The Kia Sorrento is the company's bestselling vehicle by a wide margin. The Sorento's dramatic 2011 makeover struck a chord with American buyers and the newly designed crossover broke sales records within months of its release. Luckily, instead of resting on their laurels, the good people at Kia have pushed the new 2012 Sorento even closer to perfection. The 2012 Sorento features a number of changes, but leaves the dramatic exterior created by former Audi designer Peter Schreyer virtually untouched. Most of this year's changes are under the hood and in the interior, with a special focus on fuel efficiency and entertainment options.
Following a popular trend, Sorento's 2.4-liter I4 engine gets a boost from a new gasoline direct injection (GDI) system. This type of system produces engines with more horses and less thirst. In the Sorento's case, the horsepower increases to 200-hp from its previous 175-hp.Fuel efficiency also improves from 2011's very respectable 21-mpg in the city and 29-mpg for highway driving to 2012's slightly better 22-mpg in the city and 32-mpg out of town. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard on all trims, as are new chromed dual exhaust tips and optional power-folding side mirrors. The 2012 model also features an updated return to the five-spoke wheel design popular with early Kia owners.
Inside the vehicle, the seats and entertainment systems have received major attention. The fabric in Kia's YES essential seat treatment has anti-staining and anti-bacterial properties, and the seats themselves have enhanced heating, cooling and adjustment options. Improved interior lighting perks up the vehicle's ambience and the SX trim has a gorgeous heated wood-trimmed steering wheel, but the real excitement here is in the new entertainment system.
The new hands-free, voice-activated entertainment and communication system is the product of Kia's collaboration with Microsoft, and it's just as good as it should be. The system is named Uvo, and it's the first in-vehicle entertainment system that utilizes Microsoft's latest speech engine technologies. The system offers high-quality entertainment and allows drivers and passengers to use their personalized technologies safely. With entertainment systems becoming a standard option for most vehicles, Uvo provides users with top-of-the-line experience. Uvo is refreshingly simple to use, and seems specifically designed to keep even small children entertained. This system, combined with the vehicle's sleek exterior design and stain resistant seats, make the 2012 model nearly irresistible to young families?one of the Sorento's major target markets.