Odometer at pick-up: 427 km
Odometer Current: 6,725 km (6,298 by Autos.ca)
Fuel Consumption: 13.1 L/100 km
Costs: $787.85 (gas $744.97; oil change $42.88)

I finally get to talk about the Kia Sorento’s driving qualities. Sure, the interior packaging is a far more relevant and crucial aspect of the vehicle in this segment, but Kia already had that sorted. The driving, not so much. Until now.

The Sorento is a pleasure to drive. I don’t mean that in a “for a seven-seat SUV” way, I simply enjoy driving it. I’m not claiming it’s any sort of Boxster or Hellcat, but for a daily driving family vehicle, it is perfectly enjoyable to drive. I would gladly pick this over plenty of sedans and hatchbacks (okay, not the Golf), because it is virtually equal in day-to-day drivability with all of the added utility we raved about in our first update.

At the heart of the Sorento’s performance is a 3.3L direct-injection V6 that powers the 1,860-kg ute with 290 hp and 252 lb-ft of torque, and even in modest Eco mode, the Sorento’s is lively and eager to move long with traffic. Eco mode moderates throttle response for more judicious, temperate acceleration and response, which I find acceptable as it also smooths out my often jerky inputs. It’s a mellowing influence, and I find myself in the right lane as often as not, just cruising along relaxingly, enjoying the fine stereo and steady, comfortable highway comportment.

There’s nothing like a road trip to experience a car’s highway manners, and Justin Couture’s trip to Montreal revealed the improvements in the Sorento’s road manners. “Road and wind noise are kept at bay, and considering the big 19-inch wheels were shod in typically noisy winter rubber, the Sorento was astonishingly quiet at speed. Very stable on the highway and at high speeds, feels solid and doesn’t mind clicking along at 130 or higher. Suspension damping, long a problem of the old Sorento has been cured – the dual-rate dampers soak up all manner of crumbling Quebec infrastructure without any harshness or crashiness. Thoughts of Volkswagen keep entering my head.”

Catch up on our Kia Sorento reports.

But there’s more to it than just a comfortable highway cruiser. Roughly the size of an Edge or Murano, the Sorento offers three rows of seating roomy enough for transporting six adults in a way that the Nissan Rogue or Mitsubishi Outlander can’t, yet, at the same time, it’s nowhere near as bulky or cumbersome as full-size three-row crossovers like the Pathfinder, Explorer or Traverse. For most, this makes the Kia a comfortable and functional “right size” choice. As one of the smallest in the mid-size segment, the Sorento is manageable in tighter quarters, and it’s quick, light steering make city driving easy on the arms. However, outward visibility is a bit of an issue, and my wife noted that “The A-pillar is to wide, making left turns a bitch, and the big mirrors don’t help.” She’s not the first one to note that Kia’s wide A-pillars cause difficulties in forward visibility, obstructing the view of pedestrians attempting to cross sometimes.

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