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2011 Kia Sorento: Used Car Review

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Ron Sessions May 2015

With the cancellation of the Borrego SUV, the Sorento is Kia's largest, most-capable crossover vehicle. The 2011 Kia Sorento was all new, longer and roomier than the previous-generation version, yet is several hundred pounds lighter than its predecessor, which helps performance and fuel economy. It's well-equipped, too, with a long roster of standard equipment for the money. The Sorento is available in both 2-row, 5-passenger and 3-row, 7-passenger configurations. Cargo space is generous, with 37 cu ft. available aft of the second-row seat and 72.5 cu ft. with the second-row seat folded flat.

New to the Sorento lineup is a 175-horsepower 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine, but the crossover is still available with a 276-hp 3.5-liter V6. Towing capacity drops this year from 5,000 to 3,500 pounds, however. Both front- and 4-wheel drive are offered, with the latter sporting a lockable electronic center differential that routes drive torque effectively to all four wheels. Also aiding back-road and poor-weather driving is standard hill-start assist, which keeps the Sorento from rolling back when starting on a hill, and downhill brake control, which helps keep the vehicle pointed straight ahead when descending steep downslopes.

Standard safety gear on all Sorento models includes dual front- and side-impact airbags, overhead airbags for the first two seat rows, active front-seat head restraints, 4-wheel disc anti-lock brakes with brake assist, and stability and traction control.

What We Like

Well-equipped for the money; 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty; flat-folding second- and third-row seats; locking center differential on 4-wheel-drive model; panoramic sunroof

What We Don't

Bumpy ride quality over rough pavement; lacks rear cross-traffic and blind spot detection; tow rating drops to 3,500 pounds

Fuel Economy & Engine Specs

The 2011 Sorento is available with a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine or a 3.5-liter V6.

The 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine makes 175 hp and 169 lb-ft of torque on regular unleaded fuel. Equipped with front-wheel drive, the 2.4-liter has an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rating of 20 miles per gallon in the city and 27 mpg on the highway with the 6-speed manual transmission and 21 mpg city/29 mpg hwy with the 6-speed automatic. The 4-wheel-drive version with the 6-speed automatic is EPA-rated at 21 mpg city/27 mpg hwy.

The 3.5-liter V6 is rated at 276 hp and 248 lb-ft of torque. On front-wheel-drive versions, the engine is EPA-rated at 20 mpg city/26 mpg hwy, while 4-wheel-drive models receive an 18 mpg city/24 mpg hwy rating. It also uses regular unleaded fuel.

Standard Features & Options

The 2011 Kia Sorento is available in LX, EX and SX trims.

The Sorento LX comes standard with air conditioning, Bluetooth connectivity, a 6-speaker AM/FM/CD/MP3 audio system with SiriusXM radio, USB input jacks, cruise control, remote keyless entry, a trip computer, a tilt-telescopic steering wheel with remote audio controls, 17-inch alloy wheels, heated outside mirrors, and power windows and door locks. LX options include a backup camera, heated front seats, foglamps and roof rails.

The Sorento EX gains 18-in alloy wheels, a rear spoiler, foglamps, auto headlamps, push-button start, sonar backup sensors, dual-zone automatic climate control and a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter. EX models can also be optioned with leather seats, a panoramic sunroof, voice-activated navigation with real-time traffic reporting, a 10-speaker Infinity premium sound system, interior mood illumination and rear-seat DVD entertainment.

The Sorento SX upgrades to voice-activated navigation, a 10-speaker Infinity surround-sound audio system, auto-dimming rear-view mirror, HomeLink garage door opener, stainless-steel pedals, illuminated sill plates, heated front seats, leather-trimmed first- and second-row seats, chrome exhaust tips, polished 18-in alloys, LED taillamps and more.

Pricing

The Sorento was Kia's best-selling vehicle in 2011, so there should be a decent supply of used examples to look at on used-car lots. You can expect to pay more for well-equipped V6-powered EX models. Four-wheel drive is nice to have, but doesn't command a huge premium because front-drive Sorentos come with good all-weather rubber and can handle the vast majority of inclement-weather driving situations.

To get a good idea of the 2011 Sorento's price range, check out KBB.com. You can also search the Autotrader Classifieds to see which models are for sale in your area.

Recalls

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued the following recalls for the 2011 Sorento:

A malfunctioning brake lamp switch may prevent the stop lamps from illuminating or the cruise control from disengaging when the brake pedal is pushed. Intermittent push-button start functionality may also allow the shifter to be moved from Park with the ignition off. Both conditions increase crash risk.

On 2-wheel-drive models with the 4-cylinder engine, a misaligned automatic transmission shaft may wear prematurely and cause the vehicle to lose motive power, increasing crash risk.

Defective rear brake calipers may leak fluid, leading to a spongy pedal, reduced braking ability and increased crash risk.

Improperly soldered interior accent lights in the door panels may short out, creating a fire risk.

Recall repairs are required by law even if the vehicle is out of warranty. Your dealer can check to see if the repairs were performed, and if not, they will fix the car at no charge to you.

Safety Ratings & Warranties

NHTSA gave the 2011 Sorento a 4-star overall rating, with four stars each in frontal impacts, side impact and rollover performance.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gave the 2011 Sorento Good ratings for side- and moderate-overlap front impacts, as well as head-restraint and seat performance.

Kia sold the 2011 Sorento with a 5-year/60,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty, an industry-leading 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty (for original owners only), a 5-year/100,000-mile corrosion-perforation warranty and 5 years/60,000 miles of roadside-assistance coverage.

A Kia certified pre-owned vehicle can't be more than 5 years old or have more than 60,000 miles on the odometer. Every certified pre-owned Sorento gets a 150-point inspection. Each receives a 1-year/12,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty and the remainder of the vehicle's original 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty. Also included is a CARFAX vehicle history report and roadside assistance.

Other Cars to Consider

2011 Chevrolet Equinox -- Chevy's Equinox seats just five, but its rear seat slides fore and aft to allow owners to custom-tailor passenger and cargo space according to the task at hand. V6 fuel economy is below par, but the Chevy's 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine beats Sorento with an impressive 22 mpg city/32 mpg hwy EPA rating. Some buyers may find the front seat cushions and ride quality to be on the firm side.

2011 Dodge Journey -- The Journey packs a lot of interior space, and can carry up to seven passengers as long as the rearmost pair is junior size. The Journey excels in offering hidden storage compartments, with one under the front passenger seat cushion and two under the rear floor. 2011 models have face-lifted styling with crisper lines.

Autotrader's Advice

The fuel economy ratings of Sorento's 4-cylinder engine aren't much better than the V6's ratings, so why not have the larger engine's ample power for passing and merging situations. We'd go with a well-optioned 7-passenger EX for the best in day-to-day livability and resale value down the road. Selecting a Kia certified pre-owned vehicle can help take the worry out of buying used. Always look for a vehicle that's enjoyed obvious care and maintenance. Make sure the dealer has performed all applicable safety recalls on the vehicle you are considering purchasing.

Find a Kia Sorento for sale

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Used 2011 Kia Sorento EX
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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2011 Kia Sorento: Used Car Review - Autotrader