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Power Profile: Kia Sorento

Power Profile: Kia Sorento

By Christian Wardlaw, May 16, 2016

Dramatically redesigned, the 2016 Kia Sorento takes a big step forward in terms of design, engineering, and refinement. So stark are the differences between the previous Sorento and the new one that Kia may have permanently altered the midsize SUV’s buyer demographics.

Until the next edition of the J.D. Power U.S. Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) StudySM is published, we must wait to determine the impact of Kia’s Sorento redesign. Certainly, as the previous Sorento ranked 10th among 18 Midsize SUV models in the 2015 U.S. APEAL Study, there is plenty of room for improvement.


To set the stage in advance of new data, it might help to understand who bought the previous-generation Sorento, and what owners liked the most about them.

Who Buys the Kia Sorento?
According to J.D. Power research data, 54% of Sorento owners are women, compared with 43% for the Midsize SUV segment as a whole.

Sorento owners match the average age of a Midsize SUV owner at 54 years, but generationally a greater concentration of Sorento owners identify themselves as Boomers at 52%, compared with 45% of Midsize SUV buyers. Reported household income levels are significantly lower among Sorento owners at $79,605, compared with $109,901 for the segment.

J.D. Power study data also shows that performance is not high on Sorento buyers’ priority list, with 8% identifying this characteristic as important, compared with 16% of Midsize SUV buyers. Instead, 73% of Sorento owners agree that fuel economy is their first consideration in choosing a vehicle, compared with 61% of owners in the segment.

In terms of other considerations, the only significant deviation between Sorento owners and Midsize SUV owners pertains to whether or not they are willing to pay extra for the latest safety features. J.D Power data says that 75% of Sorento owners claim willingness to do so, compared with 82% of Midsize SUV buyers.

What Do Owners Most Like about the Sorento?
Based on the results of the 2015 U.S. APEAL Study, and according to the people who own one, the five most appealing vehicle characteristics of the Kia Sorento are (in descending order) exterior styling, interior design, driving dynamics, visibility and safety, and storage and space.

Additional Research:

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