It’s no more Once Upon A Time, it’s a Sorento!

If you’ve been told a tale of how generations gone by employed the services of camels and horses, and possibly elephants as means of transportation, one should be appreciative of the natural advantages and characters of the antiquated transportation vehicles such as allowing better view, feeling of confidence for the rider as the animal structures give the seated rider a straight-spine seating outlook. However, the differentiation in the highlighted old days transport mode was their different speed. While one, the camel, has the capacity for long distance travel without rest albeit moving with measured strides, the horse on the other hand has the ability to travel at speed and strength, while the elephant exhibited route clearance ability, that is, nothing barred its movement.

Before getting green with envy and wishing why you didn’t exist in that era to have a feel of what it takes to be serviced by these mammals. Well, now, you can find solace in the fact that those once-upon-a-time qualities of riding beast of burden as means of transportation are packed into one power machine. The Sorento combines all these qualities.

Kia Motors Corporation, makers of quality vehicles for the young-at-heart, was founded in 1944 and is Korea’s oldest manufacturer of motor vehicles. And going through the company track records, it would be agreed that their reputation is well deserved. Kia aims to become one of the world’s premier automotive brands. This aspiration is displayed in its products, especially in the Sorento.

The mid-size SUV Kia Sorento, with a big breathing V6 heart, is truck-like in design, having a separate truck-style frame, but never forget, despite this, to maintain a civil attitude on the pavement. And you know, it’s no fable when I said the vehicle is once-upon-a-time, with the ability to drive either in rear-wheel with base, LX and EX trims, or as a four-wheel drive LX or EX trim.

The Sorento is a traditional body-on-frame SUV with a fully boxed chassis, a live-axle rear suspension, and optional four-wheel drive with a conventional two speed transfer case. All this adds up to a rugged package designed for the demands of serious off-road driving. Despite the uncomfortability of the ride, the SUV still offers good acceleration for its class.

The 3.3-liter V6 engine makes 242 horsepower and 228 pound-feet of torque, while the 3.8-liter V6 makes 262 horsepower and 260 pound-feet torques boosting its towing capacity from 3,500 to 5,000 pounds and beating some top brands to it and specifically having a close run with Ford Explorer at 5,210 pounds.

Economically, the Sorento’s larger 3.8-liter engine should net 15/21 city/highway miles per gallon respectively, while 15/22 city/highway with the 3.3-liter engine. And if it’s the speed of the then horse makes you green, Sorento is a good option. The engine has a definite throb upon hard acceleration.

The body roll around corners is minimal, overall, cornering performance is good. Rear-wheel drive is standard, and two types of four wheels are available as mentioned earlier, and the optional 4WD is well recommended for its “all-surface convenience” just as its gravel road prowess is quite satisfying. And just like horses in the once-upon-a-time scenario, the brakes offer good stopping control. But it is worthy preparing your mind to the fact that the Kia’s soft suspension displays more front-end dive and rear squat than is comfortable during harder acceleration and braking. Although the goodwill of Kia in making the wheel light to handle is well appreciated but then, it is too loose for a vehicle this quick and sporty. I think it is over assisted. But above all, Kia Sorento has a reasonable off-road capability.

The Sorento is sleek and modern without looking goofy. The mid-sized vehicle’s resemblance to an upscale SUV makes it equally adept at shuttling business clients as it is the kids and family. It also ranks in the top half of its class and earns praise for interior quality, spaciousness and an upscale feel. Its interior is tasteful and, for the most part, well-made. The five passenger cabin provides good head-room and leg-room, yet allows a fairly large cargo area behind. The gray leather seemed well-made, and the glove box and sliding sunroof door felt solid and durable.

With a new centre fascia, gauge cluster and floor console, the 2008 Sorento boasts tasteful use of wood and metal trim materials. Kia takes care not to have the conventional boring steering wheel by mounting audio controls conveniently on it, while the dashboard boasts of a well lit, clearly marked, and conveniently located climate controls. The Sorento also incorporates enough cupholders; two in the front centre console and four in the back seat, including over-sized holders in each rear door. While garnishing the whole design with a bright chrome door handles and handles on the ashtrays.

Accidents happen. The 2008 Sorento passed extremely in crash tests. With top five-stars scores stamped vividly on its chest for both the driver and passenger in frontal crash tests, the safety of its occupants is ensured. The 2WD model gets a three-star rollover rating, while the 4WD model gets four stars. However, the Sorento gets the lowest possible rating of “Poor” in side impact tests, a much lower score than other mid-size SUVs. But the machine compensated for faring much better than most others in its rear protection, for which it receives a top score of “Good.”

Its standard features include dual front advance air-bags and full length side curtain air-bags. Under the wheel, a kneel air-bags helps prevent drivers from sliding under the belt in a frontal collision, in addition to an energy-absorbing steering column that helps cushion the initial blow to the driver’s chest.

Kia, considering the foregoing, records another global commitment in surpassing customer expectations through continuous automotive innovation. Indeed, Kia Motor Corporation has the power to surprise!


A macho man will surely turn green with envy because there is something else in town that appeal and command the attention of the female gender. Nissan Murano, new darling in town, has gotten nothing that is left undone. With inspired sculpted curves, well crafted interior, and advanced technology, this is definitely something to chew!

After skipping a year, that is the 2008 model, Murano is Nissan’s midsize crossover that enjoys redesign since its first introduction in 2003. Named after an elegant sculpted glass art that comes from the islands near Venice, the two in one SUV combines the desirable attributes of a truck-based SUV, such as cargo capacity, ride height and available all-wheel drive, with the refinement, handling and comfort of a sedan.

The whole load is being pulled by a horse equated power of 265 version of Nissan’s VQ-Series 3.5litre V6 engine and receives the second-generation Xtronic CVT with Adaptive Shift Control. It consumes fuel at average approximately 18 and 23 miles per gallon in the city and highway respectively. Having the same template as D platform as the 2007 Altima, which provides a solid foundation and new lighter suspension components with increased stiffness. And with the availability of a dual-panel power sliding moonroof and second-row skylight, a new foldaway cargo organizer, heated front and rear seats, power liftgate, and power return rear seat. Nothing is forgotten in the production of the sport utility vehicle!

Accidents happen. Nissan put the safety of its occupants into consideration with the presence of driver, passenger and side airbags, although, the crash test and the total weight of the SUV are averagely impressive. If all driving codes are well obeyed, I think four stars is neither a bad grade for crash and rollover tests, nor five stars to get, in front and rear side tests!

Possible drawback in the functionality of the SUV could be the recommendation of premium fuel and its limited rear visibility, but not to worry, this is taken care of with the presence of RearView digital monitor feature.

Although the reliability data for this vehicle could not be gotten as at press time, Japan-based manufacturers are still tops in dependability and reliability while European models scored below average. And guess what the good news is, Nissan Murano has its parts assembled in the Asian country!