For 2007, the Kia Sorento receives a facelift and engine upgrade.

The 3.5-litre V6 of 2006 has been replaced with a 3.8-litre V6, with a 30 per cent improvement in horsepower but with better fuel economy. Overall length increases by 20 mm. A facelift gives the Sorento a new grille, front and rear bumpers, head- and taillamps and new alloy wheels; inside, there’s a new gauge cluster, floor console and woodgrain colour.

There’s also new electronic stability control, traction control, dual-zone automatic temperature control, driver’s knee airbag, monotone cladding to replace the previous two-tone cladding, 17-inch wheels, and optional all-black interior.

The Sorento is a body-on-frame SUV with four-wheel drive; its 3.8-litre V6 is mated to a five-speed automatic transmission.

Previously available in three trim levels, the Sorento now comes in a single line, the LX Luxury. Features include 17-inch alloy wheels, power sunroof, deep-tint privacy glass, heated mirrors, fog lamps, front end and fuel tank skid plates, front and rear tow hooks, full-size spare with alloy wheel, cruise control, dual-zone automatic climate control, CD/MP3 stereo with wheel-mounted controls, power windows, power locks with keyless entry, trip computer, eight-way power driver’s seat, heated leather seats, 60/40 folding rear seat, leather-wrapped wheel, variable intermittent wipers, rear washer/wiper, and front windshield de-icer.

The Sorento’s facelift is a good one, smoothing out its rough edges and turning this SUV into something equally at home in the city or out managing the rough stuff. The power increase is very welcome, as the previous engine was sluggish, and towing capacity increases to a maximum of 5,000 lbs from 3,500 lbs; the interior is comfortable and well finished, with numerous new features. Still, U.S. buyers get stripped-down versions, including a two-wheel drive model; it would be nice to keep the price down on this handy little hauler with a less-luxurious model.

Connect with