What is it? Although it looks familiar, this revitalized Kia Sorento boasts 80-percent new parts, including chassis and powertrain.
The base engine is a more powerful 191-hp, 2.4-liter four-cylinder, with the step-up being to a 290-hp, 3.3-liter V6. Each is matched to a six-speed automatic transmission. Hydraulic steering has been replaced by an electric system, with three modes for dialing in response. The Sorento continues to be offered in front- or all-wheel drive.
What’s new or notable? The cabin features a redesigned instrument panel with an LCD display and upgraded infotainment system, with the latest version of the company’s UVO telematics services. Other new features count a power liftgate, panoramic sunroof, ventilated front seats, and 115-volt power inverter.
CR’s take: Kia focused much effort on the chassis, increasing the torsional rigidity and improving dynamics. In our last test, we found the Sorento to be responsive, stable, and balanced on our track. While body motions were controlled, the ride felt stiff and jittery. Already a high-scoring vehicle, refinements in ride quality sound promising, as do other changes, making this an SUV to watch.
When will it be available? First quarter 2013.