2007 Kia Sorento Performance

$2,954 - $4,040

2007 Kia Sorento Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2007 Kia Sorento was new.


Performance: 6.9

The 2007 Kia Sorento offers good acceleration for its class, but most reviewers found the ride uncomfortable. Edmunds writes that the car delivers an "overly rough ride on bumps and cracks."

Reviewers agree the 2007 Kia Sorento is a fun and sporty vehicle. BusinessWeek notes that "in performance terms, the '07 is much improved over previous Sorentos." Kelley Blue Book says the Sorento seems "as solid and secure as the best SUVs from Japan and the U.S." However, many reviewers gripe that it offers a rough ride. Consumer Guide calls it "stiff and jiggly over modest road imperfections." However, Edmunds says for limited recreational excursions, the 2007 Kia Sorento is "a fine choice."

Auto reviewers consistently praised the Sorento's off-road prowess. The ute's bigger engine -- 36 percent more powerful than previous models -- offers "a significant improvement over the previous-generation engine's disappointing acceleration," according to Edmunds, and gives the Sorento a 5,000-pound towing capacity. But despite thr bigger engine, Kelley Blue Book complains that "the two-wheel drive Sorento models don't offer the level of traction in ice, snow or mud" that their four-wheel-drive competitors provide.

Acceleration and Power

The 2007 Kia Sorento boasts a dual overhead camshaft 3.8-liter V6 engine that is 36 percent more powerful than the previous engine, boosting Sorento's towing capacity from 3,500 to 5,000 pounds. That means Sorento beats the V6 Toyota RAV4 and Highlander (both 3,500 pounds) and runs a close second to the Ford Explorer (5,210 pounds).

The new engine generates 262 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque, which Cars.com calls "a healthy gain" over the previous 3.5-liter V-6's 192 horsepower and 217 pound-feet of torque. With an additional 70 horsepower, the Sorento achieves better fuel economy than previous models, but Edmunds still refers to its gas mileage as "so-so" and Kelley Blue Book calls it "mediocre." The Sorento gets an Environmental Protection Agency-estimated 15 miles per gallon in the city and 21 miles per gallon on the highway. BusinessWeek warns that "The vehicle's low price right now will be offset by higher fuel costs over time, especially if gasoline prices continue to soar."

If you're looking for speed, most reviewers feel that the Sorento's a good option. Test drivers in manual mode managed 0-to-60 mile-per-hour runs in 7.1 seconds, which, according to BusinessWeek "is much speedier than most family SUVs." Push the pedal to the floor and the transmission shifts on its own when the engine starts to redline, similar to a BMW (and unlike some Japanese models that back off the power instead). BusinessWeek comments that the engine "has a definite throb" upon hard acceleration, and Kelley Blue Book praises its "crisp shifts."

Kia discontinued the model's five-speed manual, leaving a five-speed automatic as the sole transmission. Drivers who like to do their own shifting can choose a manual shift mode, something BusinessWeek claims "adds to the fun of driving" the SUV. Kelley Blue Book reports that the five-speed automatic "delivers crisp shifts and rarely has to hunt for the proper gear."

Handling and Braking

Overall, reviewers praised the 2007 Kia Sorento's handling, although it takes hits on comfort and steering. "Body roll is minimal around corners," according to Edmunds, and many reviewers agree that cornering performance is good. Rear-wheel drive is standard, and two types of four-wheel drive are available. Consumer Guide recommends the optional 4WD for its "all-surface convenience," and Velocity Journal credits its "gravel road prowess."

Previously optional, anti-lock brakes are now standard on the Kia Sorento, as is new-this-year antiskid control. Consumer Guide mentions the brakes offer "good stopping control." Reviewers agree that the Sorento's soft suspension displays more front-end dive and rear squat than is comfortable during harder acceleration and braking.

As a truck-based SUV, the Sorento uses body-on-frame construction. This design (versus a car-based SUV) is necessary for off-road driving, but Edmunds says, "the ride tends to be less smooth and doesn't offer the same refinement as other small SUVs." Reviewers agree that the ladder-frame Sorento is "stiff" and Consumer Guide calls the handling "clumsy though ultimately secure" and says "larger bumps and sharp-edge ruts can jolt."

Steering gets mixed marks among reviewers. Kelley Blue Book calls it "light but precise and controlled." However, BusinessWeek disagrees, saying the steering was "too loose for a vehicle this quick and sporty," and Car and Driver calls it "over-assisted."

Four Wheel Drive

The Sorento offers available Torque-On-Demand 4WD in the EX model with luxury package, an optional four-wheel drive with a conventional two-speed transfer case that reviewers recommend for serious off-road traveling. It's an all-wheel-drive system that, when the vehicle senses its wheels slipping, transfers power between the front and rear wheels.

With the part-time 4WD in place, reviewers agree the Sorento has reasonable off-road capability.  Kelley Blue Book calls it "a good choice for the casual off-road warrior." But Edmunds warns that it's not "truly as capable off-road as competitors like the Nissan Xterra or Toyota FJ Cruiser" and says it's best suited to "limited recreational excursions."

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