Long-Term Review

2017 Kia Sorento: Way Down Yonder

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author photo by Rob Nestora July 2017

The open road is a great opportunity to get a real feel for the pros and cons of any vehicle, and this past weekend I decided to visit a friend who had recently moved to rural South Carolina -- a 240-mile trip from my place in Georgia. So early Saturday morning, I loaded up the 2017 Kia Sorento and made my way east for some much-needed rest and relaxation. But while most of the journey was stress-free and easy, it was not without a little bit of adventure.

On the Road

On the highway, the Sorento drives like a dream. Acceleration is ample, easy to control and never jerky. The Kia's variety of driver-assistance features is also great to have for extended drives. The adaptive cruise control is smarter than some others I've tested, which made the 4-hour trek mostly worry-free and let me focus on steering and listening to my Run the Jewels station on Pandora. The lane-departure warning is a great feature to have as well, because it lets you know when you're drifting out of your lane. The last thing you want during a road trip is to drift into the lane of a semi hauling refrigerated shellfish, thereby causing a massive accident resulting in possible injuries, twisted metal, and the carcasses of countless mollusks being strewn across the hot asphalt. Ain't nobody got time for that.

Navigation Shortcomings

The Sorento's included navigation system is adequate, and while it makes entering destinations extremely easy, it's far from perfect. First, you can input new destinations into the system while the vehicle is moving, which can be dangerous. Most systems will disable the functionality to enter destinations while driving, usually returning some sort of error message stating just as much. Now, I'm sure there are some drivers who might appreciate having this ability, but operating a motor vehicle while distracted is generally a bad idea -- so there's that.

Second, the included navigation system in our Sorento does not include live traffic monitoring (it is an available option, but our Sorento is not currently equipped with it). Real-time traffic conditions can be extremely helpful, especially when you're faced with a route checkered with lane closures and various other forms of roadwork. Sure, I could've used Waze, but then that would defeat the purpose of using the navi included in the Kia. While this might be a non-issue for many drivers, it's definitely something to keep in mind.

Finally, the suggestions for local restaurants displayed by the navigation system are not ideal and can lead to disappointment, frustration and awkwardness. Case in point: Sunday morning, my friend and I were looking for a place to get some brunch, or a good stick-to-your-ribs country breakfast at the very least. While scrolling through the nearby restaurant options included within the Sorento's navi, we discovered that a place called "Barn" was only a few miles away. I'm smart enough to know that a place called "Barn" out in the sticks of South Carolina is likely either a place that offers biscuits, gravy and other various delectable dishes -- or just a barn. With this in mind, we rolled the dice and headed toward the mysterious "Barn," hoping that plates of chicken and waffles might be in our cards. After turning down an unpaved road that was half red clay and half sand, we assumed we would be rolling up to an actual barn in lieu of a restaurant. The reality was a bit unexpected.

Revelations

Apparently, "Barn" is actually a private club in a former barn, adorned with a variety of southern-themed decorations and several Confederate flags. I'm not sure what their hours were, but thankfully they were closed for business at the time, as the prospect of a Confederate-themed private club generally seems like the wrong place for an unabashed Northerner with an affinity for New York Yankees headwear. With our bellies still growling, we again searched the restaurants in the Kia's navigation system and found a safe, familiar name only 6 miles away: Burger King. In the end, the 2017 Kia Sorento got us to breakfast eventually. At least I didn't have to justify the War of Northern Aggression just to get some hash browns.

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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.
2017 Kia Sorento: Way Down Yonder - Autotrader