Have A 2003 Kia Sorento 4x4 EX What To Do?

FerrumBruti

New member
Hello folks, Ferrum Bruti here. I'm new to the forum, and yes am a proud owner of a 2003 Kia Sorento 4x4 EX. How I acquired it is a bit of an "Oddball" story, which rightfully is it's name. Just like Donald Sutherland from Kelly's Heroes.

First a quick bit about Oddball. Originally I had a 2006 Ford Freestyle that was totaled by a 19 year old in the parking lot. Coming out from work I discovered what happened, called the police, exchange insurances the usual routine. For a while I was driving a Dodge Charger as a rental, yet the insurance company wanted me to return it. Boo hoo! I received a check for the cost of my car, wasn't much, and well prices on cars are high. Added with a 586 credit score due to medical bills. So in searching someone directed me to a Used Car Lot that was going out of business. The man there suggested the 2003 Kia Sorento with 205,000 miles on it. At first I felt this was going to be a waste of time. But after test driving it, and in the mud I might add, I came back, told him I love it but....power mirrors don't work. He dropped the price from 3k, to 2800.00. I offered 2785.00 as a counter offer. Done! Cash payed, got the deed, took care of the paperwork with DMV, and well love this thing.

So now comes the thing, what to do with her, I mean I am still learning this 1st gen Sorento and love it despite all her quarks. Guess Oddball and I can relate. So what I am looking at is, what subtle things to do for Overland/Off-road but also rigged as a bugout vehicle. Yet I don't want to junk the 3.5 liter V6, I love the engine and also the either it's four speed or five speed automatic rated @5300rpms. So, having 192 hp isn't that bad. But, is it possible to tinker with the electronics to tweak just a little more juice for hp? Or maybe install a turbo charger kit? Or do both? Or just leave it be? I know it's a lot to inquire about, and KIA engines are a bit new to me, though I have tinkered with some old school Jeep engines, and Nissans as well. Both In Lines, and V6s.

Anyways, excited to be here and hope to hear some ideas, and get some feedback.
 

skrypj

Well-known member
Ive seen a built Sorrento posted in the Lexus GX groups. While i dont know the details, they exist and I am sure you can find something.
 
What to do with it? use it to get a job and raise your credit score so you dont have to drive a kia, Keep it on the pavement, trade it in for something that won't be laughed at off road. Sell it to a teenager as their first car.

Why would you waste money trying to raise the horsepower of a Kia? Much less offroad it, I don't get it.
 

Todd n Natalie

OverCamper
What to do with it? use it to get a job and raise your credit score so you dont have to drive a kia, Keep it on the pavement, trade it in for something that won't be laughed at off road. Sell it to a teenager as their first car.

Why would you waste money trying to raise the horsepower of a Kia? Much less offroad it, I don't get it.
I wouldn't write it off just cause it's a Kia. Nothing wrong with this Kia in my mind:
kia-telluride-feat.jpg

View attachment telluride-1557169294.mp4
 

grizzlypath

Member
If it were me I'd focus on ensuring all the maintenance is good to go, then move on to restoring items that could due with being replaced (torn seats? old hoses? etc), after that I'd want to upgrade tires and then honestly if everything is working that'll get you most places and you can just add misc accessories!
 

skrypj

Well-known member
I think some people posting here might be missing the fact that a first gen Sorrento is a true body on frame, solid axle truck with 4hi/4lo. Its no slouch, it just doesnt have a lot of/ zero aftermarket support.

But i think you could make a very cool, decently capable rig with some ingenuity. You dont need to spend $10000 on suspension and run 37’s to get away.

As mentioned, try to get the maintenance done and then throw a set of all terrains on it and I bet you can get some cool places.

But as far as increasing power, youve got the wrong truck.
 
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TwinStick

Explorer
Tires, tires, tires. Tires will make a huge difference offroad. I would try to score a second set of wheels and put some mud terrain tires on them. Only use them when going offroad.

I have seen trucks with no lockers or limited slip get stuck on grass in their yard. It was pretty pathetic for a 4x4. I told him to put some good M/T's on it. He did & it turned into a beast. He showed me some hunting pics and his truck was absolutely covered in mud. He said it was the best thing he ever did to his truck.

I'm an old farm boy, so tire noise is music to my ears and slinging mud was/is just part of life sometimes.
 

bartheil

Member
The 2003 Sorento is an old model but very solid. About the size and capability of the first-ten Toyota Fortuners.
Good luck with your medical issues and may this car serve you well!
 

NoDak

Active member
Baseline it.

Maintenance, shocks, new LT all terrain tires and send it.

Don't mess with power adders.
 

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