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Review: 2016 Kia Sorento SX Limited

Kamil Kaluski September 30, 2015 Featured, Kia Reviews, Reviews 7 Comments

2016 kia sorento sx limited turbo

The good news for buyers of new cross-over utility vehicles (CUVs) is that there is a lot of CUVs on the market. Each manufacturer seems to have at least two, and all can be had in various trims and configurations. Secondly, most of them are really good, which makes the decision to pick one either really simple or extremely difficult, depending on your personality and level of obsessive compulsive disorder. With the updated 2016 Sorento, Kia is attempting to grab a few more sales away from its competitors in this very competitive segment.

2016 kia sorento sx limited turbo front 34

For 2016, the Kia Sorento has been significantly redesigned, but I had trouble seeing many signs of this redesign because the new Sorento looks much like the old Sorento. I therefore dug into the press release for answers and I learned that the front-end is “aggressively styled” and overall it has a “brawnier, more planted stance, communicating its edginess and rugged personality.” That’s good, but more importantly it has a 3.1” longer wheel base, and “distinctive LED positioning lights.” Inside, “the design motif provides a strong foundation for the premium textures and high-quality materials found throughout the 2016 Sorento’s cabin.  The liberal application of soft-touch materials is particularly evident around the instrument panel, center console and door panels”

All that sounds dreamy, as does something about high strength steel and increased “torsional rigidity by 14 percent.” Two engines are carried over, a 2.4-liter inline-4 GDI, a 3.3-liter V6 GDI. Given that the vehicle I was driving seemed to be fully loaded, I assumed that it was powered by the V6 engine, but I was wrong. Another change for 2016 is the addition of a 240-horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged four-banger, which was in my vehicle. And it really surprised me, because it was smooth, refined, quiet, and had the feel of a V6; no turbo lag, no peak-y powerband, just what felt like a large displacement six-cylinder engine. Very impressive!

2016 kia sorento sx limited turbo dash

The one thing the Kia didn’t update is the transmission, and that’s a good thing. Where so many manufacturers are switching to continuously variable transmissions, which make weird noises, Kia decided to keep a conventional six-speed automatic. Driven in normal mode, it works great with the new engine; power is always available and it always seems to be in the right gear. There is a “sport” mode, but there the shifts can be harsh at times. There is an eco mode, too, but I didn’t feel much difference between it and the normal mode. The turbocharged AWD Sorento is rated by the EPA at 19mpg city and 25mph highway, for a combined rating of 22mpg.

Kia didn’t lie about the interior, either. Everything seemed very pleasing to the eye and touch, alike. This SX Limited model had things such as heated and ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel, and dynamic cruise control. Like with most dynamic cruise control systems, a collision warning system is included, but it should be noted that the system on the Sorento only alerts the driver and will not slow down or the stop the vehicle. If there is anything that is deserving further criticism, it is the slow and unintuitive infotainment system. Kia packed a lot of features into that head-unit but accessing them while driving isn’t easy, even changing radio stations is challenging when they’re not pre-programed.

2016 kia sorento sx limited turbo interior details seats

If you want a three-row Kia Sorento you must opt for the V6 engine. In the 2.0T version I drove, the area under the cargo floor was replaced with a storage bin with a flimsy cover. The rear seats slide and fold almost flat, allowing for plenty of cargo space. However, due to the shape of the vehicle, specifically the roof that slopes down toward the rear, the hatch opening isn’t very tall, which may prevent the loading larger objects that could otherwise fit inside.

A base 2016 Kia  Sorento starts at $24,900. The SX Limited model 2.0 Turbo AWD model shown here jumps that starting price all the way up to $41,700. The $2500 Tech Package adds smart cruise control, HID headlights, surround view monitor, and lane departure warning with forward collision warning. Throw in $115 for floor mats and $95 for a cargo mat. The destination charge, which is something that should really be included in the cost of the vehicle, is $895. The total price for the vehicle seen in these pictures is $45,305.

2016 kia sorento sx limited turbo exterior details trunk engine

Given its features, price, and performance, Kia is aiming right at the bulls-eye of the cross-over market with the updated Sorento. It is a nice, modern, functional, and easy to drive vehicle. Unfortunately it only nicks the bulls-eye as it does not lead this market segment in any one category, be it features, safety, room, economy, or price. It’s another great fish in a big pond full of great fish.

2016 kia sorento sx limited turbo rear 34

Kia Motors America, Inc. provided the vehicle for this review. All images copyright 2015 Kamil Kaluski/Redusernab. All images were taken with an iPhone due to a battery issue on a proper DSLR camera, sorry about that. 

  • Sjalabais

    25k$ for a car this size sounds like an amazing deal. A friend recently purchased a 2009 Kia Cee’d and asked me for guidance: It turns out that Kia has managed to produce a couple of cars with a quite solid reputation over the last few years.

    • $45k sounds like quite a lot, however.

      • Sjalabais

        Couldn’t agree more. So…any data on where in the spectrum the average Kia customer will land?

        • I can speculate, but I’d rather not, as it would be just that, speculation. A visit to truecar.com would be a start. Also, chances are that one can get a killer deal on an ’15 right now.

        • Citric

          Through the highly unscientific method of looking what’s on my local dealer’s lot, $35k. Over half their stock is models sitting at that price point, so I’m assuming that’s what sells.

  • mr smee

    Kia and Hyundai SUVs are hugely popular her in Edmonton and I honestly can’t tell them apart from ‘Benz and Audi SUVs when I see them in traffic. They’ve come an astonishingly long way in 10 years.

  • $45K? Damn…it might be a great car, but I can’t help and think of the other vehicles available at that price point. It’s at, if not approaching, EcoDiesel Grand Cherokee money (maybe not a direct competitor, but a whole lot more vehicle). Kia might make some good cars, but in a world of great cars, I can’t see spending that much money on one…

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