We just happen to be going on a long road trip the week I'm writing this — from Seattle to California and back. We know we'll make it to San Francisco, about a 13.5-hour drive if we play it straight down I-5. We might throw in some other cities while we're on the move, if the kids are holding up. I know we'll survive in our 5-passenger hatchback, but…a girl can dream. Wouldn't it be nice if we were taking our road trip in a Kia Sorento instead? With advanced technology, sporty styling and a spacious interior, the Kia Sorento is the crossover everyone will want to drive, no matter where the road takes you.
Before we had two kids, back when we were shopping for a replacement for our 1997 Ford Escort that had had one too many things fall apart, we figured a somewhat larger 5-passenger car was plenty of room. Right? As it turns out, not so much. We're continually feeling the squeeze. And now that we're looking at possibly adding a third child — meaning a third child car seat as well — I'm not sure if our car will be able to take us all! I've been dreaming of future upgrades in passenger space and cargo capacity, and throwing in towing abilities for good measure — and the Kia Sorento, as a midsize crossover SUV, would be ideal. At a starting price of a little over $23,000, it’s also the crossover that makes the most sense to own. Let's imagine a road trip of Now vs. the fantasy of Then, shall we?
- Room to stretch out — Right now, we've got two car seats fitted next to each other like jigsaw pieces, and my husband has to squish alongside the baby's seat to keep him calm. When someone visits, we have only one extra passenger seat, so if the grandparents want to go along on road trip bliss, we have to rent a bigger car anyway. With the Kia Sorento, we'd have room to spare: space for seven passengers, no squishing required. The seats have remarkable head- and legroom, which will make it easy to fit anyone, from infant-seated babies to adult passengers.
- Plenty of cargo space — We're packing our hatchback as full as we can, with casual clothes, formal clothes, cloth diapers, toys, snacks, cooler…oy. The Kia Sorento has up to 72.5 cubic feet of cargo space, convenient for transporting suitcases, equipment, even furniture. Obviously, we'd need to keep the second-row seats up for our family trip, but the third row can fold down entirely or by half. The second-row seats split 60/40, so if we have something long to store (like skis), we can thread them beside the seats and still have room for five passengers. The trunk has concealed storage, perfect for organizing what would otherwise become an avalanche of trip detritus.
- Car camping made easy — When we road trip, we like to travel smart, and that can sometimes mean taking advantage of cheap lodging. What could be cheaper — and yet still ultra-convenient — than car-assisted camping? One thing I've sorely missed in our current car is towing capacity. I'd love to have the option to tow a trailer or pop-up camper. The Sorento offers up to 3,500 pounds of towing capacity, so no problem there! Given how much space there is in the rear with the seats folded down, we could even bunk some of us back there!
- Help getting there — I was born directionally challenged. A GPS is to my spatially deficient brain what glasses are to my nearsighted eyes: redemption! One of the optional features of the Sorento is a built-in voice command navigation system. Score! It also offers a rear-camera display, just in case, um, you don't follow the GPS exactly right and need to turn around somewhere. (Not saying this has ever happened to me.)
- Driving force — The redesigned Sorento has a unibody build that gives a smooth, car-like ride. It has a 6-speed automatic transmission or an option called Sportmatic, which offers clutch-free manual shifting (whoa! sounds like something James Bond would drive!), and a choice of three engines: 2.4L 4-cylinder, 2.4L gasoline direct injection 4-cylinder, and 3.5L V6. I'm going to assume someone knows what that all means, which is why I dutifully copied this info from the brochure. I'm more interested in the following point:
- Comfort for every passenger — What's above are nuts and bolts. What about the details that make the ride a joyride for everyone? The Kia Sorento doesn't disappoint there, either. One of my favorite features, and again, something I so so so wish our car had, is a sunroof. But not just any sunroof: a dramatically designed, tilt-and-slide panoramic sunroof. From the pictures, it fills the car with the sky, and I WANT it. Wouldn't a pseudo-convertible be just perfect for a California adventure?
Other helpful features (some optional):
- Cup holders for all: The better to inspire multiple pit stops, yes?
- Heated driver's and front passenger's seats, and air-cooled driver's seat: I love the idea that driving absolutely anywhere would be cozy!
- Push-button start: Just me or does this seem futuristic?
- High-tech seat fabric that resists stains: All the parents here know why I'm excited about this.
- Voice-activated Microsoft UVO Infotainment system: In-vehicle infotainment that responds to verbal commands? Now that is futuristic!
- Home again safely — One of the things we were most concerned about when we bought our present car was its safety rating. I'm happy to report that the Kia Sorento paid close attention to safety, providing peace of mind to parents who find themselves hurtling down highways with young children. It offers:
- Electronic Stability Control, which helps keep the Sorento on course during emergency maneuvering
- Traction Control System, transferring power to the wheels with the most traction
- Brake Assist System, helping you stop in time when urgent
- Electronic Brake-Force Distribution, which adjusts the balance of brake pressure as the vehicle's weight distribution changes
- Assistance on hills, up or down: Hill Start Assist Control (helps keep you from rolling downhill from a stop) and Downhill Brake Control (keeps your pace steady on a steep decline)
- Active headrests
- Seat-belt pretensioners
- Dual front airbags, front-seat-mounted side airbags, and side curtain airbags for both front and second-row seating positions
- Steel-reinforced body
- Rollover sensor
- Tire-pressure monitoring system
- LATCH system for child safety seats
- 2012 IIHS Top Safety Pick for 2013 Sorento
- NHTSA 5-Star Side-Impact Crash Rating
- Money money money — Ah, yes, but what's the cost of all this luxuriousness? The Kia Sorento starts in at just over $23,000, making it an affordable midsize crossover option. Given the price of gas, I'm also glad to see this isn't a guzzler. It starts at an impressive 22 city/32 highway estimated fuel economy in miles per gallon, comparable to our 5-passenger car for road trip purposes. I know one of my concerns with buying an SUV or just a larger car in general was the environmental impact, so I'm glad to see Kia has taken this point seriously. The 18-gallon tank will mean fewer stops to refuel, leaving you more time on the road. I also appreciate that the Sorento is assembled in the USA, bringing jobs to our local economy.
All in all, I'd much rather be road tripping in a Kia Sorento right about now. What do you think?
If your family needs a bigger car to do road trips justice, crossover to the unexpected with a Kia Sorento! Explore the possibilities at Kia.com to learn more about how the Sorento can make your road trip a joyride.
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