Kia Motors is waging a friendly battle with its former rival and current business partner, Hyundai Motors. Both Korean automakers have been defying industry trends and are selling more cars and gaining market share at the expense of American, European, and other Asian manufacturers.
That rivalry between the two companies (Hyundai owns 38% of Kia) can be seen with every new product introduction. While Hyundai has been concentrating on the upper end of the market with the Genesis sedan and coupe as well as the midrange Hyundai Sonata, Kia has recently released the compact Koup sedan and coupe, and introduced the 2011 edition of its compact crossover Sorento.
Friendly Hyundai Competition
The competition between Hyundai and Kia isn’t so much a model v. model comparison, rather how well each new model is received by the car shopping public. Judging by the most recent sales figures Hyundai (+45.9%) and Kia (+18.3%) posted very strong gains for November 2009 and besides Subaru will likely be the only car companies seeing an increase in year over year sales when 2009 draws to a close.
The Sorento has managed to hold its own in an automotive segment that has grown in importance over the past several years. The Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V, Mazda Tribute, Ford Escape, and the Chevy Equinox are strong contenders for Kia, even the Hyundai Tucson presents a challenge to the Sorento.
New USA Facility
Kia recently opened its first manufacturing facility in the United States, a plant in West Point, Georgia that is up and running. Indeed, the 2011 Sorento is the first model to be produced at that plant and it will arrive in Kia showrooms this January.
Two engines are offered with the five/seven passenger CUV. A 2.4L I4 is standard while a 3.5L V6 is optional, both are mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. Kia says that the six cylinder gets 276 horsepower and 248 lb.-ft of torque, besting such rivals as the Ford Escape and the Honda CR-V.
Well Equipped CUV
Air conditioning, tilt wheel, Bluetooth connectivity, push button start, premium sound system, are among the many standard items with the Kia Sorento while optional voice activated navigation, rear view camera, and air ionization purification technology is optional. Safety features include ABS, ESC, EBD; front active headrests; front, side, and side curtain airbags; while the hood has been re-engineered to soften the blow of contact with a pedestrian and bicyclist.
Available in front- or all-wheel-drive, the 2011 Kia Sorento is longer and roomier than the previous generation model, offering some of the best storage capacity of crossovers in its segment.
Kia has yet to announce pricing for the 2011 Sorento. However, expect that when prices are announced that they’ll be near the $21,545 base MSRP of the outgoing 2009 model as no 2010 model is being offered.
Source: Kia Motors America