Thursday, April 20, 2017

FOUR KIA VEHICLES NAMED AMONG BEST ELECTRIFIED AND “ECO-FRIENDLY” OFFERINGS BY KELLEY BLUE BOOK’S KBB.COM


Editors’ List Names Cars “Stellar on Fuel Economy at Affordable Prices” 
  • Kia Niro and Kia Optima Hybrid ranked among 10 best hybrid cars under $40,000; Optima PHEV makes list of best plug-in hybrid cars
  • Kia Soul EV named one of the five best electric cars under $40,000
IRVINE, Calif., April 19, 2017 – As Earth Day 2017 approaches, four vehicles from Kia Motors America’s (KMA) EcoDynamics line-up have been recognized by editors of Kelley Blue Book’s KBB.com as top picks among “eco-friendly” cars under $40,000.  The trusted consumer website highlights vehicles with a variety of alternative-fuel powertrain configurations that can still accommodate the lifestyle and budget of many new car shoppers.

The 2017 Niro, offering an EPA estimated 52 mpg city/49 highway/50 combined for the FE trim1, and 2017 Optima Hybrid were named on the list of the 10 best hybrid cars under $40,000, while the 2017 Optima PHEV, with an EPA-estimated 29 miles of electric range2, ranked among the top plug-in hybrids under $40,000.  The 2017 Kia Soul EV made the list of five best electric cars under $40,000.

“We’re very proud of the strides the Kia brand has been making to achieve its goal of increasing electrification and improving overall fuel economy by 2020,” said Orth Hedrick, vice president, Product Planning, KMA.  “Having four of our vehicles recognized by Kelley Blue Book as top ‘eco-friendly’ choices validates our priorities to the environment as well as our efforts to maximize affordability.”

Kelley Blue Book’s “eco-friendly” cars lists can be viewed at the following links: 10 Best Hybrid Cars Under $40,0005 Best Electric Cars Under $40,000 and 5 Best Plug-In Hybrid Cars Under $40,000.


About Kia Motors America
Headquartered in Irvine, California, Kia Motors America is the marketing and distribution arm of Kia Motors Corporation based in Seoul, South Korea. Recognized as one of the 100 Best Global Brands and 50 Best Global Green Brands by Interbrand, Kia proudly serves as the "Official Automotive Partner" of the NBA and LPGA and offers a complete range of vehicles sold through a network of nearly 800 dealers in the U.S., including cars and crossovers built at North American manufacturing plants in West Point, Georgia* and the municipality of Pesqueria in the state of Nuevo Leon, Mexico.
For media information, including photography, visit www.kiamedia.com.  To receive custom email notifications for press releases the moment they are published, subscribe at www.kiamedia.com/us/en/newsalert.



* The Sorento and Optima GDI (EX, SX & Limited and certain LX Trims only) are assembled in the United States from U.S. and globally sourced parts.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

2017 Kia Soul is a lot of car staring at $16,100

The Kia Soul was originally introduced in 2010 and it was the perfect car for its time. Fuel prices, recession recovery, and small stylish boxy cars were all the rage for millennials without money and seniors soon to be retiring. Kia keeps up that money saving big value trend with the 2017 Kia Soul.

The Soul comes in 3 trim types – Base Manual/Automatic, Plus (+), and Exclaim (!) The base model starts at $16,100 and gets you a 130hp engine with 27 mph and a 1.6L 4 cylinder engine. The Base Automatic is simply the Basic Manual with automatic transmission at $17,700. The + (yes, the plus sign. It’s actually pronounced plus) starts at $19,800 and comes with a 6 speed automatic with sportmatic shifting and a 2.0L 4 cylinder 161 hp engine with 27 average MPG. The ! (that’s pronounced exclaim) comes with a 7 speed dual clutch transmission and a 201 horsepower 1.6L turbocharged 4 cylinder that gets average 28 mpg.

