You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

2015 Kia Sorento REVIEW logo 4/4/2017

Con: Standard four-cylinder engine's mediocre acceleration and fuel economy; typically more expensive than a small crossover.

Interior: Even in its base trim level, the 2015 Kia Sorento boasts a generous offering of standard features. The quality of cabin materials is acceptable, though it can seem as if there's a bit too much hard plastic if you've sprung for the pricey SX or SX-L. The 8-inch touchscreen boasts an intuitive menu structure, sharp graphics and a secondary control knob that all together make for one of the most user-friendly tech interfaces on the market. The gauge cluster can also feature an optional large LCD that digitally replicates an analog speedometer and provides additional trip computer information.

Front passengers will enjoy a commanding view of the road ahead and seats that are comfortable and supportive. Adult passengers will likely find plenty of headroom and legroom in the second row as well. But the optional third-row seats are suitable for children only. Accessing the third row is also a bit tricky. Cargo space is on the generous side compared with that of compact crossovers, with 36.9 cubic feet available behind the middle row of seats. Folding those away expands that space to 72.5 cubes. But dedicated three-row crossovers are notably roomier.

Body: The 2015 Kia Sorento comes highly recommended to consumers shopping for a small or midsize crossover SUV with a third-row seat, thanks to its well-mannered driving characteristics, roomy interior and generous standard and optional features. We like the 2015 Kia Sorento, but we recommend getting the V6 instead of the standard four-cylinder engine.

Standard LX features include 17-inch alloy wheels, air-conditioning, full power accessories, 40/20/40-split-folding rear seats, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity and a six-speaker sound system with a CD player, satellite radio and USB/auxiliary audio jacks. The LX V6 adds the V6 engine, roof rails and a third-row seat.

To the LX, the EX adds 18-inch wheels, automatic headlights, foglights, a rear spoiler, roof rails, keyless ignition and entry, adjustable steering assist, rear parking sensors, dual-zone automatic climate control, rear air-conditioning, leather upholstery, heated front seats, an eight-way power driver seat (with power lumbar support), a four-way power passenger seat, a third-row seat, ambient interior lighting, an enhanced gauge cluster, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, rear-seat sunshades, Kia's Uvo telematics system and a rearview camera.

Optional on the EX is the Touring package, which adds a power liftgate, a panoramic sunroof, a blind-spot monitoring system, driver memory settings, ventilated front seats, an 8-inch touchscreen display, a navigation system and a 10-speaker Infinity surround-sound system.

The Sorento SX receives the contents of the Touring package as well as 19-inch wheels and LED taillights. The SX-L (the Limited) tops it off with chrome wheels, xenon headlights, a heated and wood-trimmed steering wheel, heated rear seats and upgraded leather upholstery.

Driving: Most drivers will find that the 2015 Kia Sorento feels a bit underpowered with the base four-cylinder engine. Considering the four's negligible fuel economy advantage, upgrading to the V6 engine is well worth it if your budget allows. The V6 is smooth and provides plenty of power for passing and merging, though it can get a bit loud at higher rpm. The smooth six-speed automatic is hard to fault with its smooth and timely gearchanges.

While cruising at highway speeds, the Sorento is exceptionally quiet, with a minimum of road noise. For the most part, we also like the way it rides, as the suspension soaks up most bumps with ease. Really harsh impacts, however, such as deeper potholes and buckled pavement, can send a jolt through the cabin. Handling is similarly mostly good until the Sorento is faced with more extreme circumstances. Around turns, the Kia's handling is far from sporty, but most drivers should find it sure-footed enough for a family vehicle. When navigating the confines of a parking lot, the big Kia feels smaller than it really is and in general it's quite a bit more maneuverable than larger seven-passenger SUVs.

What’s New: Apart from a minor shuffling of features, the 2015 Kia Sorento carries over essentially unchanged.

The 2015 Kia Sorento is offered with two engine choices. The base engine for the LX is a 2.4-liter four-cylinder that produces 191 horsepower and 181 pound-feet of torque. Optional on the LX and standard on all others is a 3.3-liter V6 that makes 290 hp and 252 lb-ft of torque. All Sorentos come with a six-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard, and all-wheel drive is available as an option.

In Edmunds performance testing, an AWD V6 Sorento accelerated from a standstill to 60 mph in 7.5 seconds, which is a quick time for this class.

The EPA estimates fuel economy for the front-wheel-drive four-cylinder Sorento at 23 mpg combined (20 city/27 highway), and 22 mpg combined (19/25) for the AWD version. These are underwhelming numbers compared with those of small crossovers, though those vehicles are smaller and lighter. Fuel economy for the V6 is average at 21 mpg combined (18/25) for the front-drive model and 20 mpg combined (18/24) with AWD.

Safety: Standard safety features for all 2015 Kia Sorento models include antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, hill start assist, front-seat side airbags, side curtain airbags for the first two rows and active front headrests. A rearview camera and rear parking sensors are standard on all EX and SX models and optional on the LX. The same is true for the Uvo telematics system; its safety features include roadside assistance, collision notification and restrictions and tracking for secondary drivers. A blind-spot monitoring system is standard on SX models and optional on the EX.

In Edmunds brake testing, the V6 AWD model came to a stop from 60 mph in 126 feet, about average for a midsize SUV.

In government crash tests, the Kia Sorento earned a perfect five-star overall rating, along with five-star ratings for its performance in front- and side-impact crash protection. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety rated the 2015 Sorento with its top score of "Good" for moderate-overlap frontal-impact, side-impact, roof-strength and whiplash reduction (seats and head restraints) tests. In the agency's small-overlap frontal-offset impact test, however, the 2015 Sorento received the lowest score of "Poor."

Pro: Plentiful standard and optional features; quiet and comfortable ride; superior tech interface; powerful V6; available third-row seat; lengthy warranty.

Edmunds Say: The 2015 Kia Sorento comes highly recommended to consumers shopping for a small or midsize crossover SUV with a third-row seat, thanks to its well-mannered driving characteristics, roomy interior and generous standard and optional features. We like the 2015 Kia Sorento, but we recommend getting the V6 instead of the standard four-cylinder engine.

Introduction: After last year's significant but essentially under-the-skin "redesign," the Kia Sorento carries over for 2015 and as such it remains a solid pick in its class. Actually, stating "class" may be inaccurate, given that the Sorento straddles the line between compact and midsize crossovers, comparing directly to neither. This Kia offers a few key features -- namely available V6 power and a third-row seat -- not typically offered on the compacts while still not being as large and unwieldy as traditional midsizers. That combination could be the happy medium that satisfies families looking to get maximum bang for their crossover buck.

In addition to its endearing duality, the Kia Sorento also earns points for its solid build quality, comfortable ride, generous standard features (even the midgrade EX comes with leather upholstery and heated front seats) and user-friendly electronic interfaces. But now that Kia has established itself as a maker of quality vehicles, its former "Hook 'em with bargain pricing" strategy isn't really in play anymore. When new, the base LX starts attractively enough in the mid-$20,000 range, but the upper trim levels with the V6 can approach a rather eye-opening $40K.

Certainly, there are a lot of great choices in this price range. The equally impressive Hyundai Santa Fe comes to mind, and its third-row seat is roomier than the Sorento's. You could also check out the bigger Dodge Durango, the similarly sized (but lacking a third-row option) 2015 Ford Edge or top compact crossovers like the Honda CR-V. Overall, though, we think the 2015 Kia Sorento, which earns an overall Edmunds "B" rating, deserves a spot on your consideration list, especially if you need a reasonably sized crossover SUV that can seat seven in a pinch.


image beaconimage beaconimage beacon