The 2012 Kia Sorento EX was entered into the Mid Size CUV category at this year’s Texas Truck Rodeo held by the Texas Auto Writers Association (TAWA) at Knibbe Ranch near San Antonio this last weekend.
The 2012 Kia Sorento EX competed in group that included Chevrolet Equinox, Dodge Journey Crew, Ford Edge Limited, and Toyota Highlander. Not all of the entries were particularly configured for the off road course and some ran the road course instead of the off road.
I have been a fan of Kia Sorento in a city and highway environment for some time, but have not had the opportunity to test this CUV in an off road situation. I was eager to do so and was not disappointed. Do not mistake me, this is not a heavy duty off roader, but is certainly very acceptable in moderate off road conditions.
The Sorento that Kia brought to the Rodeo was capable of running the two wheel drive course and this writer took Sorento EX there without hesitation.
Equipped with the class leading 2.4 liter GDI (Gasoline Direct Injected) 191 hp @ 6300 rpm engine mated up to an electronically controlled 6-speed automatic, overdrive w/ Sportmatic transmission, this Sorento showed no hesitation from the moment we crossed through the first water hazard, through the two wheel off road course, up and down hills over rocks and across pastures and back to the original crossing to finish.
With ground clearance over 7 inches, front suspension with independent MacPherson struts, coil springs and stabilizer bar and running on 235/60R18 tires mounted to Hyper-Finish alloy wheels, this Kia Sorento EX fairly galloped over the course and nimbly handled the challenges of the two wheel off road course. The Electric Stability Control (ESC), Traction Control System (TCS), Hill Assist Control (HAC) and Downhill Brake Control (DBC) performed perfectly in this vehicle adding to the ease of control and safety of the experience for the driver.
Inside, the 2012 Kia Sorento EX is roomy, well appointed and comfortable. New for 2012 are power folding mirrors, 8 way memory seat/power passenger seat, ventilated (cool) drivers seat and heated wood trim steering wheel. The second row seating is 60/40 split folding and a third row of seating for 7 passengers is available. Kia is also offering their new UVO powered by Microsoft™ handsfree infotainment and communications system based on the Windows Embedded Automotive platform.
The 2012 Kia Sorento will certainly continue the customer acceptance and satisfaction that has been a hallmark since Sorento arrived in January 2010. This is evidenced by having one of the highest residual value ratings in the compact CUV segment and sales in excess of 100,000 units in a single year. Mileage rating is 21/28 mpg and in one trim, 22/32 mpg, making the Sorento economical to operate while being very affordable with prices beginning at $21,250 and priced at $32,350 for the well equipped model we drove at the Texas Truck Rodeo.
…………….Jim is a member of the Texas Auto Writers Association