For 2006, the Kia Sorento SUV receives minor changes. The LX adds metal grain interior accents; the EX gains a power sunroof and metal grain interior accents, swaps its Michelin tires for Hankook/Kumho rubber, receives a four-wheel-drive shift-on-the-fly in place of 2005’s “torque-on-demand” all-wheel-drive, and loses its rear spoiler, door scuff plates, power driver’s seat and automatic climate control, for a $1,270 price reduction; and the EX-L luxury package adds the metal accents in place of wood ones, and switches its Michelin tires for Hankook/Kumho.
All Sorento models are powered by a Hyundai-derived 3.5-litre V6 that could use just a little more grunt. Construction is body-on-frame. With 2005’s all-wheel-drive gone, the across-the-board driveline configuration is an electronic shift-on-the-fly part-time four-wheel-drive unit. The LX starts with a five-speed manual that can be upgraded to a five-speed automatic; EX models use the automatic only.
The LX includes CD player with eight speakers, cruise control, power locks with keyless remote, heated power mirrors, trailer tow prewiring, power windows, windshield wiper de-icer, fog lamps, mud guards, roof rack, skid plates, tow hooks, rear privacy glass, variable intermittent wipers, fixed intermittent rear wiper, air conditioning, cloth seats, and 60/40 folding rear seat.
The EX adds CD/cassette player with ten speakers and wheel-mounted controls, two-tone bumpers, chrome-plated door handles, power sunroof, trip computer, and leather-wrapped wheel.
The EX Luxury adds a six-CD changer, rear spoiler, automatic climate control, and heated leather seats with six-way power adjustable driver’s side.
The Sorento is nicely-styled and the interior is very well done, but performance and handling are not up to those of the competition. Its wide stance gives it stability around corners, but its steering is lighter than it should be. For its body-on-frame truck construction, it should be able to haul more than it does: the V6-powered Jeep Liberty matches the Sorento’s towing capacity, and the Jeep’s a unibody.
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