2004 Kia Sorento

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$18,995

starting MSRP

2004 Kia Sorento

Key specs

Base trim shown

Overview

The good:

  • Price and value
  • Easy and enjoyable to drive
  • Offroad capability
  • Handling
  • Seat comfort

The bad:

  • Ride quality
  • Unproven reliability
  • Engine noise

2 trims

Starting msrp listed lowest to highest price

  • LX

    $18,995

  • EX

    $23,050

Wondering which trim is right for you?

Our 2004 Kia Sorento trim comparison will help you decide.

Notable features

  • 192-hp V-6
  • Choice of 4WD systems
  • New manual gearbox
  • Body-on-frame construction
  • Side-curtain airbags

2004 Kia Sorento review: Our expert's take

Vehicle Overview
Shortly after dropping its compact Sportage, Kia introduced a larger, value-priced Sorento. The Sorento is “a tough, true sport utility vehicle,” said Peter Butterfield, Kia’s chief operating officer, during the vehicle’s unveiling.

Rear-wheel-drive and four-wheel-drive versions are available. The four-wheel-drive models may be equipped with either part-time or full-time Torque-On-Demand operation. The Sorento comes in LX and upscale EX forms and competes against such SUVs as the Jeep Grand Cherokee, Nissan Pathfinder and Toyota Highlander.

Few changes, including a newly available manual gearbox and metallic interior accents that replace woodgrain in the previous model, are on tap for the 2004 Sorento. A new Sport Package features side step bars, a roof rack, alloy wheels and other extras.

Exterior
The Sorento uses body-on-frame construction with a ladder frame that contains nine cross-members. It rides a 106.7-inch wheelbase and measures 179.8 inches long overall.

Short front and rear overhangs permit navigation on steep terrain. Ground clearance is just over 8 inches. All models have four-wheel disc brakes, 16-inch Michelin tires, a side-opening rear hatch and a full-size spare tire that stows beneath the body. Additional equipment on the EX model includes a power sunroof, alloy wheels, fog lamps and two-tone body cladding.

Interior
The Sorento seats five people. Flip-and-fold 60/40-split rear seats fold to create a flat floor, and cargo space amounts to 66.4 cubic feet when the rear seat is folded down. Kia claims the Sorento has 107 cubic feet of interior volume. Six cupholders and an under-seat storage tray are included.

The well-equipped LX base model has air conditioning, cruise control, an eight-speaker CD audio system, and power windows, locks and mirrors. The EX model adds an eight-way power driver’s seat, a HomeLink universal garage door opener, remote keyless entry and a Delphi premium CD/cassette stereo. Leather upholstery is optional.

Under the Hood
Kia’s 3.5-liter V-6 engine generates 192 horsepower and 217 pounds-feet of torque; it teams with a four-speed-automatic transmission or the new five-speed-manual unit. Part-time four-wheel drive features a dashboard knob for shift-on-the-fly operation and is not intended for use on dry pavement. Available only on the EX, Kia’s Torque-On-Demand four-wheel-drive system operates automatically. Each transfer case includes a Low range. The Sorento can tow as much as 3,500 pounds, and an automatic-leveling system is available.

Safety
Side curtain-type airbags protect front and rear occupants. Antilock brakes are offered as optional equipment.

Driving Impressions
The Sorento can clamber up steep, narrow inclines with barely a hint of strain, and its four-wheel-drive capability makes dirt-road treks look easy. Performance is similarly strong on regular pavement, but it’s not necessarily better than the competition. The automatic transmission behaves well. Other than some engine blare on hard acceleration and a touch of wind noise at times, the Sorento is quiet.

Its handling is a major plus. The Sorento steers with a somewhat light feel and delivers excellent control and satisfying confidence. Ride comfort actually seems better on rough gravel roads than on the interstate because body motion is a little too noticeable on paved surfaces. The taut suspension can overreact to imperfections.

The Sorento’s firm seats are especially comfortable and offer pleasant cushioning and impressive support. Rear-seat space is ample, and the gauges are easy to read.

 

Reported by Jim Flammang  for cars.com;
Posted on 8/27/03

Consumer reviews

Rating breakdown (out of 5):
  • Comfort 4.4
  • Interior design 4.5
  • Performance 4.1
  • Value for the money 4.5
  • Exterior styling 4.6
  • Reliability 4.2

Most recent consumer reviews

5.0

Kia Sorento 2004 (I bought with 180,000+ miles)

Keep in mind the newer Kia Sorentos are not built like the ones in 2004! (I’ve heard horror stories) But I got mine for way less than $2,000....I spent a little money making sure it ran well...and it has taken me from LA to Vegas without any problem....the mechanics I took the car to said there’s no reason why it can’t go for another 100,000 miles! It’s now almost 200,000 miles and going strong....if you don’t have much cash fine one of these used cars ..fix it up and you got one of the best made cars on the road. 2004 running smoothly 16 years later ...technology a classic

4.8

very good car

Very dependable car met all of my expectations.I would recommend this car to a friend our family member.I love this car, ride and drive.Priced to sale..

5.0

Best Car I Have

I love my Sorento. When I first bought it the only major problem it had was the hose for the power steering had a big hole in it. Once I changed it, it did have other any problems. Only thing I also had to change was the typical usual maintenance you do to the car (ie oil change and such). Other then that no major issue with car. I'm in the market now to upgrade it.

See all 21 consumer reviews

Warranty

New car and Certified Pre-Owned programs by Kia
Certified Pre-Owned program benefits
Maximum age/mileage
5 years or newer/less than 60,000 miles
Basic warranty terms
12 months/12,000 miles
Powertrain
10 years/100,000 miles
Dealer certification required
165-point inspection
Roadside assistance
Yes
View all cpo program details

Have questions about warranties or CPO programs?

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