BY H. THROTTLE
Sometimes you just connect with a test car from the first few miles to the end of the test drive period. The 2021 KIA Sorento was a driving pleasure from the first minute and mile. The “Aruba Green” paint shimmering in the late August sunshine and the black leather trimmed interior was inviting. This deluxe Sorento X-Line all-wheel drive has a suggested manufacturer’s list price of $42,500. The vehicle is completely loaded with a long list of desirable options such as a Bose premium sound system and 20” matte finished alloy wheels.
KIA has been rated the number one mass market brand in initial quality for the past six years in a row. The Korean based car giant has expanded their quality vehicles around the globe and the Sorento is assembled in West Point, Georgia, with as USA engine and Korean transmission. The 2.5L-four-cylinder engine works perfectly with the 8-speed dual clutch auto transmission. The combination provides abundant acceleration and 24 mpg combined highway mileage.
This is a SUV style vehicle loaded with the latest safety equipment. One of the best new features is when signaling a lane change, a round photo of the rear left lane appears on the dashboard screen showing the rear blind spot lane. A very useful safety feature that should be adapted by major car companies.
There are drive mode selections including a snow mode. Along with the all-wheel drive feature the Sorento is equipped with LED fog lights, heated steering wheel and front seats.
While not safety rated, the vehicle has forward collision avoidance that is critical with so many front-end accidents on our highways. The blind spot monitor is outstanding and so is the rear cross-traffic alert, so handy at the grocery store parking lot.
The Sorento has captain chairs in the first two rows and fold up seats in the rear spacious rear cargo area. The second-row seats slide and fold, making a large cargo area great for skis and snowboards.
The Bose sound system is easy to manipulate. There are UBS chargers in all three rows and a front seat wireless charging pad.
Other extra features include a panoramic sunroof with power sunshade, a rear hand’s free trunk life gate, and roof rails for more storage capacity.
But last, and most significant, this is just an outstanding vehicle to drive with a perfect combination of turbo/engine and transmission and a comfortable drive. For a six-passenger capacity vehicle the overall fuel economy of 24 mpg. is a major plus with rapidly rising gasoline prices. The larger SUV’s can cost money at the fuel pumps now and probably in the future.
KIA is a strong brand and the Sorento is outstanding.