When it comes to cars, I can be a bit superficial. I’m often drawn to their looks before anything else. Naturally, when I saw that the newest model of the usually unattractive Kia had finally begun looking better, I was interested in a test drive.
The Sorento is Kia’s mid-sized “Crossover Utility Vehicle” or “CUV.” I promptly arrived at the dealership feeling excited, anxious and nervous as if it were a first date. What if I didn’t like it? Then again, what if I fell in love? I began with speed dating. The sales rep took me around and showed me the different versions of the Sorento. Then he told me that every model, including the base, comes with all electronic options standard. This means that each model has auxiliary input, satellite radio and Bluetooth. We went and examined the different interiors, which were complete with amazing sunroofs as well as the choice between a third row of seats and a trunk compartment area.
The sales rep described the differences between the two types of engines and the option of all wheel drive as opposed to two-wheel drive.
In order to really get to know a car, you have to spend some time with it, so we took the base model for a ride. This car has a 2.4-liter inline 4-cylinder engine with 175 brake horsepower. I felt that this was just enough. It seemed powerful, yet at the same time, I didn’t get overly excited. This car would probably keep me out of trouble.
Next, I tried the Sorento with the 3.5 liter V-6 engine, which I found out has 276 brake horsepower. Yes, that’s right, a Kia with 276 brake horsepower. We took to the streets, and I could already feel the power. The CUV actually put me back in my seat a bit when I’d pressed the gas down. Its brakes were well-adjusted and seemed capable of taming this beast of an engine. We then hit the highway, where I deemed it necessary to use the tiptronic clutch-less transmission and drive like an angry teenager. I was at home, flying through gears and putting all 276 horses to work. This was as much fun as driving the Infiniti FX, which I’d driven some time ago. Granted, the Sorento isn’t as brash or noisy as an FX.
For those of you who don’t know what a tiptronic or shifttronic transmission is, I will explain. The car is still automatic, yet the driver is capable of selecting the gear. So if you want to gear down for a corner, you can, regardless of the fact that it’s an automatic transmission. However, what blew me away more than the standard electronics options and the 10-year power train warranty was the quick response time of the transmission when I shifted up or down a gear. It was nearly instantaneous. In comparison, Mercedes E-Class cars seem to take years to shift. You select a new gear and wait. You can check your watch to see the time, and it seems that the date changes before your gear.
Just when I thought I’d found my match in this car, I was introduced to the SX, or sport version. It has the same V6 276 brake horsepower engine, but with SAT/NAV and a sport tuned suspension as well. This was a forbidden kind of love. I hit over 90 mph on the highway in some short amount of time (I was having too much fun to care about time). I was able to power-shift in a Kia with an automatic transmission! I even felt bold enough to cut-off a Mini Cooper! I thought, “Yes, you pretentious fool! You’ve been cut off by a Kia!”
In the end, the SX and I should probably never commit to a relationship because I’d get into too much trouble with the law. However, I think I would be just as happy in the less expensive LX version or possibly the EX, since either version comes with the V6. I was surprised that the Kia was not only good looking, but fun, powerful and exciting, too. The only thing that would normally bother me is the fact that it’s a Kia, but I like driving it too much to let that stop me.