Following its European debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show, Kia has now released details on the U.S. market 2011 Sorento that will be the first vehicle to be built at the firm’s new plant in West Point, Georgia. The second generation Sorento that ditches the previous model’s ladder-frame chassis for a unibody design has grown in size measuring 184.4 inches in length and 74.2 inches in width and can fit up to seven passengers in three rows of seats.
According to Kia, aside from the increased head and legroom, the 2011 Sorento also boasts nearly five cubic feet more in cargo capacity (9.1 cu.ft. with all seats up; 37.0 cu.ft. with the third row down; 72.5 cu.ft. with all rows down).
The line-up includes an entry-level 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine outputting 172 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 166 lb-ft of torque at 3,750 rpm that can coupled to a six-speed manual gearbox or optionally, an electronically-controlled six-speed automatic transmission.
The FWD Sorento 2.4 returns 21mpg city and 28mpg highway with the manual gearbox and 21mpg / 29mpg with the automatic while the 4WD model with the auto box, 20mpg / 28mpg respectively.
The range-topping Sorento comes with a larger 3.5-liter V6 unit producing 273 horsepower at 6,300 rpm and 247 lb-ft of torque at 5,000 rpm. Offered exclusively with a six-speed auto, the Sorento 3.5 returns an estimated fuel economy of 20mpg city and 28mpg highway for the FWD model and 19mpg / 27mpg for the 4WD version.
The vehicle’s standard equipment in the States will include an AM/FM/CD/MP3/Sat audio system with SIRIUS Satellite Radio capabilities with three months complimentary service, auxiliary and USB audio input jacks for connecting personal MP3 players, and Bluetooth connectivity with steering wheel-mounted voice activation controls.
Available options include push button-start ignition; voice-activated navigation; rear sonar back-up cameras; air ionization purification technology and a large panoramic sunroof.