We tested the ! version and the Kia Soul is deceptively large. Missing is the engine transmission column that takes up a huge amount of space and instead the seats sit closer without feeling cramped. The Kia Soul ! comes with 201 horsepower and its the most powerful Kia Soul ever made. That meant passing and accelerating in Miami traffic wasn’t mind blowing amazing but was great enough to feel confident when you need it.

We took the car on a 2 hour road trip to the Florida Keys Wild Bird Rehabilitation Center and was the only car that didn’t have trouble parking between mangroves. The 40.9 inches of front legroom and 39.1 inches of rear legroom meant no complaints from passengers big and small. And the 61.3 inches of cargo room (that’s with the rear folding seats down) means I can finally return my J√ĄPPLING Ikea chair.

The Kia Soul competes with a lot of different cars for your attention and dollar. Depending on who you ask the car compares to the Hyundai Elantra, the Volkswagen Golf, the Scion xB, the Nissan Cube, and the Honda HR-V. The Soul is so big on the insider it might be a small crossover. But based on first impressions it’s just a normal subcompact with a 8.9/10 from U.S. News.

I’m never a big fan of the default car navigation but Kia makes Android Auto and Apple Carplay easy to work with. Just plug in your phone and it pops up. I understand why manufacturers still have their navigation systems – not every road has cellphone reception – but I’m always finding Google and Apple do maps better.

Standard features in the 2017 Soul include cloth seating, a six-speaker audio system, Bluetooth, a USB port, and satellite radio. Optional features include include automatic temperature control, a rearview camera, a 5-inch touch-screen audio display, the UVO infotainment system with a 7- or 8-inch touch screen, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, a 4.3-inch digital instrument cluster display, a Harman Kardon premium audio system, navigation, HD Radio, two USB ports, proximity-key entry, a push-button ignition, remote start, HID headlights, a panoramic sunroof, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, lane departure warning, and forward collision warning.

2017 Kia Soul is available now starting at $16,100.

Source: http://communitynewspapers.com/miami-beach/2017-kia-soul-lot-car-staring-16100/

Thursday, April 13, 2017

ALL-NEW 2018 KIA RIO SEDAN AND 5-DOOR MAKE U.S. DEBUT AT NEW YORK INTERNATIONAL AUTO SHOW

Fourth-Generation Subcompact Touts Sporty Design, Greater Comfort, More Room and Refined Ride
  • Rio features available upscale convenience technologies such as a seven-inch touchscreen interface and UVO3 with Apple CarPlayTM1 and Android AutoTM2
  • Sedan and hatchback offer available Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB)3
  • Targeting the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) Top Safety Pick designation and a 5-star rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) 
NEW YORK, April 12, 2017 – With its eye-catching design and impressive roster of features, the all-new 2018 Rio sedan and 5-door are the latest additions to the world-class Kia Motors America (KMA) model lineup.  Penned at Kia’s European and U.S. design studios in collaboration with Kia’s design base in Namyang, Korea, this subcompact duo will bring an exciting combination of impressive fuel efficiency, innovative technology, advanced safety features4, everyday convenience and fun-to-drive character to value-conscious consumers when they arrive at Kia retailers later this year.

“Value has always been a core tenet for the Kia brand and the all-new Rio sedan and 5-door continue to underscore our commitment to those buyers looking for an entry-level vehicle but desire more than what the subcompact segment currently offers,” said Orth Hedrick, vice president of product planning, KMA.  “This fourth-generation Rio makes significant improvements over its predecessor in design, technology and passenger comfort, resulting in an even better value proposition for our customers, while raising the bar in the small-car segment.”

Attractive Exterior
Rio’s exterior is defined by crisp lines and smooth surfaces, providing a more sophisticated and sporty look over the previous generation.  The front end wears the latest iteration of Kia’s ‘tiger-nose’ grille, integrating newly designed headlights that are swept back for a more aggressive appearance.  In addition, Rio’s fog lamp surrounds have been moved outwards, creating greater visual width to the front fascia and a lower window line around the cabin provides the driver and passengers with a better all-around view.

