2015 Kia Sorento SX AWD Road Test

Can the 2015 Kia Sorento take on the competition?

What It Is
A three-row SUV loaded to the gills with standard features.
Best Thing
Smooth ride and good handling.
Worst Thing
The level of refinement and the price don't add up.
Snap Judgment
The 2015 Kia Sorento has its pros and cons.

Kia is trying to break away from its reputation of being a cheap Korean car company, and while it offers a lineup full of features, the level of refinement just isn't there. The 2015 Sorento offers many standard features that would normally be options on other makes, but do feature-heavy vehicles that cost less than the competition make them more desirable? When looking at the likes of the Toyota Highlander or Nissan Pathfinder, there's a bigger price tag and less standard features, but what they do offer is safety, reliability, and a solid reputation. So just how does the 2015 Kia Sorento SX AWD stack up?

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What We Drove

Our 2015 Kia Sorento SX AWD came with a base price of $38,300, and didn't include any other options. Slap on the $805 destination charge and our model came to $39,105. Power came from a 3.3-liter V-6 engine paired with a six-speed automatic transmission with Sportonic. Standard features included automatic climate control, UVO eServices, satellite radio, Bluetooth, heated and ventilated front seats, Blind spot monitoring, and much more.

In government safety tests, the 2015 Kia Sorento earned an overall 5-Star safety rating, thanks to features like an array of standard airbags, front active headrests, traction control, ABS brakes, electronic stability control, and more. While the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has yet to test the new Sorento, the 2014 model earned a Top Safety Pick rating.

The Commute

Sitting in traffic is never our idea of a good time, but with comfortable seats, a good sound system, and an easy-to-use infotainment system, our morning commute was rather enjoyable. The stop and go traffic showed us that the brakes may be lacking a bit, and for an SUV of this size, that's a rather important factor.

Acceleration was slower than expected, but once up to speed, the handling was great and the steering was sharp. Hooking up our phone to Bluetooth took a matter of moments, and we were streaming music and making calls in no time. The steering wheel-mounted controls made it easy to keep our eyes on the road and away from distractions, and when you're in stop-and-go traffic, every little bit helps.

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The Grocery Run

There's not a care in the world when you're heading to the grocery store. The Kia Sorento offers plenty of space for groceries and other necessities with the third row seats folded flat, but with them upright, you'll be hard-pressed to fit a week's worth of groceries for a family of four.

All seats fold easily and lay flat, making it easy to configure seating and cargo space arrangements as needed. Thanks to an eagle eye camera and backup camera, getting in and out of tight parking spaces is no sweat. The eagle eye shows all points around the vehicle, giving you a clear view of how you're lining up and where potential dangers may be.

The Weekend Fun

The 2015 Kia Sorento may not be the choice vehicle for a "fun" weekend car, but if you're headed camping, to the beach, or roadtripping with friends, it's a great option. There's plenty of room for necessities, and thanks to the amount of features it offers, everyone, regardless of where they're sitting, will be comfortable and enjoy the ride.

There wasn't much that gave us pause, aside from the level of refinement, but we wish acceleration and braking were a little better. Steering was stiff and confident, something that we like to see in our vehicles, but the power was just lacking. Other SUVs of this size also have issues with acceleration, but we expected the brakes to be more sturdy, but they left us feeling less than confident.

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At the end of our week, we were left with one thought in our minds. Compromise. The 2015 Kia Sorento came loaded with features that some of its competitors may lack, but the level of refinement just wasn't there. Yes, Kia has been trying to move more upmarket with the likes of the K900, and while it isn't trying to do that with the Sorento, we still expected a nicer finish to the materials and cabin as a whole. And for nearly $40,000, it should be there. But if you're shopping for a solid three-row SUV packed with features, and you can compromise a little on the quality, the 2015 Kia Sorento isn't a bad choice. We'd also recommend you check out the Toyota Highlander or Nissan Pathfinder to get a better understanding of just what's out on the market.

Spec Box

Price-as-tested: $39,105
Fuel Economy
EPA City: 18
EPA Highway: 24
EPA Combined: 20
Cargo Space: 9.1 cubic feet with all seats up/36.9 with rear seats folded/72.5 with second and third row seats folded
Child Seat Fitment, Second Row: Excellent
Child Seat Fitment, Third Row: Good
Estimated Combined Range: 348 miles
Intellichoice Cost of Ownership: N/A

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