The new Kia Sorento is one of the first 2011 models available. Like other Kia and Hyundai models, it has transformed itself into a worthy crossover SUV with a long list of standard features, a ride that nicely combines comfort and handling, solid build quality, a very capable available V6 engine, an optional third-row seat that actually accommodates adults and affordable pricing.
After skipping the 2010 model year in favor of a fully redesigned 2011, the Sorento has switched to a carlike unibody construction and added more powerful engines and the new third-row seat option. And with a price starting around $20,000, it clearly has compact-SUV leaders like the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4 in its crosshairs, and deservedly so, especially with its interior roominess advantage (it's almost a midsize).
Trims, Standard Features And Options:
The 2011 Sorento is available in three trims: base, LX and EX. The third-row 50/50-split-folding seat is an available option on the LX and four-cylinder EX, while being standard on the EX V6.
Standard features on the already fairly well-equipped base model include full power accessories, air conditioning, 17 inch alloy wheels, a tilt/telescoping steering wheel, Bluetooth connectivity, a trip computer, a CD/MP3 stereo system, satellite radio, a USB audio jack and a a 6-speed manual transmission.
The midlevel Sorento LX then adds a 6-speed automatic transmission, body-color heated outside mirrors with integrated LED turn signals, a second-row armrest with a cupholder, and the availability of the Convenience package which adds heated front seats, a back-up camera with a rearview-mirror-mounted display, rear parking sensors, roof rails and foglamps.
The Sorrento EX has all of the LX's equipment, plus 18 inch alloy wheels, dual-zone automatic climate control (with rear air conditioning on V6 models), keyless entry, keyless ignition and a leather-wrapped shift knob and steering wheel.
There's also an optional Premium package for the EX which includes leather upholstery, roof rails, the back-up camera, heated front seats and a panoramic sunroof for V6 models. And for those outfitted with the Premium package, there's an available Limited package which adds a voice-activated navigation system with real-time traffic, 18 inch chrome-finish wheels, a 12-speaker Infinity sound system and interior ambiance lighting. In addition, a rear DVD entertainment system is offered on EX V6 models that do not have the sunroof.
Powering all 2011 Sorento models is a standard 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 175 horsepower and 169 pound-feet of torque. It's mated with a 6-speed automatic transmission on all models except the base with its 6-speed manual.
The EX model also offers an optional 3.5-liter V6 that pumps out 276 horsepower and 248 lb-ft of torque and is coupled with the 6-speed automatic.
EPA gas mileage estimates range from 21 mpg city and 29 mpg on the highway for the front-wheel drive four-cylinder Sorento with the automatic to 19 mpg city and 25 mpg highway for the all-wheel drive EX V6.
The 2011 Sorento also boasts impressive safety equipment with standard features (for all trims) that include antilock disc brakes (ABS), hill descent control, hill-start assist, stability control, front seat side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags and front active head restraints.
And while the 2011 Sorento hadn't been tested at the time of this writing, in government crash tests the 2009 Sorento earned perfect five-out-of-five-star ratings for both frontal and side impact protection for all occupants.
The Kia Sorento's cabin is attractive, well made, user-friendly and consists of higher-grade materials than one would expect in this price range. The front seats are comfortable and supportive with a commanding road view, while the rear bench can accommodate three adults. A big plus for those anticipating larger passenger counts is the optional third-row (standard on EX V6) which features 50/50-split-folding seatbacks and is roomy enough room for even taller adults.
The 2011 Sorento offers a well-balanced combination of comfort and handling. The interior is also fairly quiet while cruising down the highway. While the 2.4 liter four-cylinder engine is fine for light loads and around-town driving, it's probably not the best choice for those who expect extra passengers and/or heavier loads. The EX's 3.5 liter V6, however, is quite capable and offers a smooth and pleasant driving experience with respectable fuel economy.
How To Get The Lowest Price:
Best Negotiating Tactic: Well, there's definitely a 'best way' when it comes to new car buying. If you want to get the best bottomline, out-the-door price you need to know exactly who to talk to at the dealership, how to make the contact and how to make this person eager to quickly drop prices as low as possible to get your sale.
Those of you in the market for a used car may want to check out this article about how to buy a used car at the lowest price. It details a super effective buying method, one that often beats down prices to wholesale levels.
And somewhat related to this, here's another excellent method that identifies Price-Distressed Cars Right On Dealer Lots. These are vehicles they are so desperate to unload they would welcome your wholesale offer.
In addition, you can also try a Wholesale Auction in your own geographic area. While there can be a lot of junk vehicles at these auctions, there are often absolute gems sprinkled in as well. This article reviews what to expect at open-to-the-public car auctions and how to locate them in your own area.