The Rio sedan has been lengthened to 172.6 inches (from 172.0 inches) and the Rio 5-door is now 160.0 inches long (from 159.4 inches).  Both profiles feature a longer wheelbase of 101.6 inches (from 101.2 inches) and more upright A-pillars.  The sedan and 5-door are also lower and wider for a more balanced and athletic stance compared to the outgoing model.  And a well-creased shoulder line runs from front to back, further stretching the appearance of the car to give it a sleeker and more substantive look than what’s currently found in the subcompact segment.

The rear of the Rio is now more upright thanks to shorter overhangs and thinner, more expressive taillights. Like the front-end, the rear view of the car is wider, furthering a sense of stability.
The Rio rides on 15-inch wheels that have been pushed to the corners.  The EX trim’s sporty alloy wheel design underscores Rio’s fun-to-drive side and refinement.

Modern and Convenient Cabin
The Rio’s interior has become decidedly more spacious, modern and upscale with an improved instrument panel, more ergonomic layout and upgraded interior materials.  The cabin has also been redesigned to better accommodate the Rio’s new range of technologies.

Horizontal lines running the width of the dashboard mimic the exterior design and give the cabin a wider and more expansive look and feel.  For convenience, the center console offers a bi-level tray to better accommodate portable devices such as smartphones and small tablets.

Thanks to Rio’s larger dimensions and wheelbase, its cabin is among the roomiest in its class – the sedan’s passenger space is 89.9 cubic feet while the 5-door hatchback measures 90.5 cubic feet.  Front occupants will enjoy more head room, leg room and shoulder room while those in the second row will benefit from greater leg- and shoulder room.  These improvements are the result of re-profiled door trims, new material for the headliner and a reshaping of the dashboard.  Those looking for ample cargo room will not be disappointed with either the sedan’s 13.7 cubic feet or the 5-door hatchback’s 17.4 cubic feet.  With the seats folded down, the hatchback offers a voluminous 32.8 cubic feet with a low and flat cargo floor to accommodate luggage, small furniture or weekend gear.
The front seats have also been redesigned to enhance comfort.  They feature a slimmer design yet more cushion and padding to minimize driver fatigue during long commutes and road trips.
On the tech front, the Rio offers a generous roster of features including Bluetooth® hands-free functionality5, a six-speaker stereo with satellite radio and a rear-view camera system6.  Available only on the top-tier EX trim is a seven-inch floating touchscreen interface, UVO3 voice recognition infotainment system and smartphone integration through Android AutoTM and Apple CarPlayTM, all of which are not typically found in the subcompact segment.

Power and Efficiency
Available in three trims – LX, S and EX – the all-new 2018 Rio is powered by a carryover but enhanced Gamma 1.6-liter GDI four-cylinder engine, targeting improved fuel efficiency, better responsiveness and low-speed driving dynamics.  The main features of this unit are a high-pressure fuel system with direct injection, variable intake system, low-friction oil seals, and piston cooling-jets.  The well-engineered powerplant also utilizes an aluminum valve cover and block for reduced weight, while incorporating cast iron linings for increased durability.

Power is channeled to the front wheels through either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission in both the Rio sedan and Rio 5-door.  Output is a spirited 130 horsepower and 119 pound-feet of torque for a more engaging driving experience.

Advanced Platform
The unibody Rio’s all-new platform is not only dimensionally larger than the previous generation model, but is now underpinned by a completely new suspension geometry.   Weighing in at just 2,648 lbs. (manual transmission) and 2,714 lbs. (automatic transmission), engineers sought to refine the driving experience with more agile handling and improved ride comfort, and this was achieved by designing a fully-independent MacPherson strut front suspension and a torsion beam rear axle.  The new Rio sedan and Rio 5-door also benefit from a revised spring and damper setup that helps make the car more compliant and comfortable.  Stopping power comes from 11-inch disc brakes up front and drum brakes in the rear, while the EX model is outfitted with 11-inch disc brakes up front and 10.3-inch rear disc brakes.  In total, these modifications deliver crisp and nimble handling and improve overall driver confidence.

