Special thanks to DriveSTI and Kia for loaning me the 2016 Kia Sorento for a week-long test drive. All opinions and experiences are genuinely my own.
When I was growing up, I knew that if I couldn’t find my dad in the house, he most likely could be found in one of two places: at the grill or in the driveway, washing the car. Perhaps the only thing he likes more than a tri-tip is a good-looking car. I kid you not when I tell you that as a child I was dragged from one car lot to the next so that my dad could peer into the shiny windows of the newest makes and models. It was his pasttime, believe it or not. He couldn’t necessarily buy a new car every year, but it didn’t stop him from admiring them every chance he got.
I feel almost guilty to admit that I recently had the chance to spend a week driving a car that my dad would flip over: the 2016 Kia Sorento. I may not have inherited the car gene, but believe me when I tell you that I know luxury when I drive it. And the Sorento was nothing short of luxurious.
If you’re like me, you might be rolling your eyes and wondering why on Earth I am talking about a car. I get it. In my every day life, I drive an anything-but-sexy Honda Odyssey. A minivan. Since having purchased it in 2007 I have done my due diligence in caring for it and maintaining it but I’d be lying if I told you that I love driving it. It’s fine. It’s roomy and reliable and, well, it gets me from A to B without hassle. All of the reasons that my Honda is functionally fine contribute, I suppose, to my having been spoiled by a week driving the Sorento. You see, I’d kind of ignored the fact that a car could be both functionally fine and luxurious. Leave it to Kia to come along and prove it.
So…what do I mean when I say ‘luxurious’? I mean leather leather seats that–with the push of a button–heat toasty warm on chilly mornings or ventilate on the hottest of days. You can’t argue that ventilated seats are luxurious. Heated seats are fairly common, but ventilated seats? C’mon! Ventilated seats are enough to win over this desert-dwelling mama.
Oh, but there’s more. Wouldn’t you know?
When I say luxurious, I also mean that the vehicle’s interior makes you feel like you’re driving a movie star’s car. Lots of things contribute to an overall feeling of luxury, right? Spaciousness, for instance. Check. With the seats up, there is plenty of room for groceries or treasures from Target. And with the seats down, you can not only transport five people, but also a whole lot of luggage. I know because we did that.
And then, of course, there are technical touches that go a long way in contributing to luxury. The Sorento has no shortage of geeky tech features that blow my mind. There was no keyhole in the ignition, for instance. Instead, you simply enter the car with the remote and the car can sense your presence and it chimes this sweet little tune to welcome you. It’s probably just me, but a girl gets used to that sort of thing. To start the car, you simply put your foot on the brake and press the Start/Stop button.
There’s also a large screen that functions both as the navigational and camera display. Anytime the car is in reverse, the screen displays the scene behind you. You can also push a button and display a view of the car’s surroundings. That particular feature made parking a dream; I could simply push the button to check my location within the parking guidelines. It was ridiculously easy.
Perhaps one of my favorite features, though, was the ginormous picture window at the top of the car. I think, technically, it’s called a ‘panoramic sunroof’ but it functioned as every bit the picture window as the ones in my living room. It most definitely contributed to an overall luxurious feeling.
Okay, okay. Enough with luxury. Let’s talk convenience. I love that the Sorento had plenty of cup holders and USB plugs for charging electronic devices. A large family couldn’t possibly want for more plugs!
As far as driving it, I felt that the open design of the car made it really convenient for safely changing lanes.
I really love this car. As do the kids.
I’m actively knocking on wood as I type this next sentence. My minivan has yet to live out its full potential. What I mean to say is that I’m not in the market for a new car just yet. I will tell you, though, that if I were, I’d give the Kia Sorento serious consideration. Not only because it’s sexy. Not only because it’s more technologically advanced than I am. Not only because it’s luxurious. But also because US News & World Report recently ranked the Sorento number 2 out of 12 affordable midsize SUV’s based in part on reliability and safety data. I’d definitely want to do further research on both of those points before I made any purchasing decisions, but having driven this car I can vouch for it with regard to luxuriousness, convenience and appeal for young families. Also worth noting, we drove this car daily for a week all over Walt Disney World on a single tank of gas. Not too shabby, right?
Seldom–okay, who am I kidding–never before have I found myself missing a loaner or rental car. The Sorento, though? I miss. Dearly.