Kia Sorento SX V6 AWD

Did you know this stat? Women affect 80% of car buying decisions! (Why isn’t this column in O magazine?) Maybe that explains the surplus of SUVs and crossovers on the road. This is a gross generalization but I find that women love them because they make the driver feel powerful. Here’s another stat. Gasoline rose 3¢ per litre since yesterday. Maybe a big SUV with a weighty all-wheel drive and gutsy V6 engine isn’t top of your list. But if it’s on hers, you won’t regret taking the Kia Sorento SX for a spin.

Kia’s certainly not afraid to bling it on: the Sorento includes smartkey with push-button start, 18” chrome wheels, more leather on the seats and trim than a cattle ranch, sunroof and, as my wife noticed, plenty of cup-holders. Rear camera navigation is always a treat but when you live downtown it’s a blessing – especially given the next subject.

5 ½ feet tall, over 15 feet long and 6 wide, this is a big car. There’s stadium seating when you unfold the 3rd row seats. Go to the drive-in a la Fred Flintstone and put Dino’s head through the sunroof. It’s no Smartcar on fuel consumption but, given its bulk and any reticence you may feel about further escalating gasoline prices, it does OK: 11.1 L/100 km in town and 7.9 on the highway.

But it’s the drive!
Despite its bulk, the Sorento drives like a much smaller, sportier car. The big 3.5L V6 engine helps. Steptronic transmission lets you keep it in low gear as it rips up hills. But its biggest revelation happens in the corners. In the past, Kia’s OEM Macpherson suspension with struts and stabilizer bars has earned much pounding on the roads and praise in this column. Once again, two thumbs and one sore butt up! Very tight and sporty indeed.

Don’t get hung up on its soccer mom dimensions. The Sorento is more great white shark than lumbering whale. Remember, there’s still that remaining 20% of the decision you get to make.

Base Price: $40,895
As Driven: $42,845

Image courtesy of Stradablog.

This is a test