Rio’s solid structure makes use of advanced high strength steel to increase durability, collision test performance and torsional stiffness, while also reducing weight, for improved handling and ride quality.  For reduced noise, vibration and harshness (NVH), the Rio uses body sealing and bonding adhesives to dampen sound pathways throughout its construction.

Safety Conscious
The all-new Rio is targeting the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) Top Safety Pick designation and a 5-star rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Standard safety features include six airbags, side-impact door beams, Electronic Stability Control, a four-wheel Anti-lock Brake System (ABS), Hill-start Assist Control (HAC) and Vehicle Stability Management (VSM)4.


About Kia Motors America
Headquartered in Irvine, California, Kia Motors America is the marketing and distribution arm of Kia Motors Corporation based in Seoul, South Korea. Recognized as one of the 100 Best Global Brands and 50 Best Global Green Brands by Interbrand, Kia proudly serves as the "Official Automotive Partner" of the NBA and LPGA and offers a complete range of vehicles sold through a network of nearly 800 dealers in the U.S., including cars and crossovers built at North American manufacturing plants in West Point, Georgia* and the municipality of Pesqueria in the state of Nuevo Leon, Mexico.
For media information, including photography, visit www.kiamedia.com.  To receive custom email notifications for press releases the moment they are published, subscribe at www.kiamedia.com/us/en/newsalert.




* The Sorento and Optima GDI (EX, SX & Limited and certain LX Trims only) are assembled in the United States from U.S. and globally sourced parts.

1 Apple® is a registered trademark of Apple Inc.
2 Android™ is a trademark of Google, Inc.
3 Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) is not a substitute for safe driving, and may not detect all objects in front of vehicle. Always drive safely and use caution.
4 No system, no matter how advanced, can compensate for all driver error and/or driving conditions.  Always drive responsibly.
5 Warning: Driving while distracted can result in a loss of vehicle control that may lead to an accident, severe personal injury and death. Always drive safely and use caution.
6 Rear-Camera Display is not a substitute for safe driving, and may not detect all objects behind vehicle. Always drive safely and use caution.

Kia Niro Touring loaded with surprises

Roughly once a year a test car knocks my socks off, and the Kia Niro Touring has me amazed.

Looking at it you’ll say that’s not a car, that’s a crossover vehicle. And that’s what Kia wants you to say. The styling is typical Kia with a good-looking nose, tail and beautifully proportioned profile. It has a taller stance like a crossover, but (and this is one of at least two surprises) it is front-wheel drive, and as of now AWD is not an option.

Second surprise, from a driving standpoint, is that Niro is a hybrid.

It has an electric motor to go along with its 1.6-liter 4-cylinder gas-powered engine to create what sounds like a modest 139 horsepower.

In Normal drive mode the acceleration here is modest. But sliding the 6-speed Sportronic gear lever to the left into Sport mode the Niro jumps to life. Acceleration is quick and quiet as the electric motor propels Niro to normal city cruising speed.

I found myself leaving the shifter in normal mode, which is the most economical way to go, and then slipping it into Sport at stoplights.

Niro is so well put together, and along with that electric motor, is very quiet. Not many compact cars can claim this level of smoothness and quietness inside.

Handling? Well, again once in Sport mode the steering wheel’s feel firms up and the Niro behaves more like a sport sedan than economy hybrid. In Normal mode the steering is light and easy, but with Sport there’s a more precise feel with more feedback.

