All V6-equipped models feature a 6-speed automatic transmission with Steptronic manual mode.
The performance delivered by the bigger powerplant impresses more than the buttery smooth operation of the autobox. That's what I found out during a test drive of a Sorento EX-V6 Luxury. It may weigh 200 kilos more than the two-wheel drive variants, but at 1,835 kilos, it's roughly 100-kg lighter than the previous generation. My tester sprinted from 0 to 100 km/h in under 8 seconds, which is plenty fast for such a high-riding, family-oriented machine.
All V6-equipped models feature a 6-speed automatic transmission with Steptronic manual mode. (Photo: Luc Gagné/Auto123.com)
Such performance obviously affects fuel economy, though. After more than 500 kilometres of city and highway driving, I wound up with an average of 12.5 L/100 km – or 25 percent more than the automaker's optimistic rating (9.95 L/100 km).
Full-time AWD technology
Canadians living in rough climates will certainly appreciate the all-wheel drive option of the 2011 Kia Sorento. This full-time system is optional with the two lower-end V6 models and standard on the top-of-the-line EX-V6 Luxury.
Electronics distribute torque to the front and rear axles based on the level of grip. In normal conditions, the front wheels receive 100 percent of the torque, but as soon as either one starts to slip, part of it is transferred to the back for superior traction. A lockable centre differential guarantees an even torque split (50-50) between the front and rear axles.
The Sorento also features Hill Start Assist, which prevents the vehicle from rolling back when you release the brakes on a hill, as well as Downhill Brake Control, which ensures a steady momentum during steep descents.
The fully-independent suspension provides a smooth, surprisingly-comfortable ride for such a big truck. Kia engineers also strived to reduce noise, vibration and harshness (NVH), making the Sorento almost as quiet as a Highlander.
All Sorentos ride on 17- or 18-inch alloy wheels. (Photo: Luc Gagné/Auto123.com)