2016 Kia Sorento

2016 Kia Sorento

Episode 3432
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.

Specifications

  • 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 MX-5 Miata 1

2024 Mazda MX-5 Miata

Still A Miata, And That’s A Great Thing

Episode 4340
Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

When the cool little Mazda MX-5 Miata arrived for 1990, it immediately triggered a host of imitators and sparked a genuine global roadster revival. While that fad has faded, America’s love affair with the MX-5 has stayed strong. And, we’re pretty sure we know why!

The 2024 Mazda MX-5 Miata is probably one of the most recognizable cars on the road, and it has a way of putting a smile on our face every time we see one, not to mention any time we get a chance to hop behind the wheel. The Miata concept really hasn’t changed drastically over the last three decades, proof that Mazda got the formula right from the beginning.

Rear-wheel drive, minimal weight, tight suspension, willing engine, superb manual shifter, simple folding top, and just enough creature comforts to make long drives as pleasant as carving up backroad twisties.
An overload of power has never been part of that equation, and many may still decry the lack of horsepower, but just a reminder, this car was meant to rekindle the spirit of British roadsters from the 1960s that were a pure joy to drive, and had engines half as powerful as what the Miata works with today, which is a naturally aspirated 2.0-liter I4 with 181 horsepower and 151 lb-ft of torque.

2024 Mazda MX-5 Miata 3/4 Front
2024 Mazda MX-5 Miata Profile
2024 Mazda MX-5 Miata 3/4 Rear
2024 Mazda MX-5 Miata Front Detail
2024 Mazda MX-5 Miata Rear Detail
2024 Mazda MX-5 Miata 3/4 Front2024 Mazda MX-5 Miata Profile2024 Mazda MX-5 Miata 3/4 Rear2024 Mazda MX-5 Miata Front Detail2024 Mazda MX-5 Miata Rear Detail

A six-speed manual transmission remains the standard; you must upgrade to top Grand Touring trim to even get the available six-speed automatic. And it all works together to deliver a joyful driving experience that few other vehicles can match.

The exterior design has gotten more purposeful and less cartoonish over the years; new for this year is updated lighting which now incorporates the LED DRLs into the headlight assembly, as well as a more cohesive design for the full LED taillights, plus some fresh wheel choices.

Continual upgrades under the skin too, with a new asymmetric limited-slip differential for all manual-equipped Miatas. Its purpose is to minimize oversteer, and if you think that means it’s less fun, you’d be wrong.

The perfect feel and action of the shifter keeps you looking for reasons to shift gears.

It was still a blast to dart through the handling course at our Mason Dixon test track and on the autocross circuit at Summit Point Motorsports Park. Minimal body roll and perfectly neutral handling had us scooting through the turns with ease. Kinematic Posture Control was added back in ’22, using selective braking to tighten up cornering. Adding to it for ’24 is a new steering rack and updated software for the Electric Power Assisted Steering that provides better on-center feel and more precise control.

7.0 seconds to 60 mph won’t exactly get your blood pumping, but it’s plenty adequate for the Miata’s mission and the engine sounds great for a four-cylinder. The perfect feel and action of the shifter keeps you looking for reasons to shift gears. But keep those engine revs above 6,000 for the most power. We did and our best quarter-mile was 15.4 at 92 mph.

Our average braking distance of 118 feet from 60 mph may have been a little longer than we’re accustomed to from a performance car these days, but their predictable and fade-free nature will give you plenty of confidence at your next track day.

2024 Mazda MX-5 Miata Dashboard
2024 Mazda MX-5 Miata Seats
2024 Mazda MX-5 Miata Instrument Cluster
2024 Mazda MX-5 Miata Central Display
2024 Mazda MX-5 Miata Shifter
2024 Mazda MX-5 Miata Trunk
2024 Mazda MX-5 Miata Engine
2024 Mazda MX-5 Miata Dashboard2024 Mazda MX-5 Miata Seats2024 Mazda MX-5 Miata Instrument Cluster2024 Mazda MX-5 Miata Central Display2024 Mazda MX-5 Miata Shifter2024 Mazda MX-5 Miata Trunk2024 Mazda MX-5 Miata Engine

Things remain all business in the cockpit, with everything falling readily to hand, and comfortable seats locking you in place. The most notable change in here for ’24 is a bigger infotainment screen, growing from 7.0 to 8.8 inches.

Government Fuel Economy Ratings with the manual are 26 City, 34 Highway, and 29 Combined. That’s a slightly better than average Energy Impact Score of 10.3 barrels of annual oil use, with 5.0 tons of CO2 emissions.
Starting price is only $30,170; top Grand Touring goes for $35,470.

It’s true that the Mazda MX-5 Miata has barely evolved over the years; but fortunately for all of us, virtually all of the ways that it has changed have been for the better, yet even in 2024, it remains incredibly affordable. It has been such a constant presence and passion for so many of our MotorWeek staffers over the years it seems like it has been around for a lot longer than just three decades, and thankfully, it looks like there’s no slowing the Miata down.

Specifications

As Tested

  • Engine: 2.0-liter I4
  • Transmission: 6-speed manual
  • Horsepower: 181
  • Torque: 151 lb-ft
  • 0-60 mph: 7.0 seconds
  • 1/4 Mile: 15.4 seconds at 92 mph
  • 60-0 Braking: 118 feet (avg)
  • EPA: 26 City | 34 Highway | 29 Combined
2024 Subaru Solterra 3/4 Front

2024 Subaru Solterra

The Solterra Gets Subaru Into The EV Game

Episode 4339
Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

You could say that Subaru is one of the more conservative brands out there. So, it’s no surprise it took them a little longer than most to venture into pure EV territory. But now that they’ve staked a claim with this Solterra, it’s time for us to see if Subaru buyers should plug in.

