Experienced by Leon Brittain
Ladies and gentlemen welcome to Automotive Rhythms’ long-term 5-passenger 2016 Titanium Silver Kia Sorento SXL AWD, one of the industry’s top cross-over vehicles. I know that’s a strong lead-in, but having the opportunity to experience segment rivals from higher to lower end models, as well as being the current owner of a competitor model, the Kia Sorento deserves such an intro.
Upon first glance the exterior of the brawny CUV sitting on 19” alloys quickly garnered my attention, but it was within where I was truly impressed. The Merlot Nappa leather interior set within the Smoke Gray cockpit was both elegant and sporty, a quality-infused combination I would expect to find in pricier, luxury CUVs. Beyond the cabin ambience my family of five found the interior’s functionality ideal for providing plenty of seating and cargo space as well as enough USB charging outlets to keep everyone plugged-in and entertained while on-the-go. Let me not omit the rear cabin 115V and 12V power outlets frequently used for charging an array of electronic devices which kept the kiddies content on both quick errands and longer road trips. More importantly, from a driver’s perspective, UVO eServices Telematics with the Rear Camera Display is one of the most intuitive and user-friendly systems on the market. At times I found myself sitting in the parking lot playing with the array of apps and connectivity capabilities while gazing through the larger-than-life panoramic sunroof that stretches over both rows. Cargo space is more than ample, but lay down the fold-flat 2nd-row seats and your capacity opens up to an echoing volume of 146.4 cubic feet. In other words, that’s plenty of room for an active family’s needs or making runs to your local home improvement store.
The Sorento felt well suited cruising the beltway, however, it was traversing the city where it truly shined. Case in point, Georgetown — a notable Washingtonian neighborhood — is notorious for its parking challenges. But thanks to the Sorento’s urban-friendly size, squeezing between stationary vehicles on the street was a non-issue. Additionally, the 2-liter 4-cylinder turbo felt at home scuttling through the busy city. This is not to say our 240-horsepower engine wasn’t enough for highway driving, but the start and stop zip from the turbo is on point and its fuel efficiency toting a combined 22 mpg put a smile on my face at every fill-up. However, there were occasions on the highway where a bit more boost would’ve been appreciated. Even with this mind the driving experience was enjoyable. Yes, enjoyable. The Torque On Demand AWD with Torque Vectoring Cornering Control (TVCC) provided both the confidence needed for sudden lane changes and reassurance in inclement weather. Our vehicle was also endowed with the $2,500 Technology Package which included the very accurate Lane Departure Warning System, Forward Collision Warning System, Smart Cruise Control and the Surround View Monitor.
During my stint behind the wheel I had the opportunity to make use of the Sorento’s 5,000 lb. towing capacity by hauling a riding mower, dirt-bikes, sportbikes and the family’s five pedal bikes for our trail rides. Speaking of active lifestyles, our muscular CUV was fit for transporting a cadre of equipment for Automotive Rhythms and Fit Fathers philanthropic efforts consisting of the all-female Paint the ¼ Pink breast cancer awareness motorcycle race, March of Dimes’ Bikers for Babies fundraiser as well as Children’s National Medical Center’s Toy Drive.
At $45,095 ($41,700 MSRP) this is one long-term that will be difficult to part with as it hits consistently on all marks successfully. We just received a set of Yokohama snow and ice tires so expect some winter wonderland excitement on the next installment!