CHICAGO, Feb. 13 /PRNewswire/ -- The popular, all-new Sorento midsize SUV from Kia Motors America has earned MotorWeek`s prestigious "Drivers` Choice" award for Best Midsize SUV of the 2003 model year. The award, presented by MotorWeek host and executive producer John Davis to Kia Motors President and CEO Peter Butterfield, was announced today at the Chicago Auto Show.
MotorWeek, America`s long-running automotive magazine show airing on more than 225 PBS stations nationwide, as well as on Speed Channel, cable television`s motorsports channel, has been presenting its "Drivers` Choice" awards for more than 20 years. The awards are based on several factors including performance, content, styling and value. The producers chose the Kia Sorento as the lone stand out in the hotly competitive midsize SUV category versus such top contenders as the Nissan Pathfinder and Toyota 4Runner.
"We`re extremely pleased to accept this award," said Peter M. Butterfield, Kia`s president and CEO. "As Kia`s first entry in the popular mid-size SUV segment, Sorento is already proving to be a breakthrough vehicle for us in terms of image while offering consumers exceptional features in a great value package."
"The Sorento is a real step forward for this up-and-coming Korean brand," said John Davis, host and executive producer of MotorWeek. "It is an honest- to-goodness truck-framed SUV that feels as tough as anything built in America. When combining the ride, handling and features with an entry price of $19,900, the Sorento stood out as a winner to the MotorWeek staff."
The annual MotorWeek Drivers` Choice Awards are selected by a team of 10 judges, comprised of writers, producers and the crew of MotorWeek. Judges decisions are based on superior performance, technology, practicality and dollar value. MotorWeek test drives more than 150 cars and trucks annually. This is the first year that the staff at MotorWeek has included a midsize SUV category.
"The awards reflect the changing nature of the car market," said Davis. "And so we need to make sure we are providing choices for all vehicle categories."
The five-passenger Sorento comes with a standard, powerful DOHC, 24-valve, 3.5-liter V6 engine that generates 192 horsepower and is coupled to an electronically controlled four-speed automatic transmission with overdrive. The vehicle is available in both two-wheel and four-wheel drive configurations. In the two-wheel-drive version, power is directed to the rear wheels, while the 4x4 offerings include a part-time or a Torque-on-Demand? automatic full-time 4x4 drive system.
To address the varied needs of its buyers, the Sorento is offered in two trim levels, LX and EX. The LX is a full-featured vehicle offering only a handful of options and comes standard with air conditioning, power windows/door locks/heated mirrors, cruise control, eight-speaker CD sound system, full overhead console with sunglass storage, map lights and garage door opener pocket, four 12 volt power outlets, 8-way adjustable Drivers` seat and 60/40 split flip-and-fold rear seats. Standard safety features include dual front airbags and front and rear side-curtain airbags, front pretensioners, front force-limiters and five three-point seatbelts and headrests to accommodate all occupants.
The upscale EX model adds alloy wheels, two-tone body cladding, power sunroof, fog lights, eight-way power Drivers` seat, HomeLink?programmable remote system, a Delphi premium AM/FM/CD/cassette audio system with 10 speakers and steering wheel mounted audio controls, remote keyless entry system, which operates the doors, rear flip open glass and a panic alarm and a multi-meter including outside temperature gauge, compass, altimeter and barometer to the overhead console.
For those who yearn for even more comfort and convenience, the Sorento is available in an EX Luxury Package, which includes chrome exterior trim, a Delphi 280-watt six disc-in-dash CD player, automatic climate control, auto headlights, leather wrapped/wood grain steering wheel, leather seats and available Torque-on-Demand? system. Because of its high-content level, the Sorento offers only a few free-standing options, including four-wheel drive and antilock brakes and rear spoiler.
Like all Kia models, the Sorento is covered by Kia`s comprehensive warranty program, which offers unprecedented consumer protection. Included in the package are a 10-year or 100,000-mile limited powertrain warranty, a five- year or 60,000-mile limited basic warranty and a five-year or 100,000-mile anti-perforation warranty. A five-year/unlimited mileage roadside assistance plan is also part of the comprehensive coverage program.
Kia Motors America is the U.S. sales, marketing and service arm of Kia Motors Corp. in Seoul, South Korea. For more information, please visit kiamedia.com.