Price As Tested: $24,300
Engine: 3.3L V6
Power: 290HP 252 LB-FT of Torque
Transmission: 6-Speed Automatic



This is the 2015 Kia Sorento SX all wheel drive. Kia is doing all it can to steal bargain hunting buyers from luxury automakers. Let’s see if it’s mission accomplished shall we? I’m Miles Branman and you’re watching FLDetours. The midsized crossover/SUV market is pretty stacked. There’s an offering from almost every major automaker but if you’re on a budget, your options are somewhat limited to things like the Hyundai Santa Fe, the Nisan Murano, Ford Edge and this, the 2015 Kia Sorento.

Now right here we’ve got the SX all wheel drive and what that means is that this thing is fully loaded. You can get into a Sorento for under 25 grand, which is pretty great.  And you can have things like the 3.3 liter V6 and the all wheel drive system for around early 30s. This one is just under 40 grand and it has absolutely everything that you could possibly want from a luxury crossover. However, there are a few distinctions that separate it from things like the Acura MDX and the BMW X1. I’ll get to those in a minute.

Let’s talk about some of the things that make this car really exceptional. You’ve got features like a panoramic sunroof, LED daytime running lights, 19 inch alloy wheels, heated and cooled leather seats. There’s also an extra row of seating to fit seven people. That’s some pretty impressive stuff at under 40 grand. In fact, some of the coolest features about this car are the tech and safety goodies. You get things you’ve come to expect like Bluetooth and blind spot monitoring systems but you also have a pretty killer infotainment system with a responsive design. Then you also have class leading features like this really crisp LCD display. Everything just pops.

How does it drive? This is where things get a little interesting. With 290 horsepower and an all wheel drive system, obviously it’s faster than a P1, and handles better than it too. Well, not really, but it’s actually quite punchy. The engine certainly goes, and the transmission isn’t half bad. It doesn’t hate to change direction, that’s for sure. There are three steering mode selections: comfort, normal and sport. Sport mode adds steering feel and responsiveness. However, when cruising at speed, it does take a little more adjustment than some of the more refined luxury cars like the Acura MDX and BMW X1.

That said, the ride is phenomenal and I’m not just talking about cars in this segment. I’m talking about luxury cars as well. It soaks up all the road blemishes without any drama and it’s just a pleasant place to be for daily driving. It’s comfortable. You want to spend more time here. As with any car, it can’t be all praise, so I’ll talk about some of the things that could be improved in future generations. Personally, the overall look can be improved. It’s not a bad design, it just doesn’t take a stance. When you’re fighting models from BMW, Acura, Mercedes and other luxury automakers, you need a compelling design. You need a reason why people would give your vehicle a second look. The Sorento doesn’t pull that off.

As I mentioned earlier, when driving at speed, you have to do a little too much with the wheel. You’re constantly adjusting, otherwise the car will just start to carry itself one way or another. Also, automatic up and down windows are a must at this price point. Then there are small things like the automatic trunk latch. I’ve seen it to the left and right of the driver, but never here next to the sunroof. It’s a bit of odd placement. The only other large distinction between this and a sportier luxury car would be the transmission. As I said, the engine packs a lot of power, but the transition between gears isn’t as quick as some of the Sorento’s competition. If Kia can sharpen that up a bit and make the shifts quicker, they’ve really got a decent performer here. It will never be a sports car, but it can be a peppy crossover.

I’m a big fan of this crossover. Kia has done a great job and I know they’re only going to improve in future. They haven’t been at this that long. For what they’re showing me right now, a few years down the line will bring forward a class leader in this segment. You need to take a second look at Kia.

Some big wins for this crossover: the engine has a surprising agility, and the ride quality is amazingly comfortable. Small things to improve: recess the infotainment system so there’s not so much glare. Take a look around at what other automakers have done with their crossovers and maybe add some of those features that they might be missing. Larger issues: take a stance on the design. Take a risk and see what happens; it will pay off.

What if your wife said you should get a minivan. Maybe you think you can deal with that. Grow a pair. Don’t do that. Don’t get a minivan. Go pick up a quality product like this Kia Sorento and you’ll thank yourself immediately. Just do it. It’s a great car.

For 38 grand, Kia has given you plenty of ammo to fight off your spouse’s desire to buy a minivan and it also has given you a reason to think twice about spending the extra cashish on a luxury automaker’s crossover. I’m Miles Branman. This was the 2015 Kia Sorento SX All Wheel Drive and you’ve been watching FLDetours. We’ll see you next time.