Ride is well controlled and pleasant. This is a small car, but not tiny and rides on a 106.3-inch wheelbase. That, along with an independent rear suspension, smooths out the ride considerably and keeps the car from becoming jittery over rough city streets. The Niro Touring comes with 18-inch tires. Other trims come with 16-inchers.

Braking is fine and the Touring model includes blind-spot warning and adaptive cruise control and lane-departure warning. A backup camera is standard.

Inside, the bright red test car featured a black textured dash, and being the upscale trim it came with black leather seats that were both heated and cooled. The seats have gray stitching to add to the interior’s style, plus graphite gray dash trim and gloss black edging by the center screen, shifter and on the doors.

Everything looks good and the dash is logically laid out with all buttons and gauges simple to see and use.

The main gauges are snazzy looking and the center screen is split to see radio and navigation at one time, or you can devote the full screen to either. Two climate control knobs are easy to use and all the adjustment buttons on the center stack are big enough to press with a gloved hand and the labeling is simple. Dual zone climate controls are standard.

Niro has a manual tilt/telescope steering wheel with the usual cruise control, trip computer, radio and phone controls on its hub. The steering wheel also is heated, it and the seat climate controls being conveniently found on the console, not several screens in on the main dash screen as more pricey cars and crossovers prefer.

Kia includes its UVO infotainment system with an easy-to-tune-and-set radio, plus Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. It also gives you 8GB of music storage.

Overhead in the gray roof liner is a power sunroof with pull-shut cover to block sun as needed. Sun visors also slide.

In the cubby below the center stack you’ll find the usual assortment of electrical hookups, including two 12-volt plugs, a USB port and auxiliary hookup. There’s also a coin holder in the console and a fine armrest with storage box beneath where you’ll find a charging port for your phone.

Seats are powered and include a power lumbar. They are well shaped and comfortable, but flatter in design than some. Still, they offer good hip and back support.

This is a four-door and there is ample room in the back seat for a couple of adults, plus Kia includes a monster 19.4 cubic feet of cargo room behind the rear seat. Fold it down — it splits and folds flat —​ there’s 54.5 cubic feet of room. That’s even more than last week’s roomy Renegade. Plus there is even some storage under the cargo floor for small items or tools.

I got 35.6 miles per gallon in about an even mix of city and highway. As with all hybrids, city mileage is projected to be better than highway. EPA says to expect 46 mpg city and 40 highway. It’s possible my love of the Sport setting cut into my mpg a bit.

Also note that the Touring model, because of weight added by its plethora of desirable equipment, gets lower mpg than other Niro models with less content. Those are expected to average about 49 mpg, says the EPA.

The Kia Niro FE starts at just $22,890, which bests many of its competitors, including the Prius V Two, Honda HR-V and Ford C-Max to name a few.

There are five trim levels. From the FE, pricing moves up to $23,200 for the LX, $25,700 for the EX, $28,000 for the Touring Launch Edition and $29,650 for the tested Touring model, which added only floor mats for $130 and an $895 delivery fee to hit $30,675.

So if you want hybrid efficiency that’s fun to drive and looks less nerdy than a Prius, this is a stellar choice, in fact, the only real choice. Niro is a winner and deserves a test drive if you’re in the hybrid market, or if you just want a good-looking car that delivers a fun, comfortable drive with super mpg.

Source: http://www.jsonline.com/story/money/2017/04/07/kia-niro-touring-loaded-surprises/100181018/

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Stinger Fastback Sedan Leads Way Upmarket for Kia

Kia’s upper-brand strategy appears similar to the approach its Hyundai affiliate took in launching its separate Genesis line. But it’s not clear whether Kia will go global with this plan or keep it within South Korea. 

SEOUL – Kia’s rollout of its’18 Stinger at the Seoul auto show was both a preview of the fastback sports sedan for the domestic market and an historical moment in the evolution of the automaker’s marketing strategy, an executive says.

With the Stinger, Kia is launching the automaker’s new premium-line strategy for Korea, according to Chang Sik Kim, executive vice president-sales and marketing.

