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2011 Kia Sorento Review

MPG-o-Matic 2011 Kia Sorento SX Review Summary:
The top-of-the-line 2011 Kia Sorento SX delivers a remarkable amount of bang for the buck. Competitors in the three-row crossover segment may have a tough time matching the Sportage SX feature-for-feature, without enduring the sticker bloat of option packages.



The 2011 Kia Sorento SX is equipped with a 3.5 liter DOHC CVVT V6 engine producing 276 horsepower (HP) and 248 foot pounds of torque, and is available in both front-wheel- (FWD) and all-wheel-drive (AWD). A 2.4-liter inline four cylinder engine producing 175 HP and 169 foot pounds of torque is available in the Base, LX, and EX models. All 2011 Sorentos are fitted with a six-speed automatic transmission, with the exception of the Base model, which is equipped with a six-speed manual with overdrive.


The official fuel economy estimates for the top-of-the-line 3.5-liter V6 2011 Kia Sorento SX are 20 city / 26 highway miles per gallon (MPG) with FWD and 18 city / 24 highway with AWD. Inline four-equipped LX and EX Sorentos are rated at 21 city / 29 highway with FWD and 21 city / 27 highway with AWD.

We covered more than 300 miles in our FWD Dark Cherry Sorento SX review unit and met the official mileage estimates, with an average of 26.7 MPG on the Interstate highway and 22.3 MPG combined. The majority of testing was performed in Eco Driving mode. Temperatures ranged from the low-twenties through the mid-forties, with Interstate highway testing temperatures in the mid-thirties. The test vehicle was delivered with less than 2500 miles on the odometer.

The 2011 Sorento SX is equipped with mirror-finish 18-inch alloy wheels clad with P235/60R18 Kuhmo Solus KL21 tires. The base and LX models are fitted with 235/65R17 tires.

Interstate Mileage Testing:

  • Cruise control set to 68 MPH, A/C off, windows up: 26.2 MPG
  • Cruise control off, target speed 60-72 MPH, A/C off, windows up: 27.2 MPG

For a three row crossover, the V6 Sorento is surprisingly fast. Mom just might make it to soccer practice in time.

Highway driving range is good … if you can keep your foot out of it. The Sorento is fitted with a 18 gallon fuel tank, and is designed to run regular unleaded fuel.

Curb Weight: The 2011 Sorento SX V6 FWD weighs in at 3,896 pounds.
Towing Capacity: 3500 pounds.

The Sorento is equipped with four wheel anti-lock (ABS) brakes, Electronic Stability Control (ESC), Traction Control (TCS), and Downhill Brake/Hill Assist Control (DBC/HAC). All models are fitted with 11.8 front (vented) rotors and 11.9 rear (solid) rotors.

Light-footed drivers will make use of the Sorento’s ECOMINDER Indicator and average fuel economy display.

Overall, we found the Sorento to be well mannered out on the road.

For those times when Mom’s feeling especially sporty, she can indulge herself with the automatic transmission’s slap-stick Sportmatic manual mode.

The Sorento SX’s interior features leather seat trim in the first and second rows and one-level heated front buckets. The driver’s seat provides eight-way power adjustment and two-way power lumbar.

The HVAC system features two-zones in the front seat, with ventilation in all three rows.

The top-of-the-line Sorento SX is packed with technology as standard features, including: a leather-wrapped steering wheel with integrated controls, a ten-speaker Infinity surround sound audio system with SIRUS satellite radio, real-time traffic, voice navigation, hands-free Bluetooth, a rear-view backup camera, and full iPod integration with access to playlists from the LCD touch screen. The Bluetooth system allows for phone book downloads and streaming media.

There’s a twelve-volt outlet at the back of the center console (in the second row) and two at the base of the dash, along with USB iPod and auxiliary audio inputs.

Our test unit was equipped with just one option: the panoramic sunroof.

The flexible cargo area provides 9.1 cubic feet of storage behind the third row seats, 37 cubic feet of storage with the third row down, and 72.5 cubic feet of storage with both the second (60/40) and third (50/50) row down.

An adjustable seatback makes second row seating quite comfortable. There are 39.2 inches of middle row head room and 37.6 inches of middle row leg room. As with many three row SUVs and crossovers, things get tighter in the way back, with the third row providing 36.6 inches of headroom and just 31.3 inches of leg room.

All-in-all, the Kia Sorento SX delivers a lot of bang for the buck, as it packs in a host of features at a very reasonable price. Be sure to compare this one to the three-row Toyota Highlander and Honda Pilot.

Parts Content Information:
U.S./Canadian Parts Content: 60%
Major Sources of Foreign Parts Content:
Korea: 40%
Final Assembly Point: USA
Engine: USA
Transmission: USA

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2 comments ↓

#1 dan on 03.24.11 at 11:32 pm

Recently purchased a fully loaded Sorento SX and I’m really enjoying it. The V6 engine has alot of pep to it, and is very responsive. The suspension is a bit tight and I can feel the bumps on the road, but the car feels so solid and under control, that I’m quickly getting comfortable to the ride. The third row has really come in handly with the kids. The nav/entertainment system is great. Bluetooth for my phone as well, and all voice activated. Feels like a new toy. I compared the sorento to other vehicles in it’s class, and the sorento just fit my needs the best. Dealer came down to around $30,000 on the price and I couldn’t pass it up.

#2 Dyanne on 11.04.12 at 1:12 am

My family traded in our really, really old 1993 Mercury Villager for a 2011 Kia Sorento, and we were really surprised at how much we could get for the price. The ride could be less bumpy, but the only problem I really have with it is the low mpg. We have the EX 4-cylinder model, which claims to get 21/29 mpg, but it’s usually stuck at 17-19 mpg, and it’s a real struggle to get it into the mid twenties. And this is with a liberal amount of eco driving. The car overall is great, but I’m really disappointed with the fuel economy, and unfortunately, it’s not listed as a model where Kia overstated its fuel economy (which it should be).

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