A Little Turbo Spice, A Lot More Nice
Teenagers are awkward, predictably provocative and generally horrible to be around – at least unless you, yourself are one. There's just something about those angst-ridden years spent trying on identities, none fitting quite right. Luckily for Kia
, the automaker has just celebrated its 20th birthday in America, and fresh out of the driver's seat of its 2016 Sorento
– dare we say it – we sense a touch of self-assured maturity. Don't worry; we expect the automaker's antics – including super-freak athletes jumping over an Optima
at the NBA All-Star game and the employment of urban hamsters – to continue. Thankfully, offering unremarkable vehicles in pretty competitive segments seems officially a thing of Kia's history e-book.
To be fair, we've seen a pleasing Korean Renaissance for a few years now, and we're not just talking hot pots and bulgogi – 2015 Hyundai Genesis
, anyone? Kia Optima SX? Soul
? So where exactly does this third-gen 2016 Sorento fit in? Actually, we're not sure Kia knows that either; its product planners tell us that this miraculous crossover competes with variously sized vehicles including the compact Jeep Cherokee
, markedly larger Grand Cherokee
, and even the family-hauling three-row Toyota Highlander
. But Kia is also not completely off its rocker, because the Sorento suffers (benefits?) from severe bipolar disorder in terms of pricing. While you can get a base L model for US$25,795 after delivery – there are five trim levels including L, LX, EX, SX, and top-of-the-line SXL – the fancy SXL 2.0T with all-wheel drive we tested was priced at US$45,305. That's a difference of almost US$20k, with the latter model reaches a completely different, almost premium demographic. (Canadian pricing has yet to be announced. We will update this post once we get word on official numbers.)
And there's more. Sometimes the Sorento seats five, other times it can party hard with seven. There are three very different engine flavors to choose from: a carryover 2.4-litre four-cylinder will greet entry-level buyers with 185 horsepower and 178 pound-feet of torque. A meatier V6 – good for 290 hp and 252 lb-ft – will come on three-row models only, while the new 2.0-litre turbocharged four option, good for 240 horses and 260 lb-ft comes on two-row models exclusively.