2016 Kia Sorento

2016 Kia Sorento

Episode 3432
Lucas Oil "Keep That Engine Alive"Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

The 1st generation Kia Sorento was a true, body-on-frame sport utility vehicle. And while it was a little rough around the edges, it quickly garnered a big following. 2nd generation saw Sorento follow the crossover crowd, losing the frame but gaining more features. Now, Sorento’s gen 3 redesign expands on that in both size and premium content. So let’s see if Sorento is making the right moves.

The all-new 2016 Kia Sorento is clearly not a major departure from its previous generation. Still, the redesign’s improvements all appear aimed at making Kia’s 3-row crossover a more family friendly and capable adventure vehicle. A familiar exterior design still manages to convey “larger Sorento”. And with that, it promises more interior room. Kia has also thrown the word “bolder” into the mix, and we agree it has more presence going down the road.

With that, a bigger grille dons the frontend; part of Kia’s new face that is taller, flatter, and much less pointy. Body side sculpting is smoothed out, the belt line moves higher, fitting a Sorento that is now 3-inches longer in both wheelbase and overall length. 

Heading aft, there are more angles and more aggression. Taillights are larger, the bumper reflectors are now horizontal, and of course there’s a spoiler up top. 17-inch alloy wheels are standard; upper trim levels are equipped with 18s and beefy 19s.

All-in-all it’s an appealing design; smooth and classy. Still, it’s hard to miss the resemblance to Kia’s Sedona minivan. 

The last gen’s interior was a big step up, but this gen is an even bigger leap forward; with a smoother dash design, a much more premium feel, intuitive touchscreen interface, and some of the best steering wheel controls out there. Premium safety systems have also trickled down from the flagship K900. 

Uvo continues to add features and is available on LX models and above, a backup camera is standard on all but base L trim, and 8-inch touchscreen navigation is available on EX models and up. An optional 630-watt, 12-speaker Infinity sound system features a new Clari-Fi feature that squeezes a little more fidelity out of compressed audio files.

All gauges happily remain analog. On upper trims a 7-inch LCD info screen sits in the middle of the central speedometer. Front seats are Euro-firm and very comfortable; and yes, thanks to the added wheelbase and length, all seating positions gain room, with improved access to the 3rd row.

The cargo bay grows too. There’s now 11.0 cubic-ft. behind the optional 3rd row, 39.0 behind the 2nd row, and 74.0 total with all seats folded. That’s a gain of 1½ cubic-ft.  Seats fold easily and there are very few gaps for stuff to get lost in.  

Even more notable is the fit and finish of the cargo area. Partially-carpeted side panels should help keep things from getting all scratched up. An available smart power lift gate allows gives hands and foot free opening. 

But, the upgrade that we like most, is the new Sorento’s greatly improved ride quality. Now bordering on excellent, it feels incredibly well-built and is very quiet. 

In addition to that longer wheelbase, the front suspension has a new H-shaped sub-frame design and Hydraulic Rebound Stopper shock absorbers. In back, a lengthened rear cross-member, with longer control arms, allows for more wheel travel.

Standard Drive Mode Select, with settings for Normal, Eco, and Sport; adjusts steering feel and transmission shift points.  

There’s a trio of available engines. Base engine is a slightly improved version of last year’s, 2.4-liter I4, now with 185-horsepower and 178 lb-ft. of torque. Also carryover is the 3.3-liter V6 with 290-horsepower and 252 lb-ft. of torque that now tows 5,000-pounds. 

Slotting in between, is a new option; the Optima’s 2.0-liter I4 turbo, here with 240-horsepower and 260 lb-ft. of torque. We estimate a 0 to 60 of 7.0 seconds. All Sorentos are equipped with 6-speed automatic transmissions. 

All-wheel-drive is available with any engine. It’s the same basic automatic system, with logic that tries to predict wheel slip rather than just react to it. A lock mode splits torque front to rear 50/50 for speeds up to 20 miles-per-hour, and Torque Vectoring Curve Control aids handling even on dry pavement.

Government Fuel Economy Ratings for the new 2.0-liter all-wheel-drive are 19-City, 25-Highway, and 22-Combined. We averaged a good 22.4 miles-per-gallon of Regular. Resulting in a fair to middling Energy Impact Score of 15.0-barrels of oil annually and CO2 emissions of 6.9–tons.