The Stinger is the first of several high-priced rear-wheel-drive models that will wear a new “E” class sub-brand badge, he says.

“We at Kia Motors have made strenuous efforts to increase our brand value,” Kim explains. “Our premium lineup of rear-wheel-drive cars starts with Stinger, which will be marketing leveraged to Kia’s strength in design competitiveness.

“Next year a large premium model will be added to the premium line when we introduce the successor to the current K9 (called the K900 in the U.S. and Canada and Quoris in other international markets).”

Kim explains the premium line will be marketed separately but will remain under the Kia brand umbrella. All vehicles in the premium lineup will wear a new “E” badge to differentiate them, he says.

The badge consists of the new premium-line logo, which is formed with a stylized capital letter “E” surrounded by a broad silver circle. As applied to the Stinger, the vehicle’s name appears understatedly embossed in the lower portion of the circle.

When other brands are added to the lineup, the logo will remain the same, with the name of the vehicle applied to the bottom half of the circle.

It’s not clear whether Kia will take this premium-line strategy global or keep it within South Korea. Korea may be a test bed for the new upscale marketing concept.

Kia’s upper-brand strategy appears similar to the approach its Hyundai affiliate took in launching its separate Genesis line.

A spokesperson tells WardsAuto Kia’s new premium-line strategy applies only to South Korea for now. The new logo will be used only on vehicles sold in Korea, she says.

Gregory Guillaume, chief designer at the Kia European Design Center, spoke at the Stinger’s unveiling in Seoul about the coupe his Frankfurt-based team designed.

Guillaume says the Stinger is all about the joy of grand touring, of driving in open spaces and about passion, but “not with a burning desire to arrive at a destination first.”

Kia President Peter Schreyer, who is the chief design officer for both Kia and Hyundai, attended the auto-show presentation. He stayed very close to the team during development of the GT Concept on which the Stinger is based, and throughout every moment of the production car’s design evolution.

Schreyer is pleased with the outcome, and that Kia’s “latest baby,” as he calls it, has inspired the new premium-line strategy in South Korea.

One of the Stingers featured at the show was specially prepared to show off a new high-strength, lightweight carbon-fiber kit that includes the grille surround, air intakes and hood vents.

Also revealed at the show was a new speed spec for the Stinger equipped with a 365-hp twin-turbo V-6 and manual transmission. In that package the Stinger can hit 0-100 km/h (62 mph) in just 4.9 seconds, meaning it can do the traditional American 0-60 mph (161-km) sprint even faster.

The Stinger also is offered in Korea with a 251-hp 2.0L inline turbocharged 4-cyl. gasoline mill. Diesels are big sellers in Korea, so a 202-hp 2.2L turbodiesel is available in that market.

The Stinger will sell in Korea in both 2-wheel and all-wheel-drive versions.

Source: http://wardsauto.com/technology/stinger-fastback-sedan-leads-way-upmarket-kia

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

KIA MOTORS AMERICA ANNOUNCES MARCH SALES

IRVINE, Calif., April 3, 2017 – Kia Motors America today announced March sales of 49,429 units, led by the Forte family of compact cars with 10,289 units sold. The month also saw sales of the all-new Niro** climb to 2,704 units in the crossover’s second full month of availability.

About Kia Motors America
Headquartered in Irvine, California, Kia Motors America is the marketing and distribution arm of Kia Motors Corporation based in Seoul, South Korea. Recognized as one of the 100 Best Global Brands and 50 Best Global Green Brands by Interbrand, Kia proudly serves as the "Official Automotive Partner" of the NBA and LPGA and offers a complete range of vehicles sold through a network of nearly 800 dealers in the U.S., including cars and crossovers built at North American manufacturing plants in West Point, Georgia* and the municipality of Pesqueria in the state of Nuevo Leon, Mexico.
For media information, including photography, visit www.kiamedia.com.  To receive custom email notifications for press releases the moment they are published, subscribe at www.kiamedia.com/us/en/newsalert.



