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2003 Kia Sorento Trims

EX

Avg. Price: $6,014

Kia's brand new SUV offering, the 2003 Kia Sorento EX is the more high-end trim, carrying more standard features and conveniences than the base model. The rear-wheel drive SUV seats four or five in two rows of seats, which split-fold to expand the 31 cubic foot cargo area to 66 cubic feet. A roof rack is standard, and the rear liftgate opens independently of the rear window. A 192-hp, 3.5-liter DOHC V6 powers the 2003 Sorento EX, matched to a 4-speed automatic. A nice feature are the six airbags -- dual front and side and rear side impact. Other safety features include auto-dimming rearivew mirror, foglights, and skid plates. ABS brakes are optional.

Full power features, including an 8-way driver's seat comes on the 2003 Sorento EX. Other equipment includes cruise control, wheel-mounted audio controls for the CD player, leather trim, remote entry, a remote garage opener, a security system, heated mirrors, and a sunroof. A trailer hitch can be added to tow up to 3500 pounds, and other options include a rear spoiler, heated leather seats, a CD changer, and automatic headlights. Drivers of the 2003 Sorento EX like its smooth ride, roomy interior, low price point for all you get, and upscale style. The 15/20 mpg is disappointing, and there are problems with early brake wear and noisy acceleration.

EX 4WD

Avg. Price: $6,790

Low-range gearing, a limited slip rear differential, four-wheel independent suspension, an skid plates help make the 2003 Kia Sorento EX 4WD a true off-roading vehicle, and the 16-inch wheels and all-season tires make the Sorento a tough and affordable SUV competitor in poor weather conditions. The new 4WD Kia SUV comes standard with part-time four-wheel drive that the driver activates, but a Torque-On-Demand, which automatically apportions power where needed, is optional. A 3.5-liter, 192-hp V6 and 4-speed auto tran is the standard powertrain.

The 2003 Sorento EX 4WD is otherwise like the rear-wheel drive EX in terms of features -- power locks, windows, and heated mirrors, an 8-way driver's seat, cruise control, sunroof, wheel-mounted audio controls, a CD player, rear window wiper, fog lights, remote entry, and auto-dimming rearview mirror. Dual front and four side impact airbags earn four-star crash ratings. A roof rack is standard in addition to the 66-cubic foot cargo area, thanks to split-folding rear seats. Options include heated leather seats, 4-wheel ABS brakes, automatic headlights, automatic climate control, and a trailer hitch. The 2003 Sorento EX 4WD gets rated highly by owners for its roomy versatility, its comfort on long rides, easy maneuverability, and stylish looks. Poor gas mileage, a somewhat rough ride, and inadequate brakes are the major complaints.

LX

12 national listings
Avg. Price: $6,679

Brand new for 2003 is the Kia Sorento LX, the base trim of the rear-wheel drive, mid-sized SUV. Though it has only two rows, that leaves more legroom for front and rear passengers. Seats split-fold 60/40 to expand the 31 cubic foot trunk to 66 cubic feet, and there are six cupholders, a front power outlet, and front and overhead storage compartments to accommodate every family's needs. The 2003 Sorento LX is powered by a 192-hp, 3.5-liter DOHC V6 and a 4-speed automatic, with a fully independent suspension.

Sitting on 16-inch wheels, the 2003 Sorento LX comes with six airbags -- dual front and side impact for both rows. Air conditioning, full power features, cruise control, heated mirrors, and a CD player are standard. There is a wiper for the rear window, which opens separately from the liftgate. Gas mileage sits around 15/20 mpg, and towing capacity is around 3500 pounds. A roof rack is not standard, but is available as an option, as are ABS brakes. Drivers say the ride feels safe and solid, there's a lot of interior space, and the 10-year warranty, combined with the low price tag make the 2003 Sorento LX a good value. They are unhappy about the gas mileage and early brake wear.

LX 4WD

Avg. Price: $6,193

Kia's new SUV, the 2003 Kia Sorento LX 4WD is unique in that it is one of the few SUVs that you can actually take off-road, with its limited slip rear differential, low-range gearing, skid plates, and 16-inch wheels with all-season tires. It handles well in bad weather and on rough roads. Power comes in the form of a 192-hp, 3.5-liter DOHC V6 engine and 4-speed automatic. The 2003 Sorento LX 4WD earns four-star crash ratings thanks to dual front airbags and side impact bags for both rows of seats.

Yes, there are only two rows of seats, which means more room for passengers' legs. Rear seats do split-fold for up to 66 cubic feet of cargo space, and a roof rack can be added for more options. Standard features include power windows, locks, and mirrors, cruise control, a tilt steering wheel, tachometer, heated mirrors, a rear window wiper, and a CD player. ABS brakes are an option, as are alloy wheels on the 2003 Sorento LX 4WD.