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2007 Kia Sorento EX - 2007 4x4 Of The Year

Contestant 7: 2007 Kia Sorento EX

Kia Sorento is not a name most of us consider when we're looking for a new 4x4, but Kia does have some background in off-road motorsports (desert racing, European ice racing, and an around-the-world expedition). Unfortunately this didn't help produce anything more than a simple little Sorento for '07. Admittedly we were impressed by the power (second only to the 6.0L V-8 Sierra in acceleration) with 70 more ponies than previous Sorentos, and the interior comfort is perfectly inviting (though we'd like more amenities for $30K), but after that we felt no fire for this Korean-born SUV. In fact for some reason the Sorento we received didn't even have the limited slip we tested (and loved) back in '03, and thus we were stuck with ABS-based traction control (boo!). All in all this SUV looked and felt more like a car than a truck even though it is ladder-frame construction. Under the hood is a big plastic cover hiding the engine, the body had the type of lines so common with every other car/utility/crossover thing you see on the road today, and the ground clearance was dead lowest in the group even though it passed our crawlability index. Once again, the Kia surprised many of us on this test. It was the vehicle that had great spunk and thus made up for many of its other shortcomings. But how could such an unassuming vehicle rank so high in the toughest off-road test? Numbers, specifically things like mileage, price, braking and acceleration, and simple value for dollar. These empirical qualities and some quality on-road handling made it a real contender. However, when the Kia hit the dirt, these numbers couldn't hold up alone, but it still helped rank it up there amongst some of the better-equipped off-road machines since it could perform above average off-road. In fact, many times we were amazed how the Kia kept going. Could it have won? With better ground clearance and a locking differential or two, anything is possible. The Sorento looks to be reinvented for 2009, so we'll give you an update then.

* Peppy motor
* Wheels better than most
* Good, basic SUV
* Horrible ground clearance
* Boring carlike looks and feel
* Way too much money

Good bang for the buck but the buck is too much

Manufacturer Kia
Model Sorento EX 4x4
Base Price $26,195
Price as Tested $29,865
Options as Tested
Dual front, driver's knee, and full length side-curtain airbags, tire pressure monitoring, air conditioning, cruise control, power windows, power door locks, and power outside mirrors, premium AM/FM/CD/MP3 audio with steering wheel controls, eight-way power driver seat with lumbar, 60/40 folding rear seat, leather-wrapped tilt steering wheel and shift knob, keyless remote entry, auto dimming rearview mirror, dual center console, rear cup holder, compass, trip computer, rear cargo cover, cargo tie-down hooks, under cargo floor and passenger seat storage, liftgate with flipglass, defroster, wiper washer, roof rack, foglamps, privacy glass, cladding, underbody skidplates, fullsize alloy spare, trailer hitch and wiring, sunroof, leather interior package, heated front seats, automatic dual-zone climate control, automatic headlamps, chrome outside door handles, full-time torque-on-demand four-wheel drive

Type DOHC V-6
Displacement (liters/cubic in.) 3.8/ 230.6
Bore & Stroke (inches) 3.779x3.425
Compression Ratio 10.0:1
Induction Type Sequential, multiport fuel injection
Fuel Req. (octane)/Capacity (gal.) 87/21.1
SAE Peak Horsepower 262 @ 6,000 rpm
SAE Peak Torque (lb-ft) 260 @ 4,500 rpm
Type Electronically controlled five-speed automatic overdrive
Model N/A
Ratios First: 3.827:1; Second: 2.368:1 Third: 1.520:1; Fourth: 1.000:1; Fifth: 0.834:1 Reverse: 2.613:1
Transfer Case
Type Two-speed, part-time, electronic control
Model N/A
Low-range Ratio 2.48:1
Front Type Independent
Rear Type Solid
Hubs N/A
Ratio 3.333:1
Front Double-wishbone coil spring with strut damper, stabilizer bar
Rear Five-link, coil spring with damper, stabilizer bar
Type Power-assisted rack-and-pinion
Turns Lock-to-Lock/Ratio 3.75/N/A
Turning Radius (feet) 36.4
Size (inches) 16x7.0
Material Cast-aluminum
Size P245/70R16
Brand Michelin Latitude
Front 11.8 in. vented discs with Dual circuit hydraulic
Rear 12.4 in. vented discs with dual circuit hydraulic
60-0 (feet) 135.27
Standing 1/4-mile(seconds @ mph) 17.87 @ 78.91
Weight (pounds)
Curb Weight 4,387
Advertised GVWR 5,644
EPA Estimate (city/hwy. mpg) 17/22
As Tested (mpg) 13.76
Dimensions (inches)
Wheelbase 107
Overall Length 180.75
Overall Width 82.5
Overall Height 70.5
Front/Rear Track {{{62}}}.25/62.25
Front/Rear Overhang 33/40
Min. Front Ground Clearance 7.5