Imagine driving down a highway cutting through a remote part of the state late at night while snow is hitting the windshield. The temperatures hover just below freezing so frozen flakes swirl below the tires who roll along the white salt treated road. The interior of the car is warm, cozy, and sleep inducing for your two kids who are passed out in the back seats after consuming a huge dinner that replenished calories after a long weekend of skiing. While the kids snooze in the back, occasional conversation punctuates the list of endless favorites played through the car’s stereo. The mood inside the car is content, peaceful, and happy after another successful weekend of skiing and family time together.
Without warning the car’s dashboard lights turn off. The car is still operational but the speedometer, fuel and temperature gauges, and tachometer are black and unreadable on the dark highway. Headlights and tail lights are functional. Thankfully the hazard lights work because after the panic is gone, they’re switched on for the duration of the slow drive home. Bliss from the family ski trip gone, driver and passenger are on high alert to keep the family safe during the rest of the drive home.
What’s wrong with the car? Is it safe to continue driving? Does the car need to be replaced and if so, what would be best?
As a family who loves to ski, we spent many weekends last winter on the slopes thanks to below freezing temperatures and a huge snowstorm that provided perfect ski conditions in the mid-Atlantic. Our kids spent their days mastering fresh powder, moguls, and black diamond runs as my husband and I chased after them. We loved our unplugged weekends on the slopes until confronted with a drive home fraught with danger.
Our trusty 12 year old Swedish-made all wheel drive station wagon was the perfect vehicle for our family’s lifestyle. Through infant seats, booster seats, the move of my daughter from the back to the front seat, the addition of a dog, plus countless family road trips, it had always been a reliable vehicle up until the dash lights went out. Like a family member, it was hard to think this could be the beginning of the end of our trusty vehicle as we faced the possibility of having to replace it sooner than anticipated.
But what we would get next was the big question as we sent the car into the shop. Suddenly the knowledge gleaned from years of reviewing cars came in handy.
The Kia Sorento was on my short list even though it had been years since I tested one. I remembered being impressed by the car’s capacity, flexibility, handling in all types of weather, styling, and the 10 year / 100,000 mile warranty when I drove one in 2012 and wondered how I’d like the new model. Even though our trusty station wagon survived and has been faithful for another year, after spending two weeks driving a 2017 Kia Sorento SXL V6, it’s still on our short list of cars that we love.
About the 2017 Kia Sorento SXL V6
We were loaned the vehicle to drive during February ski trips that never happened. An unseasonably warm winter led to far more rain than snow during our time with the Sorento. It handled like a champ during a week of downpours where roads were slick and navigating puddles became the new normal as the ground tried to absorb an incredible amount of rainfall. Active safety systems such as Electronic Stability Control, Traction Control System, and Cornering Brake Control that come standard in every Kia were hard at work, tracking and adapting to the wet conditions while brilliant headlights illuminated the road ahead to keep us safe on the road.
During a gloomy week filled with gray skies, the Sorento was a bright spot. The incredible lines create a gorgeous exterior but the interior would make anyone in the market for a crossover SUV smile. I loved that the model we drove featured creamy tan Nappa Leather seats with a diamond pattern, deep brown trim, and white contrast stitching. The attention to detail gave this sporty car an air of sophistication.
Details abound in the Sorento. While the leather seats may be the first thing you notice when you open the Sorento’s doors for the first time, it’s easy to see that this is a car for a modern family who lives in their vehicle and wants comfort and convenience.
Parents in the driver’s seat will love heated and cooled seats, a heated steering wheel, and the 4- way lumbar support that provides a comfortable ride regardless if you’re making a quick trip the grocery store or embarking on a family road trip. Expansive windows and a Panoramic Sunroof let light and the scenery in, encouraging the whole family to put down their devices and take in the view.
But if you need to plug in, the 2017 Sorento features up to 8 outlets, including four 12v outlets, 2 USB rapid charging ports, a 110v inverter, and one AUX/USB port. Strategically placed in the center console, arm rest, within arms’ reach of the second row seats, and also in the third row, the Sorento provides plenty of power for today’s digital families. One huge bonus is that they’re illuminated so they’re easy to find in the dark! This is such a thoughtful feature that makes a huge difference when trying to plug in during night time drives.
From the driver’s seat, everything you need is at your fingertips. While the display in the center console may not be as high definition as in other family vehicles recently tested or be surrounded by wood trim, it’s easy to read and operate while keeping your eyes on the road.
Like other vehicles in its class, the Sorento displays the view from the backup camera alongside one from the Surround View Monitor that’s stitched together from four cameras when you put the vehicle in reverse. While I’m seeing this more and more in cars, it’s a helpful feature the safety of those inside and outside.
Other features of the 2017 Kia Sorento SXL V6 we loved:
- Smart Power Liftgate that senses the proximity of the smart key and opens automatically with no hands or feet required
- Ability to fold down the second row seats with the push of a button via Remote Release
- Flexible space that easily adapts to any family’s needs
- Infinity Surround Audio System by Harman provides premium sound throughout the vehicle
- Ability to control your smartphone from the Sorento’s digital display thanks to UVO eServices
- Dog friendly though the black carpeting would not be my first choice especially with a Yellow Lab
Even though the scary dashboard problem in our station wagon hasn’t reappeared since last winter, it’s comforting to know the Kia Sorento continues to be a great choice for our family when we’re ready to think about a new car purchase.
We drove a 2017 Kia Sorento SXL V6 (starting at $44,100) that comes loaded with features making it perfect for today’s families who appreciate convenience and flexibility but love luxury that won’t break the bank. The streamlined exterior features clean lines while the interior is spacious without being cavernous and stylish without being pretentious. The 10 year /100,000 mile warranty ensures that this vehicle, like others in Kia’s line, will be a member of your family for a long time.
Huge thanks to Kia and DriveShop for the loan of the 2017 Kia Sorento SXL V6. No compensation was received for this post. All opinions are my own.