Introduction

Let's just get to the point here: The 2007 Kia Sorento is a great choice if you're shopping for a midsize SUV with available four-wheel drive and towing capabilities. For fewer than $25,000, you can get a nicely equipped, attractively styled sport-utility vehicle with a powerful V6 engine, real off-road prowess and important standard safety features.

This year's Sorento improves on the previous year's model by offering a host of redesigns and upgrades to an already impressive package. A new 3.8-liter V6 engine replaces the old one, and now produces 262 horsepower, which is 36 percent more than before. This allows for a 5,000-pound towing capacity in both two- and four-wheel-drive modes. To identify the updated Sorento, look for its subtle exterior refinements, including redesigned front headlamps, a revised grille, new bumpers and redesigned taillamps. Inside there's a new instrument panel design and updated and improved interior materials.

The Sorento is a truck-based SUV, meaning that it employs body-on-frame construction, versus a car-based SUV. While this is great for rugged characteristics and necessary for off-road driving, the ride tends to be less smooth and doesn't offer the same refinement as other small SUVs like the Ford Escape or Honda CR-V. Nor is the Sorento truly as capable off-road as competitors like the Nissan Xterra or Toyota FJ Cruiser. But as an all-around vehicle that's well-equipped, affordable and ready for at least limited recreational excursions, the 2007 Kia Sorento is a fine choice.

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