Gay Car Geek: 2015 Kia Sorento SX—No One Has to Know It Didn’t Break your Bank

While it feels good when someone says your ass looks great in your new $300 jeans, it’s just as savory when you get a compliment in a $10 tank top from Target. Seriously, if it’s all about looking good and feeling good, why should it matter how much you spend? Same thing applies with automobiles. Case in point: the 2014 Kia Sorento, which was recently refreshed with snazzier front and rear styling, improved suspensions, and more refined engines for 2014. During my week with it, puh-lenty of compliments came in, along with a few incredulous “This is a Kia?!?!” comments from the peanut gallery as well.

It probably helped that said Sorento was the top-of-the-line, all-wheel-drive SX model, which rang a tally of more than $39K. Yeah, that’s some coin for a Kia anything, but it’s cheaper than comparably equipped three-rowers from Toyota, Nissan, or anything with a luxury brand badge. For that price, the SX comes loaded with leather upholstery, black wood-grain trim, three rows of seats (great for Sunday Fun-day carpooling), an excellent Infiniti audio system (also great for same), rear air conditioning (ditto), and the mother of all moonroofs, which reaches back to the third row.

The 290-hp V-6 (which is standard on all but the cheap LX model) has abundant power, and is silky smooth in operation. Unless you take road trips to cold climes, I’d suggest skipping the all-wheel drive system, which would both reduce the MSRP and yield an extra mile per gallon in fuel economy. Regardless of which you choose, all come with Kia’s legendary 10-year powertrain warranty, and it’s also nice to know that the Sorento is built just one state away in Georgia.

There are plenty of pricey crossovers out there, but not all of them are all that much better than the handsome Sorento, so if you’re looking to cross over to a crossover — or like to be the designated driver on the weekends — you could do lot worse (while paying more) than the Sorento.

2015 Kia Sorento SX
Base Price: $39,195
Price as Tested: $39,195
Power: 3.3-liter V-6 (290 hp, 252 lb-ft of torque)
Transmission: 6-speed automatic
Fuel Economy, city/hwy mpg (EPA est): 18/24

Or you could buy:

Ford Explorer
Hyundai Santa Fe
Mazda CX-9

Renowned automotive journalist Steve Siler pioneered automotive writing for the GLBT community in 1998 and currently contributes auto news and reviews to Car and Driver Magazine, Yahoo Autos, The New York Daily News, Autoblog, Details, and many more. You can follow his adventures on Twitter/Instagram: @silerroad.