May 13, 2013
Reviewed By Chester Allen
Price as Tested $38,550: 3.3-liter DOHC V6 engine, 6-speed automatic transmission with Sportmatic independent front and rear suspension. All-wheel drive with locking center differential. 19-inch alloy wheels, ABS brakes, electronic stability control.
Likes

The mileage was better than advertised. On a long road trip, I got close to 27 mpg, which is far better than the EPA fuel economy statement. The seats were very comfortable, and the navigation system was easy to use and read while driving – without becoming a distraction. Satellite radio is made for the long, remote stretches of road that are part of the deal for many all-wheel-drive vehicle users. The brakes were firm and controlled the car well.

Dislikes

Here at SCM, we are lucky enough to drive a lot of cars in the $35k–$40k range, and I spent a lot of my trip wondering about value for money. This is a competent all-wheel-drive SUV, but I wouldn’t dream about taking it down a long, muddy gravel road. Why? It just wasn’t set up for that kind of driving in terms of tires or suspension. So, what can this car do better — in terms of driving on mud, snow and ice —  than my $28k Subaru Outback? The answer: Nothing. The folding third-row seat was useless and just ate up storage space. The rear spoiler will never fool anyone into thinking that the Sorento once competed at Le Mans, so why is it there?

Verdict

This is a good SUV that will get you through any snow, ice or mud on your daily commute to work, school and grocery store. The car was less confident on very modest dirt or gravel roads, and it didn’t like a 50-foot trip down a algae-coated gravel launch ramp to pick up fly fishing equipment. This is not a vehicle for hard-core outdoor people. The build quality was good. This is a good SUV if the road to your adventures is paved.

Fun to Drive
3.0 rating
Fun to Look at
2.0 rating
Overall Experience
4.0 rating
Stats
EPA Mileage 18/24