2008 Kia Sorento Expert Review

You'll Like The 2008 Kia Sorento If...

If you're looking for an SUV that's bigger than a Honda CR-V but smaller than a Dodge Durango, the 2008 Kia Sorento might suit you perfectly. Its long list of standard equipment, low base price and comfortable ride make it a good choice for the casual off-road warrior or those who keep their driving strictly on the pavement.

You May Not Like The 2008 Kia Sorento If...

Powered by their rear wheels, the two-wheel-drive Sorento models don't offer the level of traction in ice, snow or mud provided by their front-wheel-drive competitors. The two V6 engines perform well but deliver mediocre fuel economy.

What's New

The Sorento LX receives a new 3.3-liter V6 engine good for 242 horsepower and 228 pound-feet of torque. A 3.8-liter V6 remains standard on the EX trim level.

Interior Features

This is a five-passenger vehicle, but we think that, if those passengers are adults, four would be a more comfortable fit. The Sorento's rear seats provide good headroom and legroom and allow for a fairly large cargo area behind them. The interior quality is commendably good, with substantial plastic components, rich textures and plush surfaces. Standard front and rear side-curtain airbags and a driver's knee airbag comprise a worthwhile safety bonus.

Exterior Features

The 2008 Kia Sorento looks sharp and, on appearance alone, could easily be mistaken for a high-end Japanese SUV. The flared wheel arches, high windowsill line and wide side moldings impart a feeling of solidity, while the high ground clearance and optional Torque-On-Demand four-wheel-drive system promise good traction in slippery conditions.

Driving Impressions

On the road, the 2008 Kia Sorento seems as solid and secure as the best SUVs from Japan and the U.S, and the steering feels light but precise and controlled. The Sorento's strong V6 engine offers plenty of low-end torque and highway performance. The five-speed automatic delivers crisp shifts and rarely has to hunt for the proper gear. The Sorento's somewhat soft suspension displays more front-end dive and rear squat than we would prefer during harder acceleration and braking. However, the handling in turns does not seem to be affected in the same way, and the Sorento delivers good cornering ability without excessive lean or body roll.

Pricing Notes

The two-wheel-drive 2008 Kia Sorento LX Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starts around $23,000, the four-wheel-drive Sorento LX stickers close to $25,000 and a fully-loaded EX four-wheel drive tops out around $31,000. Before you buy, be sure to look at the Fair Purchase Price page, which shows the typical price paid for a Sorento in your area. Also click on the Incentives tab to see if you qualify for Kia's additional incentive and rebate programs. The Sorento is expected to hold about the same resale value as its closest competitors, at or just a few percentage points below the values projected for the Jeep Liberty, Hummer H3, Ford Explorer and Nissan Xterra.

Notable Equipment

The LX trim level includes the 3.3-liter V6 engine, a five-speed automatic transmission, air conditioning, four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes (ABS), rear defroster, illuminated entry, remote keyless entry, auto-off headlamps, electronic stability and traction control, dual heated power mirrors, power windows, power locks, AM/FM stereo with MP3-compatible CD player and 10 speakers, front and rear side-curtain airbags, driver's knee airbag, fuel tank skid plate, cruise control, tilt steering wheel, four 12-volt outlets, alloy wheels and a rear wiper and washer. The EX with Luxury Package adds a 3.8-liter V6, fog lights, side cladding, power sunroof, eight-way power driver's seat, heated front seats, leather seating and interior trim, automatic headlamps, 16-inch machined alloy wheels, dual-zone automatic temperature control and full-time four-wheel drive.

Notable Options

Options include Torque-On-Demand full-time four-wheel drive, fog lights, remote start and a rear spoiler. Stand-alone options and accessories include a power moonroof (EX), trailer hitch and side step bars.

Favorite Features

Wide Interior

The Sorento's wide interior provides for a roomy cargo area and offers plenty of shoulder room.

Array of Standard Equipment

For the money, few other SUVs can match the Sorento's array of standard equipment.

Under the Hood

The Sorento's 3.8-liter V6 is a strong engine with good pulling and passing power, and it works particularly well with the five-speed automatic transmission. The new 3.3-liter V6 in the LX reduces weight and cost, but delivers nearly as much power as the larger 3.8-liter. Those who need to tow up to 5,000 pounds, however, will want to opt for the larger engine, as the 3.3-liter is tow rated up to only 3,500 pounds.

3.3-liter V6

242 horsepower @ 6000 rpm

228 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4500 rpm

EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/22 (2WD), 15/22 (4WD)

3.8-liter V6

262 horsepower @ 6000 rpm

260 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4500 rpm

EPA city/highway fuel economy: 15/21 (2WD), 15/20 (4WD)

Editors' Notes

Styled and sized like a modern crossover utility vehicle, Kia's mid-size Sorento SUV retains the rugged body-on-frame construction preferred by off-road enthusiasts and those who need to tow heavier trailers. The Sorento's five-passenger cabin has the look and feel of an upscale SUV, making it as equally adept at shuttling business clients as it is at hauling the kids and family dog. Of course, the Sorento's long list of standard features, a choice of impressively powerful V6 engines, easy-to-swallow low sticker price and Kia's 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty are also big draws. Safety is another area where the Sorento shines, with a five-star government crash-test safety rating, full-length side-curtain airbags and electronic stability control and traction control, all included as standard equipment.

Road Test Video Reviews

2008 Kia Sorento Owner Reviews

There are currently no reviews for this vehicle.