The Kia Sorento is classified as a mid-size crossover SUV which started production in 2002 by South Korean carmaker Kia. The first generation of the Sorento, manufactured from 2002 to 2009, had a more traditional body style and design. This vehicle was capable of being used off-road and had a 4-wheel drive system which featured low range gearing. There was also a sports package available for the LX base model version of this crossover which came with a 5-speed manual transmission as well as allow wheels, step bars, fog lamps, remote keyless entry, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel.
The Sorento in its first generation had two different transmission options when it first came out, including a 5-speed manual or a 4/5-speed automatic transmission. These vehicles all come equipped with a Hyundai-manufactured 3.5 liter 24-valve DOHC V6 which is capable of producing up to 192 horsepower at 5500 rpm and 217 pound-feet of torque. Some of the more common features of the Sorento family include optional anti-lock braking, 4-wheel disc brakes, a 21.1-gallon fuel tank, and more. There is also a feature on this vehicle that helps to save the battery by turning off the lights, even if they are left on by accident.
In 2007 the Sorento received quite a few different upgrades, including the transmission which went from the 3.5 liter Sigma to the 3.8 liter Lambda which nearly doubled this vehicle’s towing ability as well as boosting horsepower from 192 to 262. There were also projector beams added in the head lamps as well as new tail lamps. The 5-speed manual transmission on this vehicle can no longer be purchased and the 5-speed Sportmatic tip-tronic automatic transmission comes standard with all of the different trims. The Kia Sorento also earned a 5-star safety rating in 2007, which is the highest posting rating, and it was mostly due to all of the safety features the vehicle has.
In 2009 the Kia Sorento got another facelift which included a new grille and it went on sale in August of 2008 in Canada. The facelifted version of this vehicle for 2009 was not sold in the U.S until April of that year. The second and current generation of this vehicle first launched in South Korea in 2009 and was given the codename “XMA” during production. This is Kia’s very first model to be manufactured in the United States. This vehicle was produced in the West Point Kia factory in Georgia.
The 4-cylinder model of the Sorento came back into the lineup after being gone from 2007-2010. There was a preview of this vehicle shown to the public at the New York Auto Show in 2009. When this vehicle was unveiled, it was discovered that it used a unibody design, which was definitely different from what it had used in the past. The suspension on this vehicle is completely independent and the engine is transverse.
The Kia Sorento became available in three different models as of January 2011, including the LX, EX, and the higher end SX models. The Euro NCAP as well as the ANCAP both awarded the XM Sorento the “Top Safety Pick” award from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety because of all the safety features it has to offer. The Sorento was updated in 2012 with quite a few different features, including a 3.3 liter engine, a 2.4 liter GDI 4-cylinder engine, a 6-speed automatic transmission, optional strut-tower brace to increase chassis stiffness, redesigned front and rear fascias, redesigned instrument panel, and much more. This vehicle has undergone a lot of changes in the past few years and continues to be a very popular Kia vehicle in the U.S and abroad.