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2016 Kia Sorento Review

The 2016 Kia Sorento claims a spot in the top half of our midsize SUV rankings. It has a handsome cabin, intuitive infotainment controls, a long list of optional safety features, a great safety score, and potent available engines.

Pros & Cons

  • Composed handling
  • High-end cabin
  • Peppy available engines
  • Plenty of available safety features
  • Underwhelming base engine

Rankings & Awards

The 2016 Kia Sorento's #8 ranking is based on its score within the 2016 Affordable Midsize SUVs category. It was a finalist for our 2016 Best 3-Row SUV for the Money award and a finalist for our 2015 Best 3-Row SUV for Families award and a finalist for our 2016 Best 3-Row SUV for Families award. Currently the Kia Sorento has a score of 8.1 out of 10, which is based on our evaluation of 19 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.




Critics' Rating: 8.2
Performance: 7.2
Interior: 7.9
Total Cost of Ownership: 8.7
Safety: 9.8
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2016 Kia Sorento Overview

Is the 2016 Kia Sorento a Good Used SUV?

The Kia Sorento is a good used midsize SUV. It earned some of the best safety ratings in the class, and it strikes a good balance between composed handling and a comfortable ride. The Sorento's cabin is full of premium, soft-touch materials, and it has two rows of spacious seats, with the option to add a third row. Ownership costs are a bit below average for the segment, which is good for value seekers. However, it’s best to stay away from this Kia's sluggish base engine.

Why You Can Trust Us

We analyzed 19 Kia Sorento reviews and included information on safety, reliability, fuel economy, and more to give you a comprehensive overview of the 2016 Sorento.

U.S. News & World Report has been ranking vehicles since 2007, and our Best Cars team has more than 75 years of combined experience in the automotive industry. To ensure our impartiality, we don’t accept expensive gifts or trips from carmakers or dealers, and an outside team handles our site’s advertising.

How Much Is the 2016 Kia Sorento?

Based on the nearly 1,700 2016 Kia Sorento listings on our site, you can expect to pay between $16,000 and $29,500 for a used 2016 Sorento. The average list price on our site is $21,200. Prices vary depending on the vehicle's condition, mileage, features, and location.

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How Much Does the 2016 Kia Sorento Cost to Own?

The cost of owning a vehicle goes far beyond the sticker price. Estimated five-year costs for gas, insurance, maintenance, and repairs for the 2016 Sorento are about $24,200, which is a little less than you’ll find for most 2016 affordable midsize SUVs. The 2016 Chevrolet Traverse will cost you an estimated $26,300 over five years, the 2016 Buick Enclave around $27,600, and the 2016 Hyundai Santa Fe roughly $24,250.

Is It Better to Buy a Used or New Sorento?

With an average list price of $21,200, a used 2016 Kia Sorento will save you around $4,700 compared with the starting price of a new 2018 Kia Sorento. Both models feature the same engines – including the same base four-cylinder. It's possible, however, to find a used 2016 Sorento with a V6 engine for significantly less than you can get a new Sorento with a V6.

A new Sorento offers some available features that the used model doesn't, including Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, adaptive headlights, and automatic emergency breaking. These features are nice to have, but their price – $3,200 on top of the 2018’s starting price – may be too much for many shoppers.

The 2016 Sorento is a significantly better deal – even if it doesn’t have Apple CarPlay. The only potential downside? You don’t get the benefit of the 2018’s new-car warranty.

Read about the new Kia Sorento »

Compared with the 2016 Kia Sorento, the 2018 model isn’t a good deal, but if you’re willing to step down a class in size, there are some new compact SUVs to consider. Several new 2-row options start at less than $24,050, including the 2018 Hyundai Tucson and Honda CR-V. Both SUVs are fun to drive and earn good safety scores, and the CR-V is competitive with the Sorento in terms of cargo space. If you want a third row, you should stick to a used midsize SUV like the 2016 Honda Pilot or 2016 Toyota Highlander.

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How Reliable Is the 2016 Kia Sorento?