The Subaru Solterra is indeed the brand’s first full battery-electric vehicle; and while it took partnering with Toyota to make it happen, as we’ve seen with the BRZ and GR86 sport coupes, that partnership can lead to some great things.

So, we’ll start there; the Solterra’s counterpart is the Toyota bZ4X, and they do share most powertrain elements, specs, and features; but Subaru has done a few things to establish some unique vibes for their brand. That starts with the drivetrain, as all-wheel drive is standard here as in most Subarus, and in similar tradition, power won’t overwhelm you, it’s more safe and familiar feeling than overpowering as some EVs can be. Called StarDrive, this Subaru’s dual-motor setup rates 215 horsepower and 249 lb-ft of torque. Subaru loves to tout that their drivers are second only to Jeep owners when it comes to venturing off pavement, so capability is a must.

2024 Subaru Solterra Dead Front
2024 Subaru Solterra 3/4 Front
2024 Subaru Solterra Headlight
2024 Subaru Solterra Front Emblem
2024 Subaru Solterra Wheel
2024 Subaru Solterra Profile
2024 Subaru Solterra Dead Rear
2024 Subaru Solterra 3/4 Rear
2024 Subaru Solterra Rear Detail
2024 Subaru Solterra Badge
2024 Subaru Solterra Charge Port
2024 Subaru Solterra Dead Front2024 Subaru Solterra 3/4 Front2024 Subaru Solterra Headlight2024 Subaru Solterra Front Emblem2024 Subaru Solterra Wheel2024 Subaru Solterra Profile2024 Subaru Solterra Dead Rear2024 Subaru Solterra 3/4 Rear2024 Subaru Solterra Rear Detail2024 Subaru Solterra Badge2024 Subaru Solterra Charge Port

We did find Solterra as competent as every other Subaru. Their X-Mode has been programmed to work seamlessly with the electric motors, and its 8.3 inches of ground clearance is higher than the bZ4X; plus, you can use Grip Control to moderate speeds and maximize traction.

While most new EVs seem to be hovering around 300 miles of range, max here in the Solterra from its 72.8-kWh battery pack is 227 miles, 222 here in Touring trim. Our results were much less than that, on pace for just 172 miles in our driving loop. But that may be a fluke since we managed 210+ in our bZ4X test.

Only 100-kW max for DC fast charging. But even though it has only been on the market for a year, they’ve already cut down charging times for ‘24 models. An upgraded battery conditioning system, needs 35 minutes for an 80% charge. Subaru always seems to come out on the right side of being cool while remaining authentic, and the Solterra’s styling works, as does its beefier roof rack for ’24 which now holds up to 700 lbs. for tents and the like. Touring trim comes with some great looking 20-inch alloy wheels and there’s lots of body protection, but they did go a little overboard with all of the EV badges everywhere.

We found ride quality to be quite good, and handling spunkier than expected.

In addition to being a good-looking small SUV, it’s a highly functional one too with plenty of room for 5, durable materials, and a bridge-type center console with lots of storage space underneath, though there is no traditional glove box. Subaru also claims it was designed to be dog-friendly, so that’s a plus too. It does have the roomy feel of an Outback, and rear cargo capacity is pretty close, too, at 29.0 cubic-feet.

We found ride quality to be quite good, and handling spunkier than expected. It really shined in the handling course at our Mason-Dixon test track; the EV low center of gravity giving it a very planted feel through the cones. There was minimal body roll and great all-wheel-drive grip; though when it came to us getting a grip on the steering wheel. Well, it’s an oddly shaped steering wheel that took some getting used to. It’s another thing that separates it from the bZ4X, though it seems a little bit like just being different for the sake of being different.

2024 Subaru Solterra Dashboard
2024 Subaru Solterra Instrument Cluster
2024 Subaru Solterra Central Display
2024 Subaru Solterra Shifter
2024 Subaru Solterra Front Seat
2024 Subaru Solterra Rear Seat
2024 Subaru Solterra Trunk
2024 Subaru Solterra Dashboard2024 Subaru Solterra Instrument Cluster2024 Subaru Solterra Central Display2024 Subaru Solterra Shifter2024 Subaru Solterra Front Seat2024 Subaru Solterra Rear Seat2024 Subaru Solterra Trunk

On the other hand, while not insanely fast like some EVs, there was good punch off the line; enough to get us to 60 in 6.2 seconds. And rather than rolling back the power, the Solterra kept it consistent the whole way down the track. We finished the quarter-mile in 14.8 seconds at 93 mph. There wasn’t much feel coming through the brake pedal, but panic braking stops were fade-free with an average amount of nose dive; our stops from 60 averaged 120 feet.

Using 33-kWh of electricity per 100-miles, the Solterra earns a good efficiency rating. Pricing starts at $46,340 for the base Premium, and tops out with Touring at $53,340, with Limited in between.

Being the rugged and lovable outdoor types, Subaru owners have proven to be willing to sacrifice certain things for the good of the environment they spend so much time enjoying. Whether that will translate to them going all-in on the 2024 Solterra remains to be seen. It’s no surprise Subaru has finally gone all-electric, and it shouldn’t come as a surprise they’ve entered the EV game conservatively. Something tells us Subaru owners wouldn’t have it any other way.

Specifications

As Tested

  • Motor Setup: Dual Motor
  • Battery Size: 72.8-kWh
  • Horsepower: 215
  • Torque: 249 lb-ft
  • EPA Range: 222 miles
  • 0-60 mph: 6.2 seconds
  • 1/4 Mile: 14.8 seconds at 93 mph
  • 60-0 Braking: 120 feet (avg)
  • MW Test Loop: 172 miles