Odometer at pick-up: 427 km
Odometer Current: 4,694 km (4,267 by Autos.ca)
Fuel Consumption: 13.1 L/100 km
Costs: $524.27

As eager as we are to dive into our driving impressions on this redesigned Sorento, the first order of business with any larger SUV has to be its practicality and interior packaging. It may not be as sexy as horsepower and handling, but this is where the Sorento has long been a value leader in this right-sized seven-seat SUV and crossover category. The Sorento is a big seller in Canada (consistently selling about 14K for each of the past five years) and the States (over 100K each year for the past six), and the recent refresh of the Sorento should serve it well in this popular category and should help it grow its market share.

This is no tiny little ute, so it is a reasonable size for most any family, whether it’s just a single child with bulky child gear up to an active family of five with the occasional in-law along for the ride. The Sorento is shorter, narrower and with a shorter wheelbase than competitors like the Toyota Highlander, Honda Pilot, Nissan Pathfinder or Explorer, yet it matches or exceeds them in legroom and interior passenger volume. Seating is supremely spacious in the first second rows and similarly cramped as most others in the class in the row three.

Production Editor Andy Lin braved the third row, and found the seats reasonable aside from the typical squatting position, though headroom may be tight for an adult. Third-row occupants are even treated to some storage trays, cupholders and their own vents. The second row has more than enough room for most any size, with perks like seat heaters, reclining seatback, vents and a charging port for your devices.

Adults installing child seats or children will be happy with the wide door opening, easily accessed LATCH anchors and easy maneuverability of the seat itself for attaching the tether, whose anchor is mounted conveniently high on the seatback. Many parents will also appreciate the rear window sun shades in hot summer months.

The front seats are more of a mixed bag. They are power adjustable in several ways, including four-way lumbar support, and the head rest can be raised and lowered and moved fore and aft. The seat is comfortable and supportive, but I have issues with the headrest – even at its rearmost position, it is too far forward and feels like it is pushing my head forward, an issue exacerbated by hooded winter jackets and scarves. It has quite literally caused a pain in my neck that has been lingering for the past month. When I had occasion to spend several days in another vehicle over the holidays, the pain gradually dissipated, only to return in full force upon the Sorento’s return.

First Impressions: Long-Term Test Arrival: 2016 Kia Sorento SX

However, it seems only fair to provide a different perspoective as my experience is likely to be an exception rather than the rule. Justin Couture borrowed the Sorento for his annual holiday family road trip to Montreal and foind the seating exemplary in many regards: ” It’s easy to get comfortable in the driver’s seat. Although editor Yarkony finds the head rests protrude uncomfortably forward, they worked fine for my 5’10” frame. I had no issues finding a suitable driving position either with a steering column that generously adjusts for reach and rake, and a driver’s seat that’s not merely heated, but cooled and with a power operated thigh support. Over the five-and-a-half-hour drive, I found these to be fatigue free — as good as any other European brand. I’m a big fan of the chunky HVAC knobs and the tabs to control the heated steering wheel and seats – it’s proof you can have functionality and style simultaneously. If only the infotainment system functioned as nicely as it looked; it’s easy to use and input directions into the navigation system, but it consistently failed to recognize my iPhone when plugged in to the USB port. Rear-seat passengers loved the fact that there were roller blinds and heated rear seats.”

That generous passenger space comes at the expense of cargo space. As with most any other SUV in this mid- to large-ish segment, once you deploy the third row cargo capacity is severely limited, but the Sorento’s 320 L of space with all seats up and maximum 2,066 L of cargo space with all rows stowed. In its most common five-seat configuration (at least in our four-person household that is how it spends 90 percent of its time), the seven-seat Sorento offers 1,077 L of cargo space behind a raised second row, and a handy sliding tonneau cover that can be stowed in a dedicated slot in a nifty hidden storage compartment. What the Sorento lacks for in overall storage (it’s really no better than a Honda CR-V), it makes up for with 50/50 split-folding third row seats and 40/20/40 split second row that also slides fore and aft for slight variation in cargo and passenger space.

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