The 2016 Sorento has a reliability rating of 3.5 out of five, which is above average for the industry but slightly lower than the reliability rating of other top-ranked midsize SUVs, including the Chevy Traverse, Buick Enclave, and Hyundai Santa Fe.

Read more about Sorento reliability »

2016 Kia Sorento Recalls

At the time of this writing, there are six safety recalls for the 2016 Kia Sorento. They involve trouble with acceleration (due to a mechanical issue with the gas pedal), a front passenger seat belt that may not latch, an inadequately welded driver's seatback frame, rear cross member weld fractures, trailer brake lights that remain illuminated, and a fuel leak that may increase the risk of a fire. Make sure these recalls have been addressed before buying a used Sorento.

See more information on Kia Sorento safety recalls »

Which Model Year of the Kia Sorento Is Best?

The 2016 Kia Sorento was a complete redesign and launched a new generation. The 2017 Sorento added available Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as various active safety features. The 2018 model offers no additional upgrades over the 2017 model. They’re all good SUVs, but the 2016 model offers you almost as much as the two more recent models and costs considerably less.

If you’re on a budget, you might consider a Sorento from the 2013 through 2015 model years. While none of these models do as well in our rankings as the 2016 and later models, they all rank midclass. Avoid the 2013 Sorento and its mediocre base engine. Instead, look at the 2014 and 2015 models, which have a better four-cylinder. They don’t have the handling or poise of 2016 and later models, but they’re relatively quiet and smooth riding.

Compare the 2016, 2017, and 2018 Sorento »

Which Used Kia Sorento Model Is Right for Me?

If you’re looking for a five-seater, the Sorento EX is the best trim choice. It comes with a 240-horsepower, turbocharged four-cylinder engine that has more power than the base four-cylinder and nearly the same fuel economy estimates. The EX also has many standard features, including dual-zone automatic climate control, Kia's UVO infotainment system, and leather seats. The SX Limited trim adds appealing features like a 14-way power-adjustable driver's seat, a 110-volt outlet, navigation, and a 10-speaker stereo. If you need seating for seven, you’ll have to buy the LX AWD.

See 2016 Kia Sorento specs and trims »

What Does Kia's Certified Pre-Owned Warranty Cover?

Kia offers a certified pre-owned program for vehicles five years old or less and with fewer than 60,000 miles. Eligibility is determined by the vehicle’s initial sale date. Kia’s certified pre-owned vehicles receive the balance of the original 10-year/100,000-mile new-car powertrain warranty as well as a one-year/12,000-mile comprehensive Platinum warranty on non-powertrain parts. Every CPO Kia must pass a 164-point inspection. Additional benefits like towing and roadside assistance may be available, so read the Kia warranty page carefully.

According to our analysis, Kia has one of the best CPO programs among affordable car manufacturers.

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How Safe Is the Sorento?

The 2016 Sorento's safety scores are among the highest in the midsize SUV class. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety named the Sorento a 2016 Top Safety Pick, giving it the highest rating of Good in five crash tests. However, the IIHS gave models equipped with forward collision warning the lowest rating of Basic for front crash prevention, and the Sorento received the lowest rating of Poor for how well its headlights illuminate the road ahead.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the 2016 Sorento an overall rating of five out of five stars, with five stars in the frontal and side crash tests and four stars in the rollover test. Overall, the 2016 Sorento scores better on safety than top-ranked used 3-row SUVs like the 2016 Toyota Highlander and 2016 Honda Pilot.

Available driver assistance features in the Sorento include forward collision warning, adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring with lane change assist, and rear cross traffic alert. If navigating an SUV through parking lots is a challenge for you, look for models with the available rearview camera and rear parking sensors or the 360-degree parking camera system.

See Sorento safety scores »

2016 Kia Sorento Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: 2016 Kia Sorento or 2016 Toyota Highlander?

The three-row Toyota Highlander stands neck and neck with the Kia Sorento in our rankings. Both vehicles have comfortable rides, composed handling, and available V6 power. Additionally, each SUV earns good safety and reliability ratings. The Toyota touts a higher maximum cargo capacity than the Sorento, and a rearview camera comes standard in the Highlander. However, the Sorento costs around $12,000 less than the Highlander, on average.

