Though it will seat seven people, it was mostly just me and the Kia Sorento SUV during a week long test drive.
That’s fine. When reviewing a car, it’s helpful to drive it solo and really concentrate on the good and bad of the vehicle.
So I took a couple of day trips. Nothing cosmic, just a meander to Cayuga, and a sashay to St. Ann.
St. Ann, you say. Where’s that? It’s on the route to Wellanport. Wellandport is not the city of Welland, it’s a port, a little pit stop with a small public park overlooking the Welland River.
There used to be a swell looking antique store there that was never, ever, open. It’s gone now.
Before you cruise into sleepy Wellandport, you slouch through St. Anns. There’s not much there, no Google reviews, but there are beautiful fields, planted with grains swaying with elegance in the slightest breeze.
The muted fields made a lovely backdrop for photographing the the seismic blue Sorento. It’s listed as a midsize sedan, but it felt big to me.
Sorento driving aids abound
Should you feel wary driving a big box (our normal car is a smallish VW Golf) there are many assistive devices to keep the Sorento on a steady course. My top of the line SX model featured aids that keep it centered in the lane, aids that help steer, and aids that set a safe distance to the car ahead. Some are helpful, others in my opinion are artificial and intrusive feeling.
When changing lanes or turning a corner, the turn indicator automatically triggers a video view of the lane on either side of the car. This blind spot view monitor shows up in the dash, and once again is either helpful or too much information. Is a human capable of using the side mirror, doing a shoulder check and scanning a monitor when changing lanes? I found it most helpful when parallel parking. A flip of the turn signal will show if the rims are going to scrape the curb.
The various driver assistance technologies are just part of what is a very feature loaded SUV at an attractive price. The Sorento SX I tested was $47,695 and stuffed with clever discoveries.
The first and second row seating is spacious, comfortable and laden with creature comforts. The cooled front seats were welcome during a four day slog of plus 30 Celsius temperatures. The third row, while best for little kids, is easily accessible by pushing a button that slides the second row forward. No wrestling with levers, straps and manually pushing heavy seats.
The rear lift gate can be programmed to automatically open when approaching with the key. The height the lift gate opens can also be adjusted for short or tall people accessing the trunk. With the third row in the up position, the Sorento still has useful storage for groceries and miscellany.
Please stop tailgating
On the meander toward Wellandport I missed an opportunity to pick up two free bicycles leaning against a tree at the side of the road. I missed the chance because-no surprise, a pickup truck was tailgating me. Country drives used to be a wonderful escape from motorized aggression, that is changing.
With 281 horsepower the Sorento seems adequately armed for speed when needed. There are a multitude of settings including Comfort, Sport, and several for a range of geological conditions. I left it in Comfort most of the time. Even so, the Sorento could be more poised when travelling on rough roads, but many drivers will find it just fine.
On the drive to Cayuga I noticed the alarming trend of vehicles drifting on or over the centre line. Maybe that lane keeping technology is a good idea.
Make discoverings on a road trip
I always stop in York, and lament the sliding condition of the old Barber Hotel. I had a tour inside years ago, when it was owned by someone who cared about it. Now it has a ghostly parlour.
Beyond York, The Grand Vista Trial in Cayuga offers a scenic pedestrian bridge over the Grand River. Benches halfway across are usually occupied by people enjoying the peaceful view of the paddlers muscling their way along the wide river.
The Kia Sorento was a pleasant companion on leafy tour of the Ontario countryside. It has the cargo space to pick up surprise finds along the roadside, the chassis to travel in sand and gravel, and the driver aids to monitor imprecise driving. It’s a good package at a great price.
More Kathy Renwald reviews in the Bay Observer:
Looking for something smaller and faster? See my review of the BMW M4 here: