I am considering buying a 2011 Kia Sorento EX and was wondering about front-wheel drive versus all-wheel drive with a four-cylinder. What's your opinion? We live in Syracuse, N.Y., do mostly around-town driving. Our other car is a 2006 Azera front-wheel drive and seems to work fine. I am currently driving a 2004 TrailBlazer with 4x4 capabilities, which is what I would be replacing with the Kia.
Seeing as you can get around fine with a front-wheel-drive Azera, our editors think you could very well have the same experience in a front-wheel-drive Sorento and save some coin. On the EX, all-wheel drive adds $1,700 to the $24,595 starting price.
Adding winter tires during the snowy season is always an option if, after your purchase, you find that front-wheel drive isn’t the best in your area. Winter tires will likely cost less than all-wheel drive and can make up some of the performance difference between front- and all-wheel drive.
All-wheel drive still has the advantage with heavier snow and especially in hilly areas. The V-6, all-wheel-drive 2011 Sorento performed extremely well after a heavy snowfall in Chicago when tested by Cars.com senior editor David Thomas. Many choose all-wheel drive as a safety measure for the “what if” scenarios, like getting caught in a snowstorm or stuck in the deep snow. If you decide not to give up the security you have with your current TrailBlazer and go with an all-wheel-drive Sorento, the Sorento is still significantly more gas friendly than your four-wheel-drive TrailBlazer.
The 2004 TrailBlazer is rated at 14/19 mpg city/highway; the EPA’s ratings were adjusted in 2008 to reflect a more real-world use. The four-cylinder Sorento with all-wheel drive is rated at 21/27 mpg, which isn’t significantly less fuel efficient than the front-wheel-drive Sorento at 21/29 mpg.
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