Pricing starts at $25,795 for a base L model. And with more options than ever the spread grows, with the top tier SX-L beginning at $40,795. Tack on $1,800 more for all-wheel-drive. 

So, yes, Kia has done a fine job of growing the 2016 Sorento into a more capable and family-oriented crossover, successfully tending to the things that needed improving along the way. The last generation Sorento was a key vehicle for Kia, proving that they were fully capable of competing with the best in the segment. This one just might take them to the top.


  • Engine: 2.4 liter / 3.3 liter V6 / 2.0 liter
  • Horsepower: 185 / 290 / 240
  • Torque: 178 lb-ft. / 252 lb-ft. / 260 lb-ft.
  • 0-60 mph: 7.0 seconds
  • EPA: 19 mpg city/ 25 mpg highway (for 2.0 liter)
  • Energy Impact: 15.0-barrels of oil/yr
  • CO2 Emissions: 6.9 tons

Long Term Updates

Mileage: 2,900

We’re just getting to know this 2016 Kia Sorento mid-size crossover, and much like the Nissan Murano also on our long-term lot, it seems to be the perfect size for a 5-passenger family hauler. 

It also has an exterior design that’s more classy than family. 

We chose the new 2.0-liter turbo-4 for our extended test, and with 240-horsepower, it has plenty of pep for passing. But you do have to keep your foot on it to stay up with Interstate speed limits. We’re averaging an OK 23.4 miles-per-gallon. But, seeing near 30 during highway cruise.

In our full road test we noted the Sorento’s improved ride was its best characteristic; and 2,900-miles of smooth commuting hasn’t changed our minds. 

A word to the wise. Like many premium look crossovers, the Sorento’s exhaust pipe runs through the rear facia and is close to level with the trailer hitch.  If you use a bike carrier or hitch basket you might find your cargo cooked or melted like we did. A riser/extender solved the problem for us.

Mileage: 6,600

3-months in, and we’re trucking right along in our 2016 Kia Sorento, having so far driven 6,600-miles.

And while this mid-size Sorento has lots of fans around the office, its very tight turning radius has us maneuvering with ease; we do have some complaints. 

All love the layout of the interior, but the thin leather seat fabric is wearing already. 

The Sorento is a great long distance crossover delivering a smooth, compliant ride quality. Only a bit of wallow in corners detracts from that.

Two nitpicks are a console 4X4 lock button that’s easy to accidently engage, and an oversensitive outside switch for the power lift gate. 

The powertrain itself, however; gets all praise. The 2.0-liter turbo and 6-speed automatic combo is treating us right with a responsive throttle and a fine 23.1 miles-per-gallon average.

So on balance, we love the Kia Sorento. Fix a few things and it just might be the perfect family CUV.

Mileage: 10,000

We’re 5-months and a quick 10,000-miles into our yearlong look at Kia’s Sorento family crossover. And like families themselves, you have to take the good along with the bad. 

The good: well everyone loves the multiple cameras stationed around the vehicle, and we’ve used them for everything from the typical parking situations to getting a peak at the trail ahead when doing some light off roading. 

There’s also plenty of power from the turbo-4 and the sunroof lets a lot of the outside in, when you want it. 

Now as for the bad: most have found the seats not up to the long haul task, and there are plenty of folks that still find paying well over $40,000 for a Kia a stretch no matter how nice it is. 

Fuel economy is trending up, with our average now at 23.6 miles-per-gallon of Regular. 

Mileage: 21,094

Though after six months, and an odo at 21,094 miles, some of the Kia’s shine is wearing off. We not thrilled with the radar cruise control’s on/off abruptness; and when fully loaded with gear, the 2.0-liter turbo felt a little underpowered; which seemed to also upset the transmission.    

The front seat passenger also has less than ideal knee/leg room. 

On the plus side, we continue to find the steering wheel controls and UVO infotainment among the best in the business. Kia material quality continues to make big improvements too, and the load floor is spacious and continuous. Also, it’s has a great, mostly quiet highway ride.

And of course, the 23.1 miles-per-Regular-gallon we’re averaging is hard to beat in a larger family hauler. 

Mileage: 24,000

Our midsize 2016 Kia Sorento crossover emerged from our mid-Atlantic winter just fine. 

In 8-months’ time our odo is approaching 24,000-miles, with fuel economy up slightly from our last report to 23.3 miles-per-gallon. Quiet, smooth, and comfortable sums up all that time. 

