Kia Sorento EX 4X4 Review

When the car buying market bounces back (and it will), look for smaller SUVs to be one red-hot segment. Utopian dreams of greenies notwithstanding, there are people...a lot of people...who not only want but need the utility and versatility of the SUV...just maybe not the super-size variety.

A few years ago, the Koreans weren't even in this game...but they are now and the Kia Sorento is worthy of some serious consideration.

Smaller than the new Borrego, but larger than the compact Sportage, the Sorento is right-sized for a lot of buyers...and follows the Kia formula of lots of features for relatively little money. Sorento promises to "Conquer The Road In Total Comfort" (according to Kia's website), and it does a remarkably good job.

A base 2-wheel drive Sorento starts at under $23,000...which is awfully close to dirt cheap in this arena. The tester was the top of the line 4-wheel drive EX...with a base price of $27,365. Even so, fully loaded (16 inch alloy wheels, sunroof, leather, heated front seats, dual zone climate control, automatic headlamps, premium audio system) the price tag barely cracks the $30,000 mark. And there's Kia's world-beating 10 year/100,000 mile warranty.

There are better choices for fuel economy (the Sorento's 3.8 liter V6 and 5-speed automatic are good for an EPA estimated 15 city/20 highway), but the safety test results are rock-solid...five stars for all four frontal and side crash categories and four for rollover.

We even got compliments about how nice the Sorento looked.

"The Power To Surprise", indeed.