New Kia Sorento trades SUV mold for crossover look

AP News
Posted: Dec 02, 2009 7:10 PM

Kia redesigned its Sorento from a sport utility vehicle to a compact crossover, but managed to do so without sacrificing interior space.

The new Sorento, which made its North American debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show on Wednesday, is about 3.5 inches longer and offers more cabin space than the previous SUV version. It also boasts retractable third-row seats that enable it to accommodate up to seven passengers.

"If you need that occasional seven-passenger use, you have it, and there aren't a lot of vehicles that offer that, so we believe that we have found some nice white space in the market," said Michael Sprague, vice president of marketing for Kia Motors America.

The latest Sorento features a tabbed grille and wraparound headlamps, which gives it a sleeker profile than its predecessors. Among its high-end options are a panoramic sunroof, rearview camera monitor and push-button ignition.

Powering the Sorento is either a 2.4-liter, four-cylinder engine that will get up to 29 miles per gallon, or a slightly less fuel-efficient 3.5-liter V6.

"It means better fuel efficiency, better ride and handling and overall experience for the owner," Sprague said.

The 2011 Sorento will be available Jan. 2 at a starting price below $20,000.