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.


  • 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.

2023 GMC Canyon 1

2023 GMC Canyon

Canyon Goes Bigger

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

Most people know the GMC Canyon as the Chevrolet Colorado’s professional grade cousin. And while that sounds like just marketing speak, with an all-new design of GM’s midsize truck platform comes more genuine brand separation. So, let’s see what the third-gen GMC Canyon delivers in real time!

Small trucks are once again a big deal, and part of the reason is that they are no longer small. There’s not much about this 2023 GMC Canyon that resembles the ¼-ton Sonomas, S-10s, Rangers, and Datsun trucks that were wildly popular in the 1980s.

Of course, then, people were willing to sacrifice certain “big-truck” things for an easier to use and more economical pickup experience. Well, we don’t seem to be big on compromise for much of anything these days, and the current midsize crop of trucks deliver more than ever. So fittingly, the 2023 Canyon will be available as a Crew Cab only with a 5-foot bed. No more extended cab or long bed options. Wheelbase is about 3-inches longer than before, with the front wheels pushed more towards the front. It definitely looks tougher, and they’ve even eliminated the much-hated front air dam that protruded well below the front bumper.

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The Canyon also comes exclusively with the high-output version of GM’s 2.7-liter turbocharged I-4, with a stout 310-horsepower and 430 lb-ft. of torque. At times it feels even more powerful than those numbers would indicate, with its diesel-like torque delivery enabling a best-in-class max tow rating of 7,700-lbs. No choice of transmission either, strictly 8-speed automatic, but you can still decide whether you want rear or 4-wheel-drive.

At minimum, ground clearance is 9.6-inches, which is more than an inch taller than last year, and almost 2-inches over Chevy’s base Colorado. And since it’s all about the off-road packages these days, our AT4 tester comes with 4-wheel drive, off-road suspension, locking rear diff, 2-speed transfer case, hill descent control, and 18-inch wheels with all-terrain tires.

And that’s just where things get started, as at the top of the heap, there’s a new AT4X with 10.7-inches of ground clearance, enhanced front and rear e-locking differentials, 33-inch mud terrain tires, Multimatic dampers, and an additional Baja Drive Mode. We’ll have more on the AT4X real soon.

But for all Canyons, including this AT4, GMC went tech-heavy, as all get 11-inch infotainment screens and a fully digital driver display in either 8 or 11-inches. Plus, an available head up display comes with most trims, and there are even optional underbody cameras.

Unique AT4 features include a Jet Black and Timber interior motif with stitched logos on the leather front seats. Those seats are definitely comfortable, and it feels maybe a tad roomier than before, but still well shy of the sprawling space in a full-size truck. It’s even more noticeable in the rear, though there are more practical storage options back here.

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The AT4 gets a sliding rear window, along with a tailgate storage system to complement the integrated ruler, and bed side-mounted 120-volt power outlet. The Canyon already delivered one of the best rides in the midsize class, and the taller suspension seems to only improve on that; it’s not quite crossover plush, but certainly great for a body on frame truck.

Though the higher ground clearance and off-road emphasis kept it from being a track star. Indeed, healthy amounts of understeer and body roll greeted us in our handling course. It was a little hesitant off the line in speed runs, but once rolling, power poured on steadily. 0-60 in only 7.5-seconds, and through the ¼-mile in 15.6-seconds at 91 miles-per-hour.

Government Fuel Economy Ratings for the AT4 are 17-City, 21-Highway, and 19-Combined; we averaged an acceptable 18.2 miles-per-gallon of Regular. Pricing starts with a 2-wheel-drive Elevation at $38,395. That puts it at midlevel Chevrolet Colorado, with is consistent with the mission of the new Canyon. All other trims come with 4-wheel drive, this AT4 starting at $45,395, and the AT4X now eclipsing Denali as the highest offering at $56,995.

So, as small trucks have grown, so has the price of entry. But if that doesn’t scare you off, there is no denying the 2023 GMC Canyon is yes bigger, but also bolder and badder than before. Does that necessarily make it better? We say positively yes!


  • Engine: 2.7L Turbo-4
  • Horsepower: 310
  • 0-60 mph: 7.5 seconds
  • 60-0 Braking: 121 feet (avg)
  • MW Fuel Economy: 18.2 mpg (Regular)
  • Transmission: 8-speed auto
  • Torque: 430 lb-ft.
  • 1/4 Mile: 15.6-seconds at 91 mph
  • EPA: 17 City / 21 Highway / 19 Combined
2024 Jeep Wrangler 8

2024 Jeep Wrangler

The New Wrangler Crawls Its Way Towards Modernization

Episode 4302
Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

The Jeep Wrangler has been an affordable rugged launching pad for backroad exploring for almost four decades. And while constant updates have made the current Wrangler more modern and capable than ever, a lot has changed since the JL model first arrived for 2018. So, Jeep engineers did their thing again, handing us yet another, better Wrangler for 2024.

