Every year, the SEMA show gathers the best in aftermarket automotive equipment out in the desert of Las Vegas. But this year, Kia has a car that should put you in mind of an entirely different part of the country: the Pacific Northwest. And, if the photos and general motif of the Sorento-based concept don’t do it, Kia has named the show car “PacWest Adventure.” The concept is a shot at imbuing the Sorento with a bit more off-road credibility, and truthfully, Kia did a very thorough job with it. Of course, the Sorento generally isn’t the first vehicle that people think of for off-roading, so Kia did have something to prove with the concept.

The end result is barely recognizable as a Sorento, even though — with the exception of the rather elaborate paint job — almost all of the exterior modifications are bolt-ons. Moreover, outside of a couple of showy choices to attract the eyes of SEMA’s show-goers, this is primarily a sober, and highly practical machine for a weekend outing in the northwestern wilderness. Just look past the crazy paint and the odd choices made for the interior, and it’s difficult to think of a better way to outfit a Sorento for off-roading.

Continue reading to learn more about the Kia Sorento PacWest Adventure.

  • 2015 Kia Sorento PacWest Adventure
  • Year:
    2015
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • 0-60 time:
    7 sec. (Est.)
  • Top Speed:
    125 mph (Est.)
  • car segment:
  • body style:

Exterior

2015 Kia Sorento PacWest Adventure High Resolution Exterior
- image 654286

What probably caught your eye first about the car is the paint. It would have been easy for Kia to have used a vinyl wrap, but it’s actually layered paint with several different shades of green with pearl and candy effects to give it a different look from different angles. There is a forest scene painted on either side, with something apparently glowing just beyond the treeline. It looks as though it could be a screen shot from the X-Files, but that show was shot in the Pacific Northwest, so it’s not an entirely inappropriate association. There are also some tire tread graphics over the forest scene for some reason.

Otherwise, the modifications to the exterior are pretty much what you’d expect. The coilovers have been swapped out for new Fox Racing shocks and Eibach springs, which raise the ride height by a full six inches. There are custom fender flares, under which are a new set of beadlock wheels with big off-road tires. There are custom bumpers, as well as skid plates and side bars, which Kia says have been fitted to protect the paint. The grille has been replaced with wire mesh, although the shape remains unchanged. There is a roof luggage rack, as well as a winch, and if you need a bit of extra light, there are two LED light bars. And, if you need to get across a stream, there is even a snorkel.

Interior

2015 Kia Sorento PacWest Adventure High Resolution Interior
- image 654294

Like the exterior, the interior has had a thorough going-over, and is not exactly what you would call subtle. The dash, center console and door inserts are custom painted in the same electric green that also graces parts of the exterior. The dash has been reworked to incorporate rocker switches for the external LED lighting, as well as a new 8-inch Alpine Mobile Media head unit. The seats have been reupholstered with what looks to be a mix of cloth and leather, although Kia hasn’t actually given any specific information about the materials. There are Kia logos embroidered into the headrests and more tire tread patterns on the cloth parts of the seats. It’s all pretty wacky looking, but none of this makes it any less practical, and the Sorento does have a spacious and practical interior.

Drivetrain

2015 Kia Sorento PacWest Adventure High Resolution Exterior
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Kia specifically mentions that the engine has been left untouched in the concept, although the engine that has been selected is the highest-output of the three offered for the SUV. This produces 290 horsepower and 252 pounds-feet of torque, which really should be perfectly adequate. There is no manual transmission offered, which puts the Sorento at a disadvantage against other serious off-roaders, but it’s probably fine for most of the people who actually buy Sorentos. Front-wheel drive is standard on the Sorento, but it is safe to assume that the concept is equipped with the optional all-wheel-drive.

Conclusion

2015 Kia Sorento PacWest Adventure High Resolution Exterior
- image 654291

Many of the parts used to make this concept are completely functional, and it has almost certainly made for a more capable versions of the Sorento. Does that make it good in comparison to vehicles that are more obviously built for off-roading? That’s slightly more difficult to say, but a lack of solid axles or locking differentials does suggest an all-wheel-drive system that’s better suited to snowy mall parking lots than to the very serious trails that the Pacific Northwest has to offer. At the same time, Kia doesn’t seem to really be offering this as a serious rival to the Jeep Wrangler. The concept is just to help you think of the Sorento as something other than just another large crossover trