Thanks to losing my car to the repair shop for a week, I got to do what any new car shopper SHOULD be able to do for a test drive: take it on a family road trip “Wally World” style and then experience it for a week of normal everyday life. But before I get into what happened with me and the 2013 Kia Sorento, a little background.
It was 2009 when I had my first taste of what Kia, the South Korean car maker, had to offer. I was headed to a job interview in Florida and when I picked up my economy class rental car, the agency gave me a Kia Rio.
It was a solid subcompact and offered a smooth ride, if lacking a bit in physical appeal and standard features. But perhaps it was also lucky, as I ended up getting the job.
Fast forward three years. I now have a great SUV and am not in the market for a new one. However my baby was laid up in auto ER, and I needed a rental. Economy class was not going to cut it as I was taking the family and a cousin from Seoul on a three hour sojourn to Disneyworld.
I grabbed the best SUV I could afford for the weekend trip, which happened to be Kia’s new 2013 Sorento SX FWD V6. I had my reservations going with another Kia, but I remembered that the Rio was a solid drive and this new Sorento SX actually looked very modern, stylish, and sporty.
Got everyone loaded up and we hit the road. As the road trip progressed, we began to notice different things about the car. First, the interior: it had what I can only describe as a space age, IMAX Theatre-like front windshield. Loved the air cooled driver’s seat which brought much relief in the Florida heat as the outside temps rose above 98 degrees. Surprisingly, it had the look and feel of a much more expensive SUV.
An even better surprise was the improved drivability. This was most noticeable when we entered Orlando and had to take U-turns and windy turns everywhere. The Sorento SX had an outstanding turn radius combined with very little pull.
Following the Disney trip my car still had five days left in the shop, so I motored on with the SX.
Sometimes when you get over the “shiny new object” giddiness, you start to notice drawbacks and weakness. I figured, 5 more days was enough for the honeymoon to wear off. Again to my surprise, this did not happen. There was room to spread out but I did not feel like I was driving a bus. Both kids and adults found the third row to be roomy. Loved the gadgets galore on this particular model (not sure if they are standard or what). For a gadget freak like me, when I drive a car that comes with USB/Auxiliary jacks, Bluetooth, push button ignition, and UVO reverse camera display, I hear the “AAAAHHH” of angels singing.
The Camera display with its helpful location borders was something I regularly felt was very helpful as I could now see if I had that extra foot or two behind me when backing out of the tight parking spots at work. The Sirius radio and straightforward controls on the dash in general upgraded my drive to and from work.
Then there was the mileage. My own SUV makes me fill up the tank once a week. But after a week of commuting to work in the SX I still had over a half a tank of gas left!
I’ll admit it was somewhat of a letdown when my freshly repaired car had to be picked up, and I had to turn in my rented toy. It had turned a dreaded three hour death march into a fun road trip. My daily commute felt like I’d been upgraded to business class. But I’m still in denial: I don’t need a new car.
I just need that Sorento…