Driving Impressions

With either V6 under the hood, the 2009 Kia Sorento has plenty of power for both city traffic and swift highway cruising. The suspension provides a pleasant ride and adequate handling on smooth pavement, but when the road gets rough, the ride gets bouncy, with a good deal of the bumps transmitted directly into the cabin. The Sorento's brakes might also be a cause for concern; in previous testing, we noticed significant brake fade after just two panic stops from 60 mph. Drivers who plan on any traversing of mountainous roads should keep this in mind.

The Sorento's steering feel, however, is satisfying and there's a minimum of body roll when cornering. Thanks to the Sorento's low-range transfer case and truck-based origins, off-road excursions can be tackled with relative ease, but the Sorento's capabilities still fall short of those possessed by more competent vehicles like the Xterra and FJ Cruiser.

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    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 othe ...