Kia Sorento — Improved inside and out for 2016

By David Finkelstein

For the 2016 model year, the Kia Sorento crossover utility vehicle (CUV) has been completely redesigned and re-engineered. Sorento is loaded with premium/quality materials and almost countless user amenities.

The new version is built with welcomed additional interior space (when compared to the out going version) starting with added leg and headroom in all three rows. Furthermore, it has additional cargo carrying capabilities and increased towing capacity.

Kia’s noteworthy global design and engineering teams focused on every aspect from bumper-to-bumper on this CUV. The units stronger body structure delivers a reduction of noise, vibration and harshness type characteristics, often associated with vehicles in this crowded segment.

A higher level of driving confidence is an alluring draw to CUV owners, making Sorento an attractive choice. Buyers of Sorento are recognized in having active lifestyles. These consumers often gravitate to endless visions of outdoor adventures planned throughout the ownership experience.

Three engines are now available including a new 2.0-liter turbocharged four cylinder. Unlike a number of other turbo's out there, it operates just fine on regular grade fuel. Also featured is Kia's whisper quiet 3.3-liter V6 engine and an improved 2.4-liter normally aspirated inline four cylinder powerplant.

Standard premium features and luxurious amenities will be available across all five trim levels; L, LX, EX, SX and their flagship top-end SXL build combination. The base Sorento L has an MSRP of $24,900. Destination charges are $895.

“The all-new Sorento has been passionately designed and obsessively crafted, delivering class-up premium materials and features in a more capable package,” said Orth Hedrick, vice president, Product Planning, Kia Motors America.

Furthermore, increased use of advanced high-strength steel and additional structural reinforcement have resulted in improved torsional rigidity, which pays dividends behind the wheel in the form of better ride comfort and driving dynamics.

With this new model's exceptional exterior presence being larger than the outgoing model, it further adds to the vehicles commanding silhouette. It starts with the vehicles well planted footprint and brawnier presence. The wheelbase is just under 110 inches. That's slightly over 3-inches longer than its outgoing sister product. This helps to communicate its rugged personality. The clean profile is easily recognizable as Sorento. It has enhanced stronger shoulders and a long hood to deliver a more aerodynamic and sleek appearance.

The aggressively styled front end, with its narrower headlight design bears a strong family resemblance to the all new highly praised Sedona multipurpose mini-van type vehicle from Kia Motors. It's attractive and unique LED positioning lights further set the Sorento apart from most other midsize CUV's in this global segment. Sitting below the headlights, the lower intake and fog lamps are more prominent, creating a sportier appearance.

Premium enhancements include available LED rear dimensional tail lamps and LED fog lamps. The Sorento’s muscular body is further brought out with the four new factory available alloy wheel designs. They range from 17 to 19 inches, depending on the trim level.The overall interior theme clearly focused on a strong foundation for premium textures and high-quality materials throughout.

The welcomed level of soft-touch materials are particularly evident. Of course, other car companies are implementing cost cutting moves in the form of interior designs by using hard plastic surfaces for touch points. That tends to be a "turn-off" for many buyers.

Depending on trim level, the standard five passenger design comes withKia's 40/20/40 second-row folding seating arrangements and/or 50/50 folding third-row seven-passenger seating configuration, when equipped with the V-6 engine.

For added luxury, also available are heated and ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, 14-way power driver and 8-way power passenger seats, driver’s seat thigh extension, a 4-way headrest with one-button adjustment, dual-zone heating and A/C and Kia’s second-generation panoramic sunroof. Also available are premium Nappa leather trim seating surfaces.

The available Infinity premium sound system is a perfect match to Sorento’s upscale interior environment and includes a 630-watt, 12-speaker stereo system with an 11-channel amplifier. With the Clari-Fi technology audio advancements, music sounds cleaner, crisper, wider and more dynamic.

The 2016 Sorento offers a number of safety features including seatbelt anchor pretensioners and six airbags. All Sorento models also come standard with active safety features such as Electronic Stability Control, Blind Spot Detection, Forward Collision Warning, Surround View Monitor, Traction Control System, Brake Assist System, and other technologies such as Roll Over Mitigation and Cornering Brake Control on AWD models. Sorento’s revised suspension geometry and responsive steering system result in a quick and nimble driving experience.

New is four additional UVO eServices. This includes Geo-fencing, Speed Alert, Curfew Alert and Driving Score. Additionally, with the introduction of the Kia App store, select apps can be downloaded for free from iTunes or Google Play. Many additional new technologies for comfort and convenience are featured such as Siri “Eyes Free” and Local Search.

Sirius XM Travel Link offering access to traffic, weather, fuel prices, sports scores, stock information and movie times help keep you well connected. Accessed through a crystal-clear (optional) 8-inch capacitive-touch color screen, the available navigation screen features SD card storage that supports high-speed updates as well as the integrated rear backup camera. All of the latest pricing, EPA fuel numbers, option packages, warranty information and dealer locations that reflect this exciting all new U.S.-manufactured 2016 Kia Sorento are listed on their web page.

When Sorento was first offered back in 2002, it was based on a truck style platform. Now in its third generation, things have really changed for the better.