2012 Kia Sorento EX FWD (924)


This week we’re looking at the 2012 Kia Sorento EX FWD. Well, if you read my column often you will know that I’m impressed with Korean cars, but apparently I’m not the only one since they have grown from the early 1960s to a high of over a million cars exported by 1990.

Korean cars include the most notable – Hyundai and Kia, but Daewoo came first, and who recently changed its name to GM Korea, and mainly manufactures cars and car parts for the Chevrolet Brand. When they started out in the 1960s they only did assembly and mostly for Mazda and Toyota.

The first car actually designed and manufactured by the Korean’s was the Hyundai Pony and was also the first export. Now in addition to the cars they also manufacture parts for BMW and others. It’s a real success story and they too are living the American Dream, all the way around the world in South Korea. North Korea is still manufacturing ‘stupid’.

General Information:

Parts from the US / Canada 60%, Korea 40%. It is assembled in West Point, GA, U.S.A., Classification is SUV. Cars from Kia: Forte, Forte Koup, Optima, Optima Hybrid, Rio, Rio 5, Sedona, Sorento, Soul and Sportage.


In concert with this review I want to share some facts that we should be reminded of often.

Unions have outlived their usefulness. Few would contest that fact the abuses of business in the 1920s and 1930s gave unions a reason to exist. However, like laws passed to right a wrong, it is impossible to eliminate those laws after the problem is solved.

Unions have ruined the American Auto Industry with outrageous salaries and benefits and retirement that are way over the top. By example the labor cost differential between US Union auto makers at about $78.00 per hour is about $45.00 per hour for Japanese and Korean car makers who are Non-union.

Korean carmakers hate the whole idea of unions and collective bargaining as it is contrary to their culture. That is true in most all the rest of the world where they must appreciate the job, wouldn’t want to hurt the company that feeds them. That used to be true in the early years of America. Friend Richard reminds me that all error is self correcting and the Unions will simply self destruct when the companies they burden go out of business.

Unions justify their existence and through extortion they demand and get higher and higher wage packages for their members. That extortion is a slow but sure death of the company and thus its workers.

American companies have been running from the unions and to Right to Work States or worse to other countries. They have learned to adapt by taking their capital and jobs to business friendly states and countries, so invested capital can make a return as well.

At this writing, the following are right to work states, meaning that they have specific right to work laws.

Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia and Wyoming

Government: Local, State and Federal government services have given in to the strong arm tactics of Unions and the burden to society has been staggering. Community and union organizers, to me, is nothing more or less than Organized Crime. Same people. Same MO – extortion – pure and simple. What else do you call threats of strikes and law suits that cost millions to the company? Management gives in more often than not and that my friend is the root of the problem in American industry and government today.

As to fuel economy, some car makers produce fuel efficient cars because the world price of Gas is about $8 to 10.00 a gallon and the current administration wants prices in the US to go to those levels as well. Then we peasants would be forced to do as they are told, and buy cars that are ‘green’ to be good communists. Someone asked me just this last weekend, “Where is Joe McCarthy when you need him.” Somehow I have to believe McCarthy is in a better place than Jimmy Hoffa.

Handling & Performance:

I enjoyed driving this SUV as I do all SUV’s. They are simply the most popular vehicle in the world because it is the most utilitarian car in the world. And cars like this Kia Sorento that perform well including good fuel economy are a breath of fresh air.


Pretty commonplace SUV.

Fit and Finish:

Really good – they try harder! Remember the ad for Avis in years past that “We’re #2 – we try harder”.


Competitive with all in class and for the fancy badges you can really see the dramatic cost difference.

Conveniences and comfort:

You know, the list looks sparse, as to standard features but you must know that many of the gadgets and goodies not included in the listing below will never be missed. I drive the cars that have “Adaptive Cruise Control” but is it missed on the 90% of all the cars I test that don’t have it? Not really. It’s a convenience but it costs more than I need it.

I guess my point is that the ones that do have all the bells and whistles will cost several thousand more and you simply can live well without them. No excuses but I’m stating the facts, just the facts, to use a line from Jack Webb in the Dragnet series back in the mid to late 1950s.

Consumer Recommendation:

You must include this Kia in your evaluation of the next SUV you buy. And don’t be dissuaded from owning an SUV because you are trying to be convinced you should sacrifice your family’s comfort and safety and convenience by buying smaller or GREENER. I just want to throw up sometimes when our idiot government opens their yap for an agenda that doesn’t agree with my rights and quite frankly my needs.

I’ll recall to mind that my son has 5 kids from 1 to 15 and when they all saddle up to go somewhere they have chosen a larger SUV so all can fit comfortably and it puts a chunk of steel between them and danger. Kiss my what?

Recognized Competition:

Kia Sorento $27,000, Mazda CX9 $30,000, Acura RDX $34,000, Nissan Murano $32,000, Ford Edge $28,000, Toyota Highlander $28,000, Chevrolet Equinox $24,000, GMC Canyon $29,000,Chevrolet Traverse $30,000, Dodge Nitro $22,000, Ford Escape $22,000, Ford Explorer $29,000, Honda CR-V $22,000, Hyundai Santa Fe $23,000, Hyundai Tucson $20,000, Jeep Liberty $23,000, Mazda CX-7 #.

Good News:

Affordable to buy and own and operate, 32 highway mpg for a midsize SUV is good and they have a non-union mentality.

Bad News:

? – can’t think of anything.

Standard Equipment:

2.4 liter 191 horsepower 4-cylinder engine, 6-speed auto trans, 5-spoke alloy wheels, front & seat mounted side and side curtain airbags, LATCH system, traction control, stability control, tire pressure monitor, downhill brake / Hill start assist control, climate control, power windows a& locks and mirrors, UVO infotainment system, SIRIUS satellite radio, USB / Aux input jacks, Bluetooth wireless technology, power driver’s seat, 60/40 split folding rear seat, push button start,  with smart key, cruise control, leather wrapped wheel & knob, tilt & telescopic steering column, fog lights, anti lock brake system.

Gas Stats:

$4.18/ Gal avg. May 30, 2012


For more information.

22 City and 32 Highway MPG


MSRP $25,950.
Your comments are welcomed. My e-mail is joe@autolove.com
Copyright © 2012 – An Automotive Love Affair

Your comments are welcomed. My e-mail is joe@autolove.com
Copyright © 2014 – An Automotive Love Affair.

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