LA 2009: 2011 Kia Sorento Debuts in LA, Marks Korean Automaker’s First U.S. Built Vehicle

LA 2009: 2011 Kia Sorento Debuts in LA, Marks Korean Automaker’s First U.S. Built Vehicle
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Korean automaker Kia has officially announced the introduction of the all-new 2011 Sorento compact crossover to the U.S. market – where it will be built.

The Sorento’s new design and corporate front-end design come from the KND-4 concept first shown at the Los Angeles Auto Show back in 2007.

Following in the tire-treads of the Forte Koup, Kia is eager to market itself as a performance-oriented brand – something that even applies to the crossover segment. That being said, it has class-leading engine output with a 3.5-liter V6 engine producing 276-hp and 248 ft-lbs of torque. A 2.4-liter four-cylinder with 175-hp and 169 ft-lbs of torque will be standard. Both engines come with six-seed automatic transmissions for ideal performance and improved fuel economy.

Either engine can be paired with a front-drive or all-wheel drive setup. Fuel economy ranges from 21/29 mpg for the front-drive 4-cylinder to 19/25 mpg for the AWD V6.

The vehicle itself is longer and lower to the ground than the previous Sorento and delivers improved interior room with more head and leg room, as well as increased cargo room, stretching 5 extra cubic feet for a total of 149.4 cubic feet.

The Sorento is also capable at pulling what you can’t fit inside, with a 1,650 lb tow rating for the 4-cylinder and a 3,500 lb rating for the V6.

The 2011 Sorento will be the first Kia to be built in the United States at Kia’s new West Point, Georgia assembly plant. It will be available at dealerships early next year.

GALLERY: 2011 Kia Sorento

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Official release after the jump:

ALL-NEW 2011 KIA SORENTO CUV All-New CUV Brings Immense Amount of Style, Value and Power to Segment

# First U.S.-built1 Kia vehicle offers consumers best-in-class power along with numerous upscale creature comforts

# Newest Kia vehicle offers modern design, multiple technology and safety features

LOS ANGELES, December 2, 2009 – Kia Motors America (KMA) today announced the official North American debut of the all-new Sorento crossover utility vehicle (CUV) during a press conference at the 2009 Los Angeles Auto Show. The first vehicle to be built at the all-new, state-of-the-art manufacturing facility, Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia (KMMG) in West Point, Georgia, Sorento encompasses both the brand’s signature design cues as well as its distinct combination of value, safety and style. Coming to market in early 2010 as a 2011 model-year vehicle, the all-new Sorento presents consumers with a well-equipped, well-appointed CUV with best-in-class power2 suited perfectly for the fun, dynamic and discerning driver.

With a streamlined and attractive look, the new Sorento represents a modern CUV that is just the right size for today’s consumer. Completely redesigned for 2011, the all-new Sorento now employs a unibody design with the ability to comfortably fit up to seven passengers, offering more space and ride comfort than the previous-generation model. Prominently displaying the signature tabbed grille and wraparound headlamps soon to be seen on all Kia models, Sorento offers a more aggressive stance and sleeker profile than the previous version.

Confident and Contemporary Exterior

Based on the KND-4 concept shown during the 2007 Los Angeles Auto Show, Sorento offers the same swept-back lines and dynamic presence as the concept vehicle. With an angled window line, large flared-back headlamps, prominent fog lamps and rounded nose, the all-new Sorento clearly belongs to the Kia family and effortlessly conveys strength and authority. The view from the rear offers the same forceful attitude with a rounded back and tail lamps set powerfully within the rear lift gate.

Available in base, LX and EX trim levels, the versatile CUV offers tasteful exterior features on all three including 17-inch alloy wheels with 235/65R17 tires and wheel moldings, while moving to the LX trim includes standard body-color heated outside mirrors with integrated LED turn signal indicators. All EX trims offer standard 18-inch alloy wheels outfitted with 235/60R18 tires, automatic headlamps, fog lamps (optional on LX trims) and a rear spoiler. Optional for LX and EX trims are roof rails for those looking to spend a weekend away or endeavor in recreational activities, while EX trims offer the options of 18-inch ultra bright mirror-finish wheels or a panoramic sunroof (V6 models only), a first for any Kia vehicle. With an overall length of 183.9 inches and overall width of 74.2 inches, the all-new CUV comes in longer, lower and roomier than the previous-generation Sorento, offering occupants a more spacious and comfortable ride.

Best-in-Class Performance

The 2011 Sorento offers two engines, both more powerful than the Ford Escape and Honda CR-V3. A 3.5-liter V6 providing best-in-class 276 horsepower and 248 pound-feet of torque and a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine producing 175 horsepower and 169 pound-feet of torque both are coupled to a new six-speed automatic transmission, which together provide ample power and offer improved fuel efficiency. This all-new six-speed automatic transmission is a proprietary design for Kia Motors that was designed, engineered and built specifically for Kia vehicles, making the brand one of only three manufacturers to employ such a transmission. To further meet consumer needs, both engines can be mated to either front- or all-wheel-drive configurations, the latter coming with a locking center differential to evenly distribute power to all wheels while operating the vehicle at low speeds during more severe weather conditions. For enhanced ride performance, the all-new 2011 Sorento employs a more compact and lighter MacPherson strut front suspension and a fully independent multi-link rear suspension.

Modern and Tech-Inspired Interior

Moving inside, the feeling of spaciousness is all the more evident, and with both five- and seven-passenger seating configurations, Sorento is now more versatile than ever. With 142.5 cubic feet of interior volume when equipped with five seats or 149.4 cubic feet with seven, Sorento offers quite a bit more space over the previous generation’s 137.5 cubic feet. Head and legroom also have been increased for optimal occupant comfort. With nearly five cubic feet more in cargo capacity, the new generation effortlessly accommodates both passenger and cargo needs for cruising around town as easily as weekends camping in the mountains.

In addition to offering a comfortable ride, impressive technology features also come standard throughout, including an AM/FM/CD/MP3/Sat audio system with SIRIUS® Satellite Radio capabilities and three months complimentary service4, auxiliary and USB audio input jacks for connecting personal MP3 players, and Bluetooth® wireless technology connectivity with steering wheel-mounted voice activation controls to enable hands-free operation for all compatible mobile phones. All EX models offer standard push button-start ignition with smart key and rear sonar back-up sensors, while available voice-activated navigation, rear view back-up cameras and air ionization purification technology complete the modern and high-tech driving experience.

Standard comforts can be found throughout, including air conditioning, a tilt and telescopic steering wheel with integrated audio controls, trip computer and rear map pockets. In addition to those features, the LX trims offers standard automatic up and down driver’s window function, illuminated vanity mirror, EcoMinder™ Indicator to assist with fuel efficient driving habits, and a second row arm rest with cup holder. Progressing to the EX trim provides even more well-appointed standard features including dual automatic temperature control, rear air conditioning (V6 models only) and a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob.

Able to suit practically any driver, Sorento offers the discriminating consumer numerous package options. The Convenience Package, available for the LX trim, offers roof rails, rear sonar, a rear view mirror with backup display, heated front seats and fog lamps. Moving to the Premium Package, available for the EX trim, includes roof rails, leather trim seats, heated front seats, a rear view backup camera and a panoramic sunroof (V6 models only), further adding to the feeling of spaciousness. By upgrading to the Limited Package, available for the EX trim outfitted with the Premium Package, drivers will benefit from luxuriously appointed features including a voice-activated navigation system with real-time traffic, an Infinity premium surround system with 12 speakers and a 550-watt digital amplifier, 18-inch chrome-finish wheels and interior accent mood illumination. A DVD Entertainment Package also is available on EX V6 models (without sunroof) for those looking for a little extra entertainment while on the road.

Superior Safety Features

Like all Kia vehicles, the 2011 Sorento is equipped with a plethora of standard safety equipment. All trims come outfitted with driver and passenger advanced front airbags, front seat-mounted side airbags, side curtain airbags and front active headrests, four-wheel Antilock Brake System (ABS), Electronic Stability Control (ESC) and Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD). Hill Start Assist Control (HAC) and Downhill Brake Control (DBC) also come standard on all models, the former assisting in preventing the vehicle from rolling backward when trying to pull away from an uphill gradient, while the latter helps keep the vehicle moving straight and steady down steep grades.

Pedestrians also benefit from the all-new Sorento’s standard safety systems. For the 2011 model year the hood of Sorento is designed to crumple and flex strategically so as to absorb and disperse the shock of a collision with a pedestrian or bicyclist, aimed at decreasing the level of potential injury.