  MONTH OF MARCH
YEAR-TO-DATE
Model
2017
2016
2017
2016
Rio
1,246
2,475
3,072
5,366
Forte
10,289
10,406
25,062
23,922
Optima
10,204
11,725
26,945
29,768
Cadenza
437
593
1,125
1,552
K900
43
95
108
246
Niro
2,704
N/A
4,889
N/A
Sportage
5,560
6,804
15,414
17,467
Sorento
7,751
9,897
20,775
24,693
Sedona
2,769
4,241
6,418
10,231
Soul
8,426
12,043
23,920
33,076
Total
49,429
58,279
127,728
146,321
# # #


* The Sorento and Optima GDI (EX, SX & Limited and certain LX Trims only) are assembled in the United States from U.S. and globally sourced parts.

** Quantities are limited.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Kia Sorento SUV offers three rows, top crash safety results

The 2017 Kia Sorento is a mid-size crossover that delivers oft-coveted third-row seating and the even more rare 100,000-mile Kia warranty. The ability to seat seven puts Sorento in an exclusive club, and Sorento impresses with its interior dimensions and excellent fuel economy.

In its 2016 redesign, this new Sorento got an uptick in its wheelbase and length by about three inches to increase cabin space and inch out the closest competition from Toyota and Honda.

The Sorento is an attractive mid-size SUV that looks modern, sophisticated and flowing, aerodynamic on the highway and around town. Long, lean lines and a tight nose make the available space inside ample. Look for standard 17-inch rims with bigger upgrades available.

Inside the Sorento you will find soft-touch surfaces and wide, comfortable seating. While top-line Limited models get soft leather seats, the base and mid lines are equally accommodating.

A contemporary dash blends straightforward backlit gauges with easy-to-see technology highlights and warnings. The front-row and second-row seats are comfortable, but the third row is smallish. Cargo space behind the third row is limited, but fold the seats down and there’s plenty of room for larger items. A hidden rear subfloor on lower trim models is a huge benefit to storage.

Kia’s Smart Liftgate makes it even easier to open the Sorento’s optional power hatch when your hands are full by eliminating the need for a push button on the SUV’s key fob and allowing you to simply stand near the rear for a few seconds with the fob in your pocket, and the liftgate opens.

The Sorento offers three powerplants. A 2.4-liter four-cylinder base engine delivers a respectable 185 horsepower, while a robust 3.3-liter V-6 offers up 290 horsepower. The turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder with 240 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque is a game changer for this size vehicle. I tested this setup, and it was a surprisingly responsive engine.

Mated to a standard six-speed automatic transmission, each powertrain offers either a front-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive option. Look for a locking differential that splits the drive 50/50 front/rear. The V-6 is best for towing with its 5,000-pound rating.

The base 2.4-liter engine gets an EPA-estimated 21 mpg city, 29 highway and 24 combined. The V-6 drops to 17/23/19 mpg, and the new turbo four 20/27/23 mpg. All those specs are with front-wheel drive; all-wheel drive brings the mileage down by one mile per gallon.

The Sorento earns top crash test results in all five categories from the IIHS, as well as five stars from the NHTSA. Standard safety equipment includes side airbags and active head rests in front, and side and curtain airbags with rollover sensor. Extensive active safety features are available.

The 2017 Kia Sorento mid-size SUV packs value, good looks, a load of amenities and one of the best warranties in the business. The 2017 Sorento L has a base price of $25,400 for the four-cylinder with front- or all-wheel drive and a high-water mark of $43,900 for the V-6-powered SX Limited. An amply packed equipment package, the warranty and AWD make it an uncompromising consideration in this segment.

Source: http://chicago.suntimes.com/autos/kia-sorento-suv-offers-three-rows-top-crash-safety-results/