2010 Kia Sorento

The biggest news is the seriously updated Sorento. Gone is the old-school body-on-frame construction, replaced with a monocoque structure, which Kia says will deliver seating for seven, better performance and handling, better fuel economy and enhanced safety. The new Sorento has grown nearly four inches in length while the wheelbase has stretched almost half an inch, all of which Kia says will create a good deal more space for passengers and cargo. The Sorento's height has dropped by nearly an inch while its width has grown nearly the same amount, which should make the vehicle a bit more stable on the road. Unfortunately, that lost inch in height has been taken from the Sorento's ground clearance, giving up some off-road prowess for on-road stability. In all, this is a much more pavement-friendly vehicle.

The U.S.-spec Sorento will offer either a 2.4L inline four-cylinder engine producing 174 hp and 188 lb-ft or a 3.5L V-6 producing 277 hp and 247 lb-ft. Korean and world markets will also see a 197-hp diesel four-cylinder and a 165-hp 2.7L four-cylinder that runs on liquefied petroleum gas. Power will hit the ground via a five- or six-speed manual gearbox or a revised six-speed automatic, any of which can be mated to either a FWD or AWD powertrain. Yes, dirt lovers, Kia has forsaken the current Sorento's true 4WD for a more road-friendly AWD unit that typically drives the front wheels, but can send up to 50% of the power to the rear. The good news is, it can still tow up to 5,500 lbs in the right configuration.