Which Is Better: 2016 Kia Sorento or 2016 Hyundai Santa Fe?

The Hyundai Santa Fe has a lot in common with the Kia Sorento, and they share some components. Both feature surefooted handling, strong optional engines, and straightforward cabin tech. The Santa Fe Sport comes standard with seating for five, but the larger Santa Fe has a third row that bumps capacity up to seven (though this row is small, like that of the Sorento). However, the Hyundai costs around $1,500 less on average, which makes it more appealing to some shoppers.

Compare the Sorento, Highlander, and Santa Fe »

2016 Sorento Performance

How Does the 2016 Kia Sorento Drive?

The 2016 Sorento has three available engines: the base 185-horsepower four-cylinder; a 240-horsepower, turbocharged four-cylinder; and a 290-horsepower V6. All engines are paired with a six-speed automatic transmission.

The Kia Sorento feels a little underpowered with the base engine. The V6 has ample power, but many prefer the turbocharged four-cylinder, which provides plenty of power in most situations and operates smoothly, with minimal turbo lag. The transmission shifts seamlessly.

The 2016 Sorento comes with standard front-wheel drive or available all-wheel drive. The Sorento has controlled handling and rides comfortably. The steering is responsive and provides a good amount of feedback to the driver. The Sorento feels more maneuverable than some rivals.

Does the 2016 Kia Sorento Get Good Gas Mileage?

Fuel economy on the 2016 Kia Sorento ranges from 17 mpg in the city and 23 mpg on the highway with the V6 engine and AWD to 21 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway with the front-wheel-drive four-cylinder Sorento. The Honda Pilot comes standard with a V6 and gets slightly worse gas mileage: 19/27 mpg city/highway. The Chevy Traverse, however, falls well behind at 15/22 mpg.

2016 Kia Sorento Towing Capacity

The Kia Sorento can tow up to 5,000 pounds when properly equipped.

Read more about Sorento performance »

2016 Sorento Interior

How Many People Does the 2016 Sorento Seat?

The 2016 Sorento seats five in its standard configuration, but you can seat seven with an available third-row 50/50-split-folding seat. The third row has legroom comparable with the Honda Pilot but almost 2 inches less than the Chevy Traverse.

How Many Car Seats Fit in the 2016 Kia Sorento?

The Sorento has two full sets of LATCH car-seat connectors on the outboard second-row seats. There's an additional upper tether on the third-row middle seat. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the Sorento an Acceptable rating – the second-best rating – for ease of use.

2016 Kia Sorento Features

The 2016 Sorento comes standard with satellite radio, Bluetooth, a USB port, and a 4.3-inch touch-screen audio system. Available features include Kia's UVO infotainment system, a 10-speaker Infinity surround-sound audio system, proximity key, dual-zone automatic climate control, and navigation with an 8-inch touch screen. With either the standard or available touch screen, infotainment controls are easy to operate, and the larger screen has crisp graphics and large buttons.

See 2016 Kia Sorento specs »

Read more about Sorento interior »

2016 Kia Sorento Dimensions

Kia Sorento Cargo Space

Both 2- and 3-row 2016 Sorento models have 38 cubic feet of cargo space behind the second row and 73 cubic feet behind the first row. The 3-row model has 11.3 cubic feet behind the third row. The Sorento's cargo area is small compared with rivals like the 2016 Honda Pilot and 2016 Chevy Traverse, which have maximum storage spaces of 83.9 and 116.3 cubic feet, respectively.

2016 Sorento Length and Weight

The 2016 Kia Sorento is 15.6 feet long and has a curb weight ranging from 3,704 pounds for front-wheel-drive four-cylinder models to 4,343 pounds for all-wheel-drive models with the V6 engine.

Where Was the 2016 Kia Sorento Built?

Kia built the 2016 Sorento in West Point, Georgia, at Kia Motors’ Manufacturing Georgia assembly plant. Kia also assembles the Optima sedan there.

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