And we’re feeling contented with our choice of opting for the 240-horsepower turbo-I4, as it offers more than adequate power for daily family use. So, no need to go for the 290–horsepower V6 unless you load up a lot or need the full 5K of towing capacity. 

No problems to report this go around as the interior is holding up pretty well, with flexibility that’s about as close to a minivan as you can get without actually being one. 

Mileage: 26,000

We’ve just hit 26,000-miles in our long-term Kia Sorento midsize crossover, as spring is slowly turning to summer.

Which means that the climate control is doing a lot more cooling than heating these days. And some noise coming from our Sorento’s A/C system necessitated a trip to the dealer, where a replacement high pressure hose took care of the problem.

While we were there, it turns out there were some recalls and service bulletins pending, which required an additional night’s stay waiting for a seatbelt part to arrive. 

But now that we’re back on the road and safely buckled in, there are a few more road trips ahead before we finish out our “year of Sorento”. 

Lately though, it has been seeing more commuting and airport shuttle duties than long distance journeys; which explains our slight dip in fuel economy from last report, to a still good 23.2 miles-per-gallon from the 2.0-liter turbo-4.

Mileage: 30,000

Time is quickly winding down with our 2016 Kia Sorento, though we do have a few more weeks left to enjoy Kia’s biggest crossover. 

We’re quickly approaching 30,000-miles, and this family truckster just keeps trucking on. 

Fuel economy from the 240-horsepower 2.0-liter I4 turbo with 6-speed automatic transmission is on a slight upswing to 23.3 miles-per-gallon, and things have been problem free since our last report.  Seat comfort continues to be a debate, as the latest road trip report praised the Sorento’s great seats that other staffers on previous trips have dished.

Other comments took note of an increasing amount of roll in corners; and one driver noticed a few “catches” in the steering wheel on slight turns at slow speeds. 

We think the cornering attitude just indicates things are now well broken in; and the steering wheel issue went away before we had time to figure out where it came from. 

Mileage: 33,250

Just back from one final road trip, everything we’ve said about it over the last year has been confirmed. It’s one fantastic long distance cruiser.

The 240-horsepower 2.0-liter turbo I4 is more than adequate for commuting, but can get overwhelmed when fully loaded. 

And, you certainly can load a lot of stuff in here, with 38.8 cubic-ft. of cargo space before you fold seats. 

We have experienced a few awkward clunks from the 6–speed automatic transmission lately, but it has delivered decent fuel economy; averaging 22.7 miles-per-gallon after 33,250 very varied miles.

We will certainly miss what is easily one of Kia’s best efforts yet. 


But the Sorento’s departure frees up a parking spot for another Kia, a 2016 Optima sedan.  And another new ride has also arrived, this 2016 Volkswagen Beetle Dune. Let’s see what kind of fun we can kick up in this time machine.

2024 Mazda CX-90 Front Quarter 1

2024 Mazda CX-90

A Force To Be Reckoned With

Episode 4238
Lucas Oil "Keep That Engine Alive"Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

If you’ve been following Mazda lately, you’ll know they’ve been fielding some serious new designs; you could even say, they’re latest efforts are 10-times better than before. After all, the CX-3 became the CX-30, then CX-5 became the CX-50, and now it’s the CX-9’s turn. So, let’s find out if this all-new CX-90, their largest SUV yet, is a real multiplier or if it’s all just a numbers game.

Don’t think of this 2024 Mazda CX-90 so much as an updated version of the CX-9, as it’s more of a complete rethink of their 3-row crossover, the first built on an all-new, large vehicle platform for the brand. And this platform carries a host of surprises. Not only does it make the CX-90 bigger by every dimension, but it’s a rear-drive architecture, and features all-new powertrains, including the brand’s first plug-in hybrid, and even an inline-6 engine.

Why an inline-6 to replace the CX-9’s turbo-4? Well, in general terms, I6s are better balanced, run smoother, and can deliver more torque at lower RPM. Just ask the BMW faithful, or any of the truckers you see going down the road hauling more than 20-tons of cargo with their inline-6s.

