Orig Published on: Dec 4, 2013 @ 10:18
My Snow White Kia Sorento SX-L loaner from the other week has been very perplexing.
On the one hand, I was downright smitten with the interior quality and materials.
As my first press loan from Kia, I started the week very eager to impress the company's California-based team as well as the executive bosses at HQ in Korea.
But my time with the Sorento was not a love-fest.
With recent driving impressions of the very impressive Ford Explorer Sport and Nissan Pathfinder 4x4 Platinum, the Sorento had competition in the seven-seat crossover category.
A full review is still weeks away, but eager to share the mega galleries in advance as an animation.
This Sorento was seriously posh, and stickered at about $38,000 with the V6 engine and AWD included.
Regretfully, the Kia has major problems as a drivers car. The seat base feels like a bar stool and is not adjustable.
Seating Position is Dreadful
I just could not get comfortable even with the adjustable steering column and a variety of positions to try.
Electronic Power Steering Is Very Odd and Unpredictable
Secondly, the steering is a complete nightmare. Sorry for not mincing words, but it was the worst electronic power steering I have ever experienced.
The weighting of the steering has three settings, adjustable by button on the wheel itself. The leather-wrapped rim is fine, and even comes with heating on this loaded model.
But while the Kia does offer three levels of assistance, they are all downright scary on the roads. A simple right-hand turn at a stop sign or red light becomes a cautious, nervous manuver.
Too much lock, and the car will over-turn and scrape the curb with its wheels.
Too little steering wheel angle, and the Sorento just plows on straight ahead.
Puzzled, I tried all the Kia's switchable steering modes, all the driving techniques I could think up. But at the end of the day: the Kia Sorento is just a floppy nightmare around corners, sadly.
Not Very Speedy even with optional V6, and 4x4 Will Lock Only at Low Speeds
Again, my most sincere respect to the hard-working and smart KIA team - despite this candid assessment.
As a self-described 'expert' driver, for me to have so little trust in the Sorento's steering makes me worry about recommending it to anyone else.
On real-life family safety grounds, is this a recommendable crossover?
Would my sister-in-law be safe driving this in crowded cities with two kids in the back? Perhaps - but there are better-driving options out there, in my opinion.
It is only my desire to present authentic buyer advice that lets me write this review. I wish it were not so, but it is.
The Sorento's steering hurts the entire dynamic appeal of this otherwise very competitive crossover.
It is also too small in the second/third rows, with virtually no luggage space with the seats up. The paint is a nice deep white on this example, but already showed a few bumper nicks and sustained some bumper scratches in the Lowe's parking lot. These scratches were from someone clonking the corner of the Sorento in a failed parking attempt.
I hoped that I'd be able to buff them out before the car went back to Kia, but the paint all came off and was down to black plastic bumper. From what the parking lot guy told me, it was barely a 2-mph nudge.
So, not terrific news for the Kia Sorento. But nothing that cannot be fixed via 10,000 miles of Nurburgring development!
Kia now has a full-time R&D facility on the track, and the 2015 Sedona minivan has been heard screeching around at all hours this summer.
Might help to send the Sorento out for many more handling tweaks as well - but the idea of this wonky power steering on a track is downright alarming to imagine.
This is probably a too harsh or too-honest review, but accurate and authentic reviews are the goal here at Car-Revs-Daily.com....