The Kia Sorento is an all-new mid-size sport-utility that has the potential to become a runaway bestseller. Named after a city in Italy, the Sorento packs a big V6 engine. It seats five with lots of elbow room. It will go anywhere its rivals will off road, yet it maintains a civil attitude on the pavement.
What sets the Sorento apart is its price: $5,000 to $6,000 less than comparable SUVs. Yet it comes loaded with standard features.
The 2003 Kia Sorento is available in two trim levels: LX and EX. Pricing had not been announced when this was written, but we're guessing $18,500 for an LX and $22,500 for an EX with four-wheel drive adding about $1500 to each.
LX comes loaded with standard features. A 3.5-liter 24-valve double overhead-cam V6 is standard, and comes with an electronically-controlled four-speed automatic with overdrive. Other standard features include air conditioning, central locking, power windows with driver-side express down, dual heated power mirrors, cruise control (with steering wheel-mounted controls), tilt wheel, AM/FM/CD sound system with eight speakers, and a rear cargo cover; these features are often extra cost on other SUVs.
EX is powered by the same V6, but replaces the LX's engine-speed sensitive power rack & pinion steering with electronic vehicle speed sensing power. Also added are floor mats, standard alloy wheels, a power sunroof, 8-way power driver's seat, remote keyless entry, a "multimeter" in the overhead console, electrochromatic inside rearview mirror, Homelink, and a Delphi premium CD/cassette stereo with steering wheel audio controls.
A Luxury package optional on the EX includes a sophisticated Torque on Demand full-time all-wheel drive system (that also includes a "low range"), automatic headlamps, heated front seats, automatic air conditioning, and a six-disc in-dash CD changer. A self-leveling rear suspension and a rear spoiler are options for the EX. Leather upholstery is available as an option.
Four-wheel anti-lock brakes (ABS) is a standalone option on all models.