There are 2-versions of the longitudinally mounted 6, both assisted by turbocharging and a 48-volt mild hybrid system. Output for the base Turbo is 280-horsepower and 332 lb-ft. of torque; this Turbo S cranks it up to 340-horsepower and 369 lb-ft. The PHEV, on the other hand, is based on a naturally aspirated 2.5-liter I4, working with a 100-kW electric motor to deliver 323-horsepower and 369 lb-ft. of torque. A 17.8-kWh battery delivers 26-miles of EV driving.

2024 Mazda CX-90 3
2024 Mazda CX-90 Side Profile
2024 Mazda CX-90 Quarter Rear
2024 Mazda CX-90 Twin-Turbo I-6 Engine Cover
2024 Mazda CX-90 Twin-Turbo I-6 Engine
2024 Mazda CX-90 32024 Mazda CX-90 Side Profile2024 Mazda CX-90 Quarter Rear2024 Mazda CX-90 Twin-Turbo I-6 Engine Cover2024 Mazda CX-90 Twin-Turbo I-6 Engine

It’s not the prettiest SUV, but it does have very smooth body work; plus, the longer hood and 7½-inches of wheelbase stretch over the CX-9, give it more stately proportions. All CX-90s come with i-Activ all-wheel drive and the brand’s first 8-speed automatic transmission; the longer wheelbase allows tow ratings to step up from 3,500-lbs. to 5,000.

At the test track, our Turbo S launched effortlessly with good grip on the way to a 6.4-second 0-60. The smooth vibes continued throughout the ¼-mile, with refined power delivery, seamless shifts, and a noticeably more solid and stable feel at speed than the CX-9. Our best time was 14.7-seconds at 98 miles-per-hour.

Through the cones, it still behaves like a Mazda, with very good steering feel and a solid presence in corners at low to moderate speeds. Some understeer and body roll will show up when pushed hard, but Mazda’s Kinematic Posture Control uses subtle selective braking to help the vehicle rotate, and safety systems will step in well-before it gets out of sorts.

There’s a nice firm feel to the brake pedal, delivering good stopping results of 118-feet from 60 miles-per-hour. You can feel a lot of weight transfer, but nosedive was well contained.

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Another unique element the CX-90 brings is seating arrangements for 6,7, or 8. It’s the 8-seater that’s standard with 3-across bench seating for 2nd and 3rd rows. 7-seaters get either captain’s chairs in the 2nd row, or more contoured seats for the 3rd; 6-seaters sport 2nd row captains and the contoured 3rd row. Cargo capacity varies with seating, but is at best 15.9 cubic-ft. behind the 3rd row, 40.1 behind the 2nd, and 75.2 with all seats folded.

As far as what it’s like to actually live with, the CX-90’s cabin is a clear step up, including on some trims suede-like materials, intricate stitching, and real wood, all consistent with what we’ve seen from the brand lately. A 10-inch dashtop touchscreen is standard for infotainment, with upper trims getting a larger 12.3-incher. We applaud Mazda’s inclusion of plenty of old-school manual controls for radio and climate, which keeps menu diving limited to secondary functions. PHEVs get a few unique controls and readouts to monitor drive modes and battery level.

Overall, the CX-90 is highly functional, entertainingly sporty to drive, and will be more competitive in the ever growing 3-row family crossover segment; and its posh interior may even attract luxury buyers on a budget.

Government Fuel Economy Ratings for the Turbo S are 23-City, 28-Highway, and 25-Combined. We averaged a good 26.5 miles-per-gallon of Regular.

Pricing begins with the base Turbo at Select trim for $40,970, PHEVs are available in Preferred trim and above starting at $48,820, and the Turbo S starts at $53,125.

Force multiplier is a military term for when strategic elements come together to produce results greater than would have been possible without them. Well, no high-level math skills are necessary here to see that the 2024 Mazda CX-90 is clearly more than just a much better CX-9; it’s now a force to be reckoned with in the 3-row family crossover segment.


  • Engine: 3.3-liter I-6
  • Horsepower: 340
  • 0-60 mph: 6.4 seconds
  • 60-0 Braking: 118 feet (avg)
  • MW Fuel Economy: 26.5 MPG (Regular)
  • Transmission: 8-speed automatic
  • Torque: 369 lb-ft.
  • 1/4 Mile: 14.7-seconds at 98 mph
  • EPA: 23 City / 28 Highway / 25 Combined
  • Starting Price: $40,970
2023 Land Rover Defender 130 1

2023 Land Rover Defender 130

A Better Option For Large Families With An Eye For Adventure

Episode 4237
Lucas Oil "Keep That Engine Alive"Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

It’s not a stretch to say that the newest Land Rover Defender is the best Defender ever. But, Land Rover has a different kind of stretch in mind for their latest Defender, the kind that enables you to bring more people along for the ride. So, join us for an adventure in the new Defender 130.

