The Kia Sorento adds connectivity and safety features for 2017 while remaining one of the most affordable SUVs of its size.
With a length of 15.6 feet, the 2017 Sorento is mid-size and has flexible storage space of up to 73 cubic feet while offering buyers the choice of seating for five or seven people.
The Sorento also is one of the few SUVs with three engine choices — a naturally aspirated four cylinder, a turbo four and a V-6.
The starting manufacturer's suggested retail price with destination charge for a base, 2017 Sorento L is $26,495 and includes five seats, a 178-horsepower, four-cylinder engine, automatic transmission and front-wheel drive.
All Sorentos come with Kia's industry-leading warranty that includes 10 years/100,000 miles of powertrain coverage and limited, basic vehicle coverage for five years/60,000 miles.
The 2017 Sorento is a recommended buy of Consumer Reports magazine, where it's rated four out of five for predicted reliability. It also earned five out of five stars for occupant protection in front and side crash testing by the federal government.
The Sorento provides a good mix of power, comfort and functionality without a lot of fuss.
On the outside, it has a mainstream yet upscale look. Inside, nice plastics on the dashboard and doors make even the base SUV feel pricier than it is. Controls and gauges are well laid out, and there are multiple ways to organize the folding second- and third-row seats to accommodate cargo.
Kia's excellent surround view camera that shows the driver views all around the car is especially useful and makes parking and neck-straining less stressful. However, a rearview camera is not standard on the base model. Buyers must move up to the 2017 Sorento LX, which carries a $27,795 starting retail price, to get a camera.
Still, the starting prices remain thousands of dollars less than the $31,590 starting retail price for a 2017 Toyota Highlander and the $29,845 starting retail price for a 2017 Ford Edge SUV.
The list of other features is lengthy, and buyers can outfit the Sorento to the level of a luxury vehicle.
The test Sorento, for example, was the top SXL AWD model that had Nappa leather-covered seats, 19-inch, chrome wheels, panoramic sunroof, a premium surround sound system and navigation system with 8-inch display screen, among other things. Safety features included autonomous emergency braking if the Sorento detected an imminent collision. The car is also compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
The SXL AWD comes only with the 290-horsepower V-6 and is pricey, though, at $46,795.
The 3.3-liter, double overhead cam V-6 powered the Sorento tester strongly and made the SUV feel lighter than its 4,300-plus pounds.
With peak torque of 252 foot-pounds at 5,300 rpm, the vehicle comfortably got up to highway speeds while merging and easily passed other cars.
Fuel mileage in combined city/highway travel averaged the federal government's rating of 19 miles per gallon, for a total range of 358 miles on a single, 18.8-gallon tank of gasoline.
Passengers didn't feel many bumps on the roads, but they noticed some body roll as the Sorento went through curves and turns at good speed. The ride was quieter than expected, and all but the third row felt comfortable for adults. Legroom is just 31.7 inches in the third row, and seat cushions are short and situated close to the floor, so this area is best used by children. When not in use, the third row stows flat into the floor.
The Sorento with the V-6 and all-wheel drive can tow trailers and campers weighing up to 5,000 pounds. Sorentos with the four-cylinder engines are limited to a 2,000-pound towing capacity.
2017 Kia Sorento SXL AWD
BASE PRICE: $25,600 for L; $26,900 for LX FWD; $28,700 for LX AWD; $29,200 for LX V-6 FWD; $31,000 for LX V-6 AWD; $31,700 for EX FWD; $33,300 for EX V-6 FWD; $33,500 for EX AWD; $35,100 for EX V-6 AWD; $38,800 for SX FWD; $40,600 for SX AWD; $44,100 for SXL FWD; $45,900 for SXL AWD.
AS TESTED: $46,795.
TYPE: Front-engine, all-wheel-drive, seven-passenger, mid-size sport utility vehicle.
ENGINE: 3.3-liter, double overhead cam, direct injection V-6 with dual CVVT.
MILEAGE: 17 mpg (city), 23 mpg (highway).
TOP SPEED: NA.
DESTINATION CHARGE: $895.