To most people, the Jeep Wrangler is all about tradition, a craggy aging dinosaur among the smooth fleet-footed crossovers of the modern era. But the Wrangler has come a long way with modernization in recent years, and takes another big step for 2024.

Side curtain airbags for the first and second rows are now included in all but the base Wrangler Sport, and Uconnect 5 with 12.3-touchscreen is now standard across the board. And since the 4xe plug-in hybrid powertrain has proven so popular, Jeep has made it available in more trims, including all the way down to Sport S, which means an even lower entry price point for what has quickly become the best-selling PHEV in America.

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So, the 4xe has truly brought the Wrangler into the modern era in more ways than one, and it was also what we chose to spend the bulk of our Southern Utah drive time in. It still delivers the same impressive, combined output of 375-horsepower and 470 lb-ft. of torque, with the added bonus of 21-miles of EV time.

The 4xe is just one of many engine options however, including a 270-horsepower 2.0-liter I4 turbo and the monster 470-horsepower 6.4-liter V8 exclusive to the Rubicon 392. Standard engine remains the 285-horsepower 3.6-liter V6, which is the only way to go if you want to shift your own gears, as the rest are all 8-speed automatics.

Speaking of the Rubicon, they’ve made it even more capable for ’24, with a new Dana 44 HD full-floating solid rear axle which should hold up better when you stuff bigger tires in there, plus boosts towing capacity from 3,500 to 5,000-lbs. And a factory-installed 8,000-lbs. Warn winch is now available as an option.

Off Road+ drive mode makes its way into 4xe models for ’24 too, optimizing throttle, traction control, and transmission parameters to maximize off-road performance whether rock crawling or doing high-speed desert runs. And since people really can’t get enough of Rubicon, Jeep has added a new Rubicon X model with 35-inch tires on beadlock-capable 17-inch wheels, integrated off-road camera, steel bumpers, and full-time Rock-Trac 4:1 transfer case.

Back on our home turf, it was a trip to Mason Dixon Dragway with this 4xe plug-in performer.

Provided you’ve still got some battery power for additional boost, the 4xe will jump off the line with surprising authority on its way to a 0-60 time of 6.7-seconds. Power deliver stays strong once you get rolling, with things really coming alive as the tach needle climbs. Automatic shifts were both quick and smooth, resulting in ¼-mile runs of 15.0-seconds flat at 97 miles-per-hour.

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There’s nothing about the Wrangler that wants to be pushed hard through a cone course, but we did it so you won’t have to. And truth be told, it wasn’t that bad, but when you’re sitting this far off the ground, it’s a natural tendency to keep inputs smooth and steady and not tempt tipsy fate by being overly aggressive with steering inputs. But rest assured, even if you are heavy handed, there are plenty of safety systems in place to help keep bad things from happening. There was a lot of weight transfer on hard braking, which is to be expected, but 145 foot stops from 60 were still longer than we like.

The only real change to the new Wrangler look-wise is an updated 7-slot grille with shorter openings; though there are also the usual new color and wheel choices. Multiple soft and hardtop options remain available. And inside, the dash has been reshaped a bit to house that new touchscreen, 12-way adjustable power seats are now available, and additional sound deadening has been added to higher trim levels.

But, just about every trim level also comes with additional content for ’24, and thankfully they haven’t eliminated the 2-door yet, which starts things off with Sport trim at $33,690, 4-grand more for the 4-door. 4xe’s remain 4-door only, but now start at just over $50,000, with the exclusive High Altitude trim at $68,790.

Love ‘em or hate ‘em, Jeep sells an incredible number of Wranglers every year, and it was really what kept the former Chrysler Corporation afloat for many years. Stellantis has big plans for EVs going forward, but the 2024 Jeep Wrangler is not only more capable and modern than ever, it’s proof that electrification and old-school off roaders can coexist; and it’s a pretty good bet that the Jeep Wrangler will always remain a major part their portfolio.


As Tested

  • Engine: 2.0L Turbo-4
  • Horsepower: 375
  • 0-60 mph: 6.7 seconds
  • 60-0 Braking: 145 feet (avg)
  • EV Range: 21 miles
  • Battery: 17.3-kWh
  • Torque: 470 lb-ft.
  • 1/4 Mile: 15.0-seconds flat at 97 mph
  • EPA (Combined): 20 MPG | 49 MPGe