SUVs and crossovers are often not flashy, but they are big profit-makers for today's auto manufacturers, who are keen to market them to families looking for roomy transportation.
At the top of Kia's family-friendly vehicle range is the Sorento, a mid-size SUV that offers five- and seven-passenger seating and a choice of four-cylinder and V6 engines.
For its third model year since its last full redesign, the Sorento sees a few of its standard features shuffled around.
A backup camera is now standard from the LX Turbo on up, and the addition of a UVO 4.3-inch touchscreen to the entry-level LX 2.4 model foreshadows the mandatory backup camera law that goes into effect during the 2018 calendar year.
Blind spot detection, rear cross traffic alert and supervision gauge cluster are now standard in the LX V6 (shuffled down from the EX, and the EX V6 model gains LED taillights, smart power tailgate and sound-reducing front door glass that used to be exclusive to SX trims and up.
In SX and SXL trims, the steering wheel and shifter are now full leather, instead of combining leather and wood trim. The SX+ model becomes an SXL and gains chrome wheels and side moulding.
Finally, all models get a larger blind spot warning indicator, deeper cup holders and improved headlight lenses.
Unchanged are the Sorento's mechanical offerings, which comprise a 2.4L four-cylinder (LX and LX AWD; 185 hp/178 lb-ft of torque), a 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder (LX Turbo, EX Turbo, SX Turbo; 240 hp/260 lb-ft) and a 3.3L V6 (LX V6, EX V6, SX V6, SLX; 290 hp/252 lb-ft).
All versions use a six-speed automatic transmission and AWD is standard save for the entry-level model.
On paper, the 2.4L engine seems under-powered for a vehicle of this size, but it actually hauls the big Sorento around with surprising ease, at least when the vehicle is unloaded. The V6 is a smooth and strong performer, but is also by far the thirstiest of the three engines on offer. Regardless of trim, the interior is beautifully assembled with quality materials that make this SUV feel more expensive than it is. As a result, this is one of the few vehicles in this class whose interior feels like it belongs in a vehicle that carries the nearly $50,000 price tag attached to the SXL.
While that list of engine choices makes the number of trims seem vast, LX, EX and SX models share most of their standard kit regardless of engine.
LX gets air conditioning, six-speaker stereo, cruise control, 17-inch alloy wheels, heated front seats, manual driver's seat adjustment and backup sensors.
Moving up to the EX brings a raft of extras, including 18-inch wheels, dual-zone climate control, seven-inch display audio 110-volt power outlet, passive keyless entry, rear door sunshades, heated steering wheel, auto-dimming rearview mirror and a 14-way power driver's seat.
SX models get 19-inch wheels, premium stereo, navigation with an eight-inch touchscreen, leather seating and ventilated front seats.
Fuel consumption estimates range from 11.2/8.3 L/100 km (city/highway) in the LX FWD to 14.0/10.1 with the V6 and AWD.
This vehicle has not yet been reviewed