No doubt this latest 2nd generation Land Rover Defender is more refined than ever; but for 2023, it’s also bigger than ever with a new Defender 130. Working with the same 119-inch wheelbase as the 5-door 110, there’s more than 13-inches of overall length added, and to be honest, stretching strictly the rear body like that does make it look a little awkward, but certainly no less ruggedly appealing.

For now, buyers can choose between 1 of 2 turbocharged inline 6-cylinder options, the base 296-horsepower P300, and our mild hybrid P400 with 395-horsepower and 406 lb-ft. of torque. A 493-horsepower P500 supercharged V8 will be available in ‘24.

Regardless of which route you take, there’s more than enough grunt to move this longer 130, which is heavier than the 110 by only a couple of hundred pounds. Power delivery is smooth and steady, aided by the mild-hybrid system which is primarily in place for stop/start, but can add a little extra oomph at launch to cancel turbo lag.

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But it’s really all about adding more space inside; so, a 3rd row is standard, featuring belts for 3, providing seating for a total of 8 passengers relatively comfortably. There’s more cargo space. Behind that 40/20/40 3 rd row, 13.7 cubic-ft, up from 10.5 on the 110. Behind the 2nd row, 43.5. While all seats down yields 80.9 cubic-ft.

Of course, one thing that doesn’t change no matter how much it has grown is off-road ability. And indeed, like every other Land Rover, it’s so capable that it’s mostly boring in rugged terrain situations, as the only hard work comes in selecting the proper terrain response mode; the Defender takes it from there.

We felt much more involved at our Mason Dixon test track where the 130 left the line more in a smooth and steady fashion than overly aggressive, but power built rapidly as we got moving, hitting 60 in 6.3-seconds. The engine whines more than growls, but the 8-speed automatic transmission keeps things right in the heart of the power band with timely and smooth shifts. ¼-mile completed in 14.6-seconds at 97 miles-per-hour. On the braking end, there was a soft pedal and a good bit of nosedive, but a very solid overall feel and short stops from 60 of just 115-feet.

The standard air suspension delivers a ride that’s more firm than floaty, but when it comes to handling, it felt a little lethargic through our cone course, with nowhere near the amount of precision we experienced over on the Range Rover side. Though steering was quick and light, and there’s wasn’t too much body roll, but that’s mostly because we had to keep speeds very low to prevent stability control systems from shutting down our efforts.

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The 130’s interior environment and seat comfort, however, are not far off the Range Rover’s luxury experience. Even if you opt for the synthetic leather, now available across the Defender line, for those wanting to avoid true cow hide. The 11.4-inch Pivi Pro touchscreen mounted in front of the dash looks fantastic, but it’s still not the greatest to use, with very small print and lots of menu diving that requires much attention to navigate. There’s also new 4-zone climate control, along with plenty of storage nooks for all seating positions.

Government Fuel Economy Ratings are 17-City, 21-Highway, and 19-Combined. We averaged 19.7 miles-per-gallon of Premium. Still, it’s just slightly below average on Energy Impact Score, burning through 15.7-barrels of oil yearly with 7.9-tons of CO2 emissions.

With numerous trim levels and multiple powertrain options, there are an enormous number of Defenders to choose from. Just know the 130 starts at $70,575 and tops out with the V8 at $118,075.

Bigger isn’t always better, but if you’ve got a large family full of adventure seekers, the 2023 Land Rover Defender 130 is clearly a better option for spending some quality time well off the beaten path. And it’s not too big as a daily driver either. The 130 truly does deliver more, and does it without compromise.


(As Tested)

  • Engine: 3.0-liter I-6 Turbo
  • Torque: 406 lb-ft.
  • 1/4 Mile: 14.6-seconds at 97 mph
  • EPA: 17 City / 21 Highway / 19 Combined
  • Horsepower: 395
  • 0-60 mph: 6.3 seconds
  • 60-0 Braking: 115 feet (avg)
  • MW Fuel Economy: 19.7 MPG (Premium)