|Midsize SUV; Built in South Korea|
|Good condition price range: $3,900 – $16,000*|
2003 Kia Sorento
2004 Kia Sorento
2003 Kia Sorento
Kia Sorento interior
Sorento has been priced like a compact SUV when new, yet it acts like a midsize and impresses for its interior decor and features-per-dollar, as well as Kia’s generous warranty. South Korean vehicles tend to suffer from poor resale value, so a Sorento could be quite appealing in price on the used-car market.
Introduced for 2003, the Sorento was a five-passenger sport-utility vehicle, priced to compete with compact SUVs. Similar in size and weight to the Jeep Grand Cherokee, however, the Sorento offered the size, power, and type of construction more typical of larger, midsize models.
With its separate body-on-frame design and heavy-duty four-wheel-drive system, this model bucked the trend toward car-based unibody construction. The sole engine was a 192-horsepower, 3.5-liter V6, also used in Kia’s Sedona minivan. A four-speed automatic was the only transmission.
Two-wheel drive and a choice of two four-wheel-drive systems were available. Both 4WD systems had a limited-slip rear axle and low-range gearing, but the extra-cost Torque-On-Demand setup could be left engaged on dry pavement.
LX and upscale EX trim levels were offered. On both versions, head-protecting curtain side airbags for the front and rear seats were standard, but antilock braking was optional.
All Sorentos had 16-inch wheels, a rear liftgate with separate-opening rear window, and a full-size spare tire mounted beneath the rear underbody. Air conditioning, power windows/locks/mirrors, cruise control, a CD player, and 60/40 split folding rear seatback were standard.
Kia was owned by Hyundai, and the South Korean companies shared warranty coverage of 5 years/50,000 miles bumper-to-bumper, 10/100,000 powertrain, and a 5-year/unlimited-mileage roadside assistance. Competitive vehicles included the Ford Explorer, Honda Pilot, Nissan Xterra, and Toyota Highlander.
A manual transmission and a Sport Package became available for the 2004 model year. The four-speed automatic transmission was joined by a new five-speed manual. Torque-On-Demand 4WD was included in the optional Luxury Package. Also for 2004, LX models offered a Sport Package with the new manual transmission, side steps, alloy wheels, keyless entry, and a roof rack.
A five-speed automatic transmission edged aside the four-speed unit this year. A five-speed manual gearbox also remained available.
No changes in 2006 for the Sorento.
Kia’s midsize SUV got more power for 2007, plus standard ABS and traction/antiskid control. It retained a V6 engine, but replaceed a 192-hp 3.5-liter with a 262-hp 3.8-liter. Previously optional, ABS became standard, as did new-for-’07 traction/antiskid control. All ’07 Sorentos also got minor appearance changes inside and out.
Base and LX models got “downgraded” to a 242-hp 3.3-liter V6, while the top-line EX retained a 262-hp 3.8.
Sorento got slightly freshened exterior styling.