Release date 06/01/2010
YONKERS, NY — The redesigned Kia Sorento EX V6 model posted an “Excellent” overall score topping Consumer Reports’ tests of four small and midsized SUVs for the July 2010 issue.
The Kia Sorento EX V6 earned an overall road-test score of 82, outperforming two versions of the freshened Hyundai Santa Fe, including the Limited V6, which earned an “Excellent” 80, and the 4-cylinder GLS, which earned a “Very Good” 73.
The Sorento now ranks third among small and midsized SUVs, behind only the Subaru Forester 2.5XT and the Toyota RAV4 V6 in CR’s ratings. This month, Consumer Reports’ engineers also did a face-off between the mildly freshened Honda CR-V and the new Hyundai Tucson small SUVs, with the CR-V improving slightly with a “Very Good” road test score of 76 and the Tucson scoring a “Very Good” 70.
“The Sorento now ranks among the better SUVs Consumer Reports has tested,” said David Champion, senior director of Consumer Reports’ Auto Test Center in East Haddam, Connecticut. “It’s a competent vehicle that strikes a good balance of passenger room and size at a good price.”
While the Santa Fe and CR-V are Recommended, the Sorento and Tucson are not Recommended because they are too new for Consumer Reports to have reliability data. CR only Recommends vehicles that have performed well in its tests, have at least average predicted reliability based on CR’s Annual Auto Survey of its more than seven million print and Web subscribers, and performed at least adequately if crash-tested or included in a government rollover test.
Prices ranged from $25,730 for the four-cylinder Santa Fe to $32,390 for the Sorento EX V6.
Full tests and ratings for all five SUVs appear in the July issue of Consumer Reports, which goes on sale June 1. The reports are also available to subscribers of www.consumerreports.org. Updated daily, ConsumerReports.org is the go-to site for the latest auto reviews, product news, blogs on breaking news and car buying information.
The Kia Sorento straddles the small and midsized SUV categories and a small third-row seat adds utility. It has a very firm ride. The Sorento EX V6 ($32,390 Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price as tested), is powered by a 276-hp, 3.5-liter V6 engine that is smooth and powerful and gets 20 mpg overall in CR’s own fuel economy tests. The six-speed automatic transmission shifts smoothly. Braking is very good. The interior is nicely finished and everything fits well. With the rear seats folded, cargo room is moderate.
The Hyundai Santa Fe rides better than the Sorento and handling is secure and responsive. Both the four-cylinder GLS and six-cylinder Limited versions of the Santa Fe have compliant rides and absorb bumps well. The Santa Fe Limited V6 ($31,330 MSRP as tested), is powered by a 276-hp, 3.5-liter V6 engine that is refined and powerful and get 20 mpg overall. The six-speed automatic transmission shifts smoothly. Braking is very good. Fit and finish has slipped since CR last tested the Santa Fe in 2007. The rear seatbacks fold forward to create large space and a floor that’s almost flat.
The freshened Honda CR-V is a practical, safe, and reliable small SUV that’s enjoyable to drive. The ride is pliant enough to absorb bumps and feels fairly agile in normal driving. The CR-V EX AWD ($25,805 MSRP as tested), is powered by a 180-hp, 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that gets 21 mpg overall. The five-speed automatic transmission is smooth and responsive. Braking is excellent. The hard plastic interior scratches easily. The rear seats can slide forward for cargo, and the 40/20/40-split seatbacks flip down individually for more room.
The redesigned Hyundai Tucson offers better fuel economy, straightforward controls, and responsive secure handling. But the ride is stiff, road noise is pronounced, and cargo space and visibility are sacrificed to styling. The Tucson GLS AWD ($24,090 MSRP as tested), is powered by a 170-hp, 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that delivers good performance and gets 22 mpg overall. The six-speed automatic transmission is smooth and responsive. Braking is excellent. The interior feels more enclosed than the CR-V, and the carpeting is thin. The 60/40-split rear seat creates a good-sized cargo hold.
With more than 7 million print and online subscribers, Consumer Reports is one of the most trusted sources for information and advice on consumer products and services. It conducts the most comprehensive auto-test program of any U.S. publication or Web site and owns and operates a 327-acre Auto Test Center in Connecticut. The organization’s auto experts have decades of experience in driving, testing, and reporting on cars. To subscribe, consumers can call 1-800-234-1645 or visit www.consumerreports.org.