Interior view of the 2016 Kia Sorento SXL.


The mid-sized sport utility market is crowded and confusing to most people. Parents don’t need any more confusion here, as life with kids is cluttered and complicated enough. Enter 2016 Kia Sorento, a family-friendly crossover, that’s feature rich, writes our automotive editor Sally Miller Wyatt. – @Siliconeer #Siliconeer #2016KiaSorento #Kia #Lifestyle #crossover


We’re so busy, we just need someone to steer us toward a car that has all the latest in safety features and lots of seatbelts for our growing tribe, good gas mileage to help out the budget and yet still has plenty of room for the mountain of groceries these teens are consuming.

Hello, Kia Sorento. It’s a Crossover Utility Vehicle (CUV) that was first unveiled in 2013, and for the 2016 models is now all new. Buyers will find lots of new things on this model year, most significantly more room—three more inches in the passenger compartment and more than two cubic feet of cargo space. All your passengers are sure to appreciate the ability to stretch out a bit more. The 2016 Sorento also has a stronger body structure, increased towing capacity if you have lots of toys, and a newly available 2.0-liter turbocharged engine.

But one very family-friendly feature remains unchanged on the Sorento: This vehicle has a third row of seats, which is always a bonus for families. It also has a lengthy list of safety features, starting with that new structure, with its advanced high-strength steel and structural enforcement. It not only reinforces the passenger cabin, it also creates a really comfortable and quiet ride.

Other standard safety features include such things as active headrests, six air bags, Electronic Stability Control, Traction Control, Brake Assist, Anti-lock Braking System, and Electronic Brake Distribution. And, these are all standard, which means you’re getting top-of-the-line braking technology no matter if you’ve selected the base model or the top-of-the-line model. Also available is Rollover Mitigation and Cornering Brake Control on the AWD models.

Exterior view of the 2016 Kia Sorento SXL.

Exterior view of the 2016 Kia Sorento SXL.

Other top-flight safety features that are available on Sorentos include Forward Collision Warning, Smart Cruise Control, Blind Spot Detection, which helps you spot cars lurking in that pesky blind spot, Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Surround View Monitor. I am becoming a bigger fan of these warning systems as time rolls on, as they are especially useful in crowded parking lots, or if your newly trained driver is using the car.

The 2016 Kia Sorento is available in four trim levels: the LX, EX and SX and SX Limited, with a choice of three engines: a thrifty 2.4-liter GDI four-cylinder engine, a 3.3-liter V6 GDI, and that previously mentioned 2.0-liter GDI turbocharged engine.

Exterior view of the 2016 Kia Sorento SXL.

Exterior view of the 2016 Kia Sorento SXL.

Kia Sorentos are built on a chassis that was designed to improve ride and handling, through the Electric Motor Driven Power Steering feature. Our test car was fitted with the V-6 engine, which offered absolutely effortless and swift acceleration, and the power steering feature offered nimble handling, even on a car this size.

Parents will love the Sorento’s seatbelt situation. It is available as a five- or seven-passenger vehicle, and either way you’re going to have plenty of foot, head and hip room for your passengers. But, if you go with the seven-passenger version, that third row folds flat when you don’t need it, creating a large cargo area.

Inside the Kia Sorento, you’ll find an instrument panel includes an 8-inch LCD touch-screen that incorporates navigation, SiriusXM Traffic and Radio. A premium Infinity sound system is also available.

Our test car also had a power rear liftgate, which is such a terrific convenience to have when your hands are full. Heated and ventilated seats are available as an option.

Exterior view of the 2016 Kia Sorento SXL.

Exterior view of the 2016 Kia Sorento SXL.

Overall, we have found that previous versions of the Kia Sorento were extremely family-friendly choices, but things just get better with these 2016 models. If you have a growing family, you may find the Kia Sorento has just the right amount of flexibility and function.