Lately, crossovers have been cropping up in the midsize SUV segment like dandelions on a freshly cut lawn. And for most folks, a crossover -- which combines the high seating position, foul-weather capability and generous cargo space of a traditional SUV with handling and ride qualities of a car -- is just fine. However, the price paid for this jack-of-all-trades personality is reduced towing capacity and less off-road capability as compared to traditional, truck-based utes.
This is where the 2008 Kia Sorento comes in. Sporting a rugged body-on-frame structure, the Sorento can tow up to 5,000 pounds (about 1,500 pounds more than your typical midsize crossover) and can handle tougher off-road terrain thanks to low-range gearing on 4WD models. But more grunt and greater talent on the trails aren't all that Kia's midsize sport-ute offers. A generous standard features list, solid build quality, handsome styling inside and out and a modest price are also part of the Sorento package.
The Sorento was updated significantly last year with new features, styling, and the current 3.8-liter V6 engine. This year, the Sorento's base and LX trim levels forgo the 3.8-liter engine for a new 3.3-liter V6 with a still-muscular 242 horsepower. The change is geared toward buyers who don't mind trading some towing capacity (3,500 pounds versus the 5,000 of the larger engine) for better fuel economy. Otherwise, the Sorento rolls into 2008 unchanged.