We’ve had our 2011 Kia Sorento for nearly three months now and I have not a single complaint about the vehicle, but universal praise. And Kia as a company is at least Saturn’s equal in customer service. Yesterday, among the various junk mail that fills the mail box on a Tuesday, was a $20 MasterCard gift card from Kia, as a thank you for completing the customer satisfaction survey they asked me to fill out a month or two ago. I had no idea at the time I complete the survey that I was going to be rewarded with the gift card, and I was happy to complete the survey anyway, and rank Kia very highly indeed. It was a pleasant surprise, therefore, to find the debit card in the mail yesterday, but it is also typical of my experience with Kia thus far. I loved my Saturn, and I thought Saturn was a great company and I was sat to see them go. But I have to say that so far, I love my Kia even more, and I have been very impressed by their company and especially their customer service, and I would have no hesitation in recommending them to others.
Yesterday, I posted about how we like the new car after two weeks of driving it. In that post, I said:
One thing I don’t like about the car is that it doesn’t warn you when you leave the headlights on the way both of our old cars did. But I suspect it shuts them off automatically if you forget, I just haven’t tested it yet.
This morning, when we dropped the Little Man off at school, I tested this out. I left the lights on, shut off the car and locked it remotely, thinking maybe that would turn the lights off. Nope. We went into the school with the lights still on, and when we came out… the lights were off. Apparently there is a timer in play that shuts them off after a minute or two after the car has been shut down. This would explain why there is no need for a little alarm to remind you the lights are on, and of course, this also makes moot the minor complaint I made yesterday.
We’ve been driving our new 2011 Kia Sorento for just over 2 weeks now and I figured it was time to summarize my thoughts on the experience so far. Keep in mind that prior to this, I drove a 1997 Saturn SL1, which I bought new in late 1996 and on which put more than 120,000 miles. It had power Nothing but overall I was happy with it.
If I was happy with the Saturn, I have been absolutely delighted by our new Kia.
Week took the Kia on a long weekend road trip to New York last weekend and it performed flawlessly. I had the opportunity to make use of the cruise control, which made the long drive a lot easier on my knees and which also improves the gas mileage.
The car is bigger and roomier than what I am used to. On Thanksgiving, our friends, with whom we were having dinner, asked us if we could bring an extra table. We happened to have a spare dining room table and I was able to fit it easily into the cargo area of the car without having to move the rear seats. It fit perfectly. Having a lot of space back there makes life easier. In the past, we’ve stuffed our Christmas trees awkwardly into one or another of our smaller cars and drove precariously back to the house, squished into the drivers seat being poked and prodded by branches. I’m looking forward to this weekend when we can fit it in much more easily.
I’m still getting used to parking the car, as it is bigger than what I am used to, but the integrated rear-facing camera and backup warning system made parallel parking up in New York so easy. I really like that system.
Kelly’s favorite feature so far are the driver and passenger seat-warmers. And I must admit, they come in handy on cold mornings like this morning when I had to scrape ice from the car. The defrost feature works fast, too, and apparently is integrated into the side-view mirrors, a touch for which I am extremely grateful. One thing I don’t like about the car is that it doesn’t warn you when you leave the headlights on the way both of our old cars did. But I suspect it shuts them off automatically if you forget, I just haven’t tested it yet.
It’s been doing pretty well on gas mileage, averaging about 25 MPG so far, but we’ve done roughly equal amounts of highway and city driving. Actually, we’ve been using the car quite a bit, probably because it’s new and that’s what you do with a new car. We typically drive 4,000 miles in a year, but already we’ve put just over 1,000 miles on the car.
I really like it and I look forward to driving it. As a car company, Kia has completely charmed me and I’ve been impressed by their cars and their salespeople. And just today I got an email outlining our first maintenance, which, of course, is free. My guess is that the service people will impress me just as much as the car and sales.
We bought a new car this weekend and after 14 years of driving my 1997 Saturn SL1 (which I bought new from Saturn of the Valley on October 22, 1996), I traded in that car as part of the deal. The new car (pictured above) is a 2011 Kia Sorento. The color, I am told by the folks as the dealership, is called “North Korean Green”.
Last week we test drove three different cars and over the course of the week, I contacted the various dealerships to negotiate pricing. As it turns out, Kia was by far the best car for the money. We paid well under invoice for the car and the car included a nice convenience package with stuff like heated seats, tinted windows, a roof rail, a rear-facing camera and backup system, and several other nice little options. The folks at Honda pressed me pretty hard to MAKE A DEAL. What can they do to close the deal, they asked me repeatedly. I told them they were close on price but could they match Kia’s warranty and service:
- 10 years/100,000 miles
- 5 years of free roadside assistance
- Free lifetime oil changes
- Free lifetime tire replacement
No, Honda could not match that but they kept pressing anyway. I finally told them so long and we decided that the Kia was what we wanted.
I went in on Saturday morning and met with Carlos, the salesman who showed us the car last week. He sped me through the process of purchasing the vehicle. I negotiated a good financing rate and after 2 hours at the dealership, I was driving home with the new car and leaving the old Saturn behind.
And can I just say: Buying from Fairfax Kia was a wonderful experience. Our salesman never pressured us. He gave us all of the rebates and discounts up front. He was patient with us while we made our decision and he made the purchase almost effortless. It was very different from my experience with Landmark Honda, where the salesman and managers were aggressive, virtually spamming me with email and who, although asking what they could do to MAKE THE DEAL, never seemed to listen to what I was saying. If there is anyone nearby considering a Kia, go to Fairfax Kia and ask for Carlos. He is outstanding.
And now a brief encomium for the Saturn.
I bought my Saturn brand new in the fall of 1996 after my previous car died suddenly and I never had a single complaint about the car or Saturn’s service. Had Saturn as a company survived, I would most certainly have considered buying another. When I traded the car into the dealer on Saturday, it had 126,300 miles. I never had a major mechanical issue with the car, but I could tell it was getting old and straining. Part of the reason we decided to get a new car now was so that we didn’t end up in a situation where one of our cars died and we had to rush into a decision. Despite how much I like our new car, I will miss my old Saturn. The picture above is how I last saw her, just before leaving the dealership.
But we are happy with our new car and we took it for a 300 mile round-trip drive today. Here’s the family in Staunton, VA with our newest member: