AutoGuide News Blog
The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
The Kings of the Big Family Haulers
Until the mid-1980s, those with large families usually bought station wagons with a who-cares-about-safety rearward facing third row of seats. But then the minivan was introduced and everything changed. For the next fifteen years, troops of kids were transported here and there in these pragmatic boxes on wheels. As is often the case though, consumer taste’s changed.
Today the three-row station wagons rival the mountain gorilla on the critically endangered species list while the minivan has become more passé than bridge clubs. Now there is a new king of big family transport – the three-row crossover utility vehicle (CUV).
And the Crossover Takes Over
After a brief foray with three-row body-on-frame SUVs in the early 2000s, the vast majority of auto manufacturers have settled on unibody crossovers to handle passenger duties of six or more. Last year, more than 1.7 million of these CUVs were sold in the U.S. compared to less than 525,000 minivans.
With nearly two million annual sales up for grabs, manufacturers are constantly tweaking their products to entice customers. Over the last year alone, all-new versions of the Hyundai Santa Fe, Nissan Pathfinder and Toyota Highlander hit the market while the Kia Sorento and Dodge Durango received significant updates. To see which CUV is the best value for the money, we gathered these five crossovers along with three older models; the large Chevrolet Traverse, the best-selling Ford Explorer and the eight-passenger Honda Pilot. Which one emerged as the victor in this stacked field? Read on to find out.
Get the Flash Player to see this player.
As you know, (or at least you should) our (usually) weekly feature Ask AutoGuide is all about helping readers in need (or for our own amusement). People require vehicle-buying advice and we provide guidance (it’s in our name after all). Give and receive, that’s how it works; it’s just like Christmas except Old Saint AutoGuide shimmies down the chimney 52 times per year not just once in late December.
Kia’s all-new Sorento crossover was just photographed while undergoing testing in Germany. Here’s what we can glean from these spy pictures.
No more spy photos necessary, Kia has officially revealed their facelifted 2013 Sorento to the world. The Korean automaker updated its Sorento for the 2013 model year, changing up the front end, body color accents, and adding 17-inch wheels to the SUV.
The top-of-the-line SX model also gets itself a chrome exhaust tip, LED taillights, and larger 18-inch wheels. Engine choices include a 2.4-liter four-cylinder MPI with 175 hp and 169 lb-ft of torque, a 2.4-liter four-cylinder GDI with 191 hp and 181 lb-ft of torque and a 3.5-liter V6 with 276 hp and 248 lb-ft of torque.
All engines are mated to a six-speed automatic transmission, and front-wheel drive is standard but all-wheel drive is available as an option.
The interior of the 2013 Sorento comes with air conditioning, a tilt/telescopic steering wheel and power windows as standard on the base model. Available options include an UVO infotainment system and a “Convenience Plus” package that includes an eight-way power driver seat, leather-wrapped steering wheel and a first aid kit.
On the EX trim model, leather seats are standard along with dual-zone automatic climate control. The top-of-the-line SX model adds heated/cooled front seats, stainless steel pedals, and illuminated door sills.
Pricing details are still unavailable.
GALLERY: 2013 Kia Sorento
The NHTSA first looked into Accord Hybrid models after initial investigations linked unintended acceleration to a fatal accident. After a thorough investigation, the agency found no evidence of defect within the Accord Hybrid. No safety recall has been issued for the Accord Hybrid.
A total of 18 complaints have been reported, relating to fuel spilling from the filler port of Kia Sorento models from 2003-2004. The Sorento’s fuel evaporation system has a canister filter that may clog over time. Excess pressure could build due to the clog and may cause gasoline to spill out of the filler neck. A total of 86,000 Soreno units will be repaired and Kia agreed to provide a one-time replacement of the canister filter, at no cost to the owner.
10,631 Kia Sorento SUVs built between June 15th, 2006 and November 27th, 2007 will be recalled due to a faulty airbag issue where the passenger-side air bag may be turned off even when an adult is occupying the seat. Naturally, the Occupant Classification System is designed to be turned off when children or small adults are seated in the front passenger seat, but in the recalled models it can mistakenly classify an adult passenger as a child. If the air bag is deactivated, the light will illuminate on the center instrument panel.
The recall will have vehicle owners’ programming updated by Kia in the Sorento’s OCS module at no charge. Owners that are affected may contact Kia at 1-800-333-4542.
Hyundai is recalling 6,169 Santa Fe’s because the transmission has been found to be defective. According to the National Highway Safety Administration, the transmission may cause “loss of motive power, increasing the risk of a crash,”. The right- side output gear and intermediate shaft on affected 2010 Santa Fe’s will be replaced by Hyundai dealers.
This issue has been linked to an earlier recall of 12,690 Kia Sorento’s experiencing the same issue. Driving the Santa Fe in this condition will lead to a whining noise and eventually excessive wear due to misalignment will damage the automatic transmission.
Get the Flash Player to see this player.
After an entertaining teaser, Kia has just released its complete SuperBowl commercial a day before the big game debut. With some catchy tunes and life-sized toys out for an adventurous road trip it will certainly catch your attention.
Kia is also hoping its new Sorento will catch the attention of young families, who want a vehicle that will let them be both parents and kids. The Korean automaker has put out some pretty impressive vehicles lately, and as much as it’s likely to be a quality machine, we’re not so sure about the fun factor.
The other message Kia is working to communicate to American consumers is the fact that the all-new Sorento is built in the U.S.A. In fact, the new Sorento is the first made-in-America Kia.
Kia has chosen the Seoul Auto Show to officially take the covers off the new 2010 Sorento CUV and we’ll have to admit to being impressed. The new SUV is better in pretty much every way.
The new Sorento is built on an all-new platform that is longer, with a dash that has been moved further forwards and a tailgate that has been moved further rearward. The new SUV now has more legroom, headroom and shoulder room than the previous model, with 2.5-inches more headroom and 4-inches more legroom for third-row passengers. Trunk space behind the rear seat has also been increased by 15 percent.
The Sorento’s driving dynamics have been improved thanks to a body that sits lower by 10mm and a center of gravity that is 54mm (2.1-inches) lower. There is even a better feel from behind the wheel as the Sorento gets a six percent more direct steering rack.
Inside the crossover is impressively luxurious and features plenty of technological gadgets and gizmos, including a push-button ignition, navigation with a 6.5-inch LCD screen and the choice of a 6, 8 or 10 speaker sound system with a MP3 and iPod connectivity.
There’s even a panoramic glass roof.
Safety features like HAC (Hill-start Assist Control) and DBC (Down-hill Brake Control) are also a part of the package, as is a back-up camera with images being transmitted to a screen on the car’s rear view mirror.
As for engine options, the Sorento will be offered with four different engines including a 2.7-liter V6 LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) powerplant available in Korea, a 2.2-liter diesel engine (with 194hp and 321 ft-lbs of torque) destined for international markets and a 2.5-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine that makes 173hp and 166 ft-lbs of torque.
Fuel economy should improve significantly thanks to a new six-speed automatic transmission. A five-speed automatic will also be available, and it’s not clear if it will be offered in North America (but likely will on lower trim levels). There is even a six-speed manual available, but that will most certainly not make it to the U.S.
And as expected, the Sorento will be available in 2WD and 4WD.
“With the new Sorento, we have created an all-new, seven-seater CUV that will soon be recognized as an ‘exciting all-rounder’ with a much broader customer appeal,” said Hyoung-Keun Lee, Senior Executive Vice President & COO of the International Business Division at Kia. “Despite the current economic uncertainties, we are confident that New Sorento will significantly increase Kia’s share of the utility vehicle market, achieving annual global sales of 140,000 units from 2010.”
GALLERY: 2010 Kia Sorento
Official release after the jump: