doesn’t feel as huge as other comparables like the 2017 Ford Explorer or the 2017 Nissan Pathfinder. With plenty of hidden storage compartments and buttons and dials laid out intuitively, it’s a simple and straightforward interior. The updated 8 inch touch screen infotainment system is fast and responsive and integrates Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Being a compact seven-seater SUV, a lot of emphasis has been placed on the Sorento’s second and third-row seats. There’s plenty of legroom and headroom in all three rows and the wide-opening rear doors make accessing the third row simple and convenient. Rear passengers get their own heating and cooling vents with accompanying controls to adjust the temperature to their liking. The third row folds flat to provide a large amount or cargo space and a hidden underfloor compartment that houses the spare tire and additional out-of-sight storage space.
The Sorento’s popularity has been on the rise recently, and we’re honestly not surprised. Not only does it go head to head with some of the best from Germany, Japan and the U.S., but the Sorento comes out on top in many categories. Factoring in the price for the quality and technology you receive, and you have a real winner! Starting at only $27,695, everyone should take a 2017 Kia Sorento for a test drive and use it as the basis for comparing all other seven passenger SUVs.