Our Week in a 2012 Kia Sorento SX – A Family Review

It’s rare that Bob jumps up and down and volunteers to write a review for me.  Apparently the rules change when there are cars involved.  Take it away, B!

I love anything with wheels, hence my name (Biker Bob). So when we were given the opportunity to spend a week driving the new 2012 Kia Sorento, we jumped right on it. Rather than give just the “car guy” review, we decided to have the whole family give their input.

Apologies in advance that we didn’t get to take more pics other than this one – our kitchen construction has everything around this place in Crazy Mode.  During the week that we had this car, we had contractors, inspectors, cement deliveries, block deliveries and more coming and going – never a dull moment!

Here is our lovely Kia Sorento parked in the backyard amid our rock/dirt piles!

2012 kia sorento

The color of this model is Cherry Red – it was sharp!

The 2012 Kia Sorento comes in 4 trim levels: Base, EX, LX and SX.  The base model starts around $20,000 and goes to just under $40,000 for a fully loaded SX. The model we tested was a fairly well outfitted SX with a sticker price of $37,150. It offered the following features:

Mechanical
3.5 liter V-6
6 speed automatic transmission
All Wheel Drive

Safety
Airbags everywhere
Active front headrests
Anti-lock Brakes
Traction Control
Electronic Stability Control
Tire Pressure Monitoring System

Interior
Dual Zone Climate Control
Rear AC with controls
Infinity Surround Audio System
Navigation with Sirius Traffic (3 month subscription to Sirius)
Rear Camera display
USB/Aux jacks
Bluetooth wireless
Heated and cooled driver seat
Driver seat/Mirror memory control
Heated passenger seat
3rd Row seating
Push button start with smartkey
Cruise Control
Auto light controls
Heated steering wheel
Tilt Telescopic Steering wheel
Back up warning system

Exterior
Fog lights
Power folding mirrors w/ turn signal indicators
Privacy glass
Rear Spoiler
Panoramic Sunroof

Kia Sorento 3

Kia Sorento 2

Overall Thoughts
The first thing I noticed was the “Power to Surprise” license plate trim as I walked up to it. We previously owned a Kia (’06 Sportage) and were aware of the value that they offer. We were ready to be impressed, but true to the logo, we were definitely surprised.

The Sorento drove more like a car than an all wheel drive SUV.  It was quick, nimble and smooth. The interior was quiet and comfortable. The leather trim was luxurious and sleek. The controls were well located and easy to use. The voice activated navigation and controls, similar to that offered by Ford, were not complicated to use and did not seem to give any hesitation or delay. The controls around the dash are real buttons, and not just sensors, which prevent accidental activation like you can get with (Ford) Sync.

Kia Sorento 1

The biggest selling feature for us is the third row seating. There are only the three of us and we like to travel, so the rear cargo space is used a lot. But, like most people, we enjoy going out with family and friends and frequently drive to farther destinations, including craft shows, expos and other places.  Traveling in one car is more fuel efficient and leads to better day of bonding. The third row is not the most spacious, but for a midsize car it offers just enough space for an adult for the short ride, and plenty of space for kids for the rest of the time.

Dad likes:

  • The Sorento has plenty of power and quick acceleration.
  • It rides great and feels more like a car than a larger family vehicle.
  • The controls are well placed and easy to use.
  • The rear view camera offers as much convenience as it does an extra level of safety.

Mom likes:

  • The GPS touchscreen can be used by the passenger while driving (some cars lock out the touchscreen GPS while in motion, a great safety feature, but a pain for long trips when the passenger is trying to use it).
  • The touchscreen is easy to use and doesn’t have any delay.
  • The layout of the steering wheel controls is a convenient design (it was simple to change radio stations, adjust the volume, etc).
  • The Sorento was very fuel efficient. We drove it many places over the course of one week and never went through a full tank of gas.
  • Lily’s car seat – a Britax Marathon CS – fit NO PROBLEM in the back seat.  She had plenty of leg room and so did anyone who sat in the passenger seat in front of her.  Space for car seats is a BIG factor for us – we traded in our Sportage shortly after Lily was born because it could barely fit her infant seat.  Room for car seats is now the first thing we look at when car shopping!
  • Keyless Entry – never dig through your purse for keys again!  As long as your key fob is somewhere on your body (or in a bag you’re carrying), a simple press of a button on the door, the car is unlocked.

Kid likes:

  • Lily LOVED the rear seat armrest. It folds down to offer a cup holder that is within easy reach of her car seat. This is great for giving kids their independence in the back seat and letting them choose when they want their drink.

What We Would Change and Why

Passenger seat - The driver seat offers heating and cooling, but the passenger seat offers only heating. When the driver becomes the passenger, it is a loss of simple feature that you become accustomed to.

Power lift gate - When toting kids and an armful of groceries, it is very convenient to be able to push a button and drop the groceries in the rear. The key fob has a button with a lift gate on it already, just add the power struts.

Touchscreen - The touch screen size is adequate, but could be a little bigger. It can be difficult to see if you are not directly in front of it or if there is a lot of sunlight coming in.

Remote Start - The car already has electronic ignition, so it shouldn’t be hard to add. Remote start is a really nice feature to have in the heat of the summer and the frigid months of winter.

Rear Seat Entertainment - Long trips are common for us and as a treat on longer trips, we like to offer Lily the ability to stay entertained with TV in the rear seat. It would be awesome if the controls and DVD slot were in the front control panel, so that the adults could control (or override) from the front.

Final Word
Overall, we loved the Kia Sorento. It offers everything that the other midsized SUVs offer. It had plenty of power, comfortable ride and handling and many of the convenience features we would look for in a vehicle. The price is a great value compared to equivalent competition.

A definite yes for us!

We were provided with the car reviewed above for one week with a full tank of gas in order to facilitate the review.  We were asked to drive the car and write an unbiased review of our experience.  No further compensation was received.  All opinions are 100% our own. 

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