2011 Kia Sorento

2011 Kia Sorento

Episode 2920
Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

It’s a clear sign of the times. Kia, responding to current market tastes, has redesigned their compact Sorento without its original body-on-frame SUV chassis, opting instead for a crossover utility unibody. Now Kia hopes this move will greatly expand the Sorento’s appeal. But does being more like a car, and less like a truck, make for a better Sorento?

Besides its chassis transformation, the second generation 2011 Kia Sorento is also the Korean brand’s first vehicle to have its assembly transferred to American soil. That takes place at a huge new facility in West Point, Georgia.

Still, Sorento enters an already crowded compact CUV segment, and faces stiff competition from other quality entrants like the Toyota RAV4, Nissan Rogue, and also new Chevrolet Equinox. Like the Equinox, the Sorento is called a compact, but it’s nearly mid-size both outside and inside. Using a chassis shared with the Hyundai Santa Fe, Sorento’s length of 183.9 inches is over three inches longer than before, if slightly lower for better aerodynamics.

The totally refashioned exterior echoes Kia’s new, bolder, front-end theme begun with the Forte. The grill and flared-back headlights form a continuous arch that is most appealing.

Based on the KND-4 concept from the 2007 Los Angeles Auto Show, the production Sorento has a similar sweeping profile and athletic stance. Roof rails are optional. The rounded rear-end also exudes lots of presence, with large LED taillights that extend into the liftgate.  Wheels are 17 and 18-inch alloys, with a mirror finish optional on top EX trim.

While the original Sorento offered a pair of V6s, the 2011 allows a more varied choice. Standard is a 2.4-liter inline-4 shared with the Forte SX. Output is 175 horsepower and 169 pound-feet of torque.

Optional is an all-new 3.5-liter V6 with a best-in-class 276 horsepower and 248 pound-feet of torque. But even with it, trailer towing takes a beating: 3,500 pounds, down from 5,000 last year.

A six speed manual is standard with the I-4. Kia’s first home-grown six-speed automatic is an option, and standard with the V-6. A single speed four-wheel drive system with locking center differential can be fitted to either engine. And, even with front drive, useful Hill Start Assist and Downhill Brake Assist are included.

Government Fuel Economy Ratings for our front-drive four-cylinder automatic are good at 21 city/29 highway on regular gas. We saw a respectable 24.3 miles per gallon in real world driving. But, you do pay for that efficiency on the track. Our I-4 Sorento huffed from 0 to 60 in a long 10.1 seconds. And the quarter mile dragged out to 17.7 seconds at 78 miles per hour. The Sorento felt breathless all the way down the track. Shifts were lazy and power-robbing.

The Sorento’s new unibody employs a MacPherson strut front, and multilink rear suspensions. Electronic Stability Control is standard.

Unfortunately, none of this helped inspire a high level of confidence in our handling tests. Steering was quick enough but with little feedback, and body roll was excessive.

The one bright spot in Sorento’s track performance was braking. The all-disc, ABS brakes delivered arrow-straight, near fade-free stops of a short 120 feet on average from 60 to 0. The pedal was firm with positive feedback.

On normal roads, the Sorento is a lot more self-assured. It’s comfortable and quiet, feeling well anchored at even elevated interstate speeds.

That comfort continues inside, where Kia used the extra body length for more cabin space and versatility. With both five- and first time three-row seven-passenger models, it’s now a big family-mover. The modern, tech-inspired dash is defined by overlapping gauges and practical controls. Our EX model’s well-padded seats came with standard eight-way power for the driver, and optional heat.

Standards include a tilt/telescoping wheel with audio and Bluetooth controls. Satellite Radio and a USB port are on board too. A 550-watt Infinity upgrade, navigation, and even a dual sunroof, are available. Our EX added push button start, and a backup camera with rear view mirror display.

Those in the 60/40 second row will find it quite roomy, with a welcomed increase in legroom. Kids will like the 50/50 split folding third row, but not adults. Behind the third row is 9.1 cubic feet of space that expands to 37 cubic feet when folded, and an excellent 72.5 with all seats down. A reversible load floor and handy underfloor compartment add to this CUV’s overall practicality.

And that practicality also speaks to Kia’s value pricing. In fact, the base price for the 2011 Sorento is down from last year starting at $20,790.  Sorento base prices top out at $29,690.

Combine that with Kia’s vastly improved quality reputation, and one of the best warranties going, and it’s no wonder they continue to chalk up sales gains. The new Sorento’s track performance may be lacking, but we have no qualms with its packaging. So, the 2011 Kia Sorento is indeed a better answer to what today’s family buyers want. And, yes, it’s a better Sorento, too.






  • Engine: 2.4-Liter Inline-4
  • Horsepower: 175
  • Torque: 169 Lb Feet
  • 0-60 MPH: 10.1 Seconds
  • 1/4 Mile: 17.7 Seconds @ 78 MPH
  • 60-0 MPH: 120 Feet
  • EPA: 21 MPG City/ 29 MPG Highway
  • Mixed Loop: 24.3 MPG
2023 Genesis Electrified GV70

2023 Genesis Electrified GV70

Genesis Waves Their Magic EV Wand Yet Again

Episode 4303
Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

The Genesis Electrified GV70 is not only the 3rd all-electric vehicle offering from Hyundai’s luxury division, but it’s also the first Genesis model to be built here in the US. You know, the GV70 was already a big hit with both critics and buyers, so let’s find out if a big pack of batteries and American workers can take it to the next level.

For the 2023 model year, the Genesis GV70 utility has gone electric. And like the Electrified G80 sedan before it, Genesis has integrated an all-electric drivetrain into its existing platform seamlessly and effectively.

Now, it may look almost exactly like the sleek and sophisticated internal combustion powered GV70 SUV that arrived just last year. But packed underneath it all, is the GV60’s next-gen propulsion system that uses a pair of electric motors delivering standard all-wheel drive and 429-horsepower. Both the front and rear-mounted electric motors are 160-kW and produce a combined 516 lb-ft. of torque, relying on energy from a 77.4-kWh battery. Full 350-kW charging capability will get the battery to 80% in just 18-minutes. The Electrified GV70 is rated to travel 236-miles between those charging sessions.

But based on our driving loop, we’d say more is easily possible as we were on pace for over 250-miles; making it an overachiever, much like the G80.

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The approach to the interior is not so much a heavy-handed blast of over-the-top luxury, rather just a soothing blend of high-quality metal and leather materials with soft tones, subtle ambient light, and an airy feel that ultimately delivers a very comforting experience.

There’s an available 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, along with a 14.5-inch touchscreen that houses standard navigation, and it also has a rotary style control on the console if you prefer that, just don’t confuse it with the rotary gear selector like we did. Lexicon audio, quilted leather, and a suede headliner come with the Prestige package that also includes active noise control and white brake calipers.

Regen braking paddles mounted on the back of the steering wheel allow for adjusting amounts of regen up to full 1-pedal driving; or you can let Smart Regen take control, gathering data from past driving history, navigation, and road conditions to determine the appropriate amount of braking. Drive modes include Comfort, Eco, Sport, Sport +, and Custom, and Genesis has added some additional sound deadening for this EV.

Based on the incredibly quiet, smooth, and steady highway ride we experienced, we weren’t sure what to expect when we pulled this GV70 up to the line at our Mason Dixon Dragway test track.

Well, not much calmness or serenity here, as this thing absolutely blasted off the line like a rocket, hitting 60 in just 3.9-seconds. That’s almost a full 2-seconds quicker than last year’s 2.5-liter turbo-equipped GV70. It’s hard to beat performance-tuned EVs when it comes to torque delivery, and like the GV60, there’s a boost button on the steering wheel that delivers an additional 54-horsepower for a thrilling 10-seconds, helping us clear the ¼ in 12.4-seconds at 112 miles-per-hour.

The low center of gravity, an electronically controlled suspension, and a Disconnector Actuator System that allows for 2-wheel or 4-wheel-drive operation depending on circumstances, helped keep the Electrified GV70 well-planted through our handling course, and provided a livelier feel than the ICE version.

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Substantial side bolstering of the front seats kept us settled in place very nicely. Great steering feel, very little body roll, and only minor amounts of understeer at its limits. Brakes were equally as sporting, with good feedback and stability, despite the noticeable nosedive that typically accompanies stopping 5,000-lbs. of utility vehicle in just 111-feet, 6-feet shorter than the standard GV70.

There are some subtle changes outside for this Electrified version of the GV70; it gets unique 20-inch wheels, and as in the G80, the signature crest grille gets an aerodynamic makeover, nicely integrating the charging port. Same 2-line lighting theme up front, and in back, where the rear bumper is reshaped now that there are no tailpipes. Cargo area is well finished with thoughtful use of space; at 28.7 cubic-ft. with a max of 56.5, capacity is down a tiny bit, but a small storage bin up front under the hood more than makes up for it.

At 37-kWh/100 miles, the Electrified GV70 rates a good efficiency score. Pricing starts at $66,975, about 20-grand over a base ICE GV70, and 3-years of free charging at Electrify America charging stations is included.

Genesis is slowly but surely electrifying their lineup, and the 2023 Electrified GV70 is not just another step in the process, but further proof that carmakers can progress to EVs without upsetting the entire apple cart of their brand. Forward thinking but staying classy, just what we’ve come to expect from Genesis.


  • Motor Setup: Dual 160-kW Motors
  • Horsepower: 429
  • 0-60 mph: 3.9 seconds
  • 60-0 Braking: 111 feet (avg)
  • MW Range: ~254 miles
  • Battery Size: 77.4-kWh
  • Torque: 516 lb-ft.
  • 1/4 Mile: 12.4-seconds at 112 mph
  • EPA Range: 234 miles
  • Efficiency: 37 kWh/ 100 miles