2012 Kia Sorento Adds Convenience to Family Travel – Frugal Novice

2012 Kia Sorento Adds Convenience to Family Travel


I am an SUV girl at heart. I drove one throughout high school and college, but now drive a minivan. When we got the opportunity from Kia to try the 2012 Kia Sorento for a week, I was definitely excited to get back in an SUV again. But let me tell you, the Sorento isn’t the SUV I remember – it’s so much more.

First, though, let’s take a look at the exterior of the Sorento (which is manufactured in America at Kia’s U.S. facility in
West Point, Georgia, by the way). I’m a big fan of the styling on this vehicle.  The rounded edges and angled back are modern but not too flashy.

Of course, the old adage holds true – form follows function. So yes, the Kia Sorento is a beautiful vehicle… how does it function for the needs of a family, though?

Features abound on this model. The central hub on the dashboard includes a touch screen and provides information and access to many of the features, such as:

• Backup Camera: LOVE this. The colored lines give you an idea of the space available behind you, and if you come close to another object, you hear a series of beeps letting you know to be on the lookout.

• Satellite Radio: When they told me about this feature, I didn’t think I’d really use it much. Wrong. I kind of fell in love with the “90’s on 9” station, reliving music from high school. It was nice to have a steady stream of new music without it fading out in spots. There were stations for everyone in the family including a Disney station for the boys. The touch screen was really nice, too. Of course, there was also the standard AM/FM radio option, navigable with the touch screen as well.

• Dual Control Temperature: Brian and I often disagree on how the temp should be set in the car. That’s not a problem with the Sorento, because the driver and passenger can each set a comfortable temperature. Even when the two are set at extreme opposite temperatures, this is still effective. You’ll notice, too, that there are heated seats, with three levels of heat available. The seats heat quickly and are a great option for cooler times of the year.

• Navigation System: Ok, I have to admit, I’ve always thought navigation systems would be unnecessary for us, since we have our iPhones. I was proven wrong and completely fell in love with the navigation system on the Sorento. We traveled to San Antonio, and the map made travel a breeze. The voice let us know about turns 1/2 mile ahead, then 1/4 mile, and then one last alert immediately prior. When we approached turns or merges, the map switched to a split screen and showed us exactly where we needed to go. The whole system was very intuitive and easy to use.

• Gas Usage Analytics: We could easily find out how many miles we had left on the tank, and what our average MPG usage was. These are both important to know when you’re traveling with a family – you don’t want to run out of gas, and you definitely want to know how far your dollar is getting you on trips.

• Keyless Entry & Ignition: Any of you parents out there will know just how valuable this feature is. If your hands are full and you just don’t have the time to fumble through your purse or pockets for your keys, no worries! With the Sorento, just have the key fob on you or in your bag… touch the button on the handle and the vehicle unlocks. Likewise, just put your foot on the break, push the ignition button, and the engine easily starts. I loved this feature, because it gives you one less thing to worry about when you’re out and about with kids.

• Seating for Seven: There’s third-row seating in the Sorento, which we really liked because that means you can carry people with you beyond just your family members. There is one caveat, though. With two carseats in the second row it was difficult to access the third row. If you don’t have two carseats, this won’t be a problem for you because then you can fold the second row forward to easily get to the back row. There’s a good amount of interior space – you can see that J was quite comfortable!

• Plenty of Storage: Whether it was for luggage on our way down to San Antonio, or for shopping bags while we did some holiday shopping at the outlets in San Marcos, we had a ton of room for everything, even with four of us in the vehicle.

I’d give the Sorento 5 stars. It’s a vehicle I’d want to drive day-in and day-out, and would make our lives more convenient both around town and out on trips. It handled well, got great gas mileage, had plenty of interior space, and features we loved. It has an advanced airbag system with side curtain airbags in the first two rows, dual front airbags, and seat-mounted airbags in the driver and passenger seats. It also has the NHTSA 5-star side-impact crash rating, giving us confidence in carting around our most precious cargo. The Sorento starts at $23,150. Thanks to Kia for the opportunity to give it a try!

Note: Kia loaned us a 2012 Kia Sorento for a one-week period to facilitate our review, and received a gift card to help toward gas. All opinions in this review are honest and are entirely our own.

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  • Nathan November 13, 2011 at 11:32 am

    Great review!
    J is living large in that car seat!

  • Lindsay @ Lindsay Blogs November 14, 2011 at 7:16 am

    Oh I want one of these SO BAD. We really need a second car and a Kia has been on my list of “wants” for a long time.