Powertrains and Performance

All Sorento trim levels come standard with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine rated at 175 horsepower and 169 pound-feet of torque. The base model has a six-speed manual transmission, while the others come with a six-speed automatic. Front-wheel drive is standard across the board, while LX and EX models are eligible for all-wheel drive. The AWD system comes with a locking center differential to improve low-speed traction in icy or off-road situations.

In our performance testing, the four-cylinder brought a Sorento EX from zero to 60 mph in a leisurely 9.9 seconds -- one of the slower times in the class. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 21 mpg city/29 mpg highway and 24 mpg combined with the front-wheel-drive automatic. It is 21/27/23 with AWD.

Optional is a 3.5-liter V6 rated at 276 hp and 248 lb-ft of torque; it comes only with the six-speed automatic and gets the Sorento from zero to 60 mph in an impressive 7.4 seconds, which is one of the quicker times in the class. Fuel economy stands at 20/26/22 with front-wheel drive and 19/25/21 with AWD.

Safety

The 2011 Kia Sorento comes standard with antilock disc brakes, stability control, hill-start assist, hill descent control, front-seat side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags and front active head restraints. In Edmunds brake testing, both four- and six-cylinder Sorentos came to a stop from 60 mph in 120 feet, which is very good for this class.

In the government's new, more strenuous crash testing for 2011, the Sorento earned an overall rating of four stars out of a possible five, with four stars for overall frontal crash protection and four stars for overall side crash protection. The Sorento earned a top score of "Good" for its performance in the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's frontal-offset, side-impact and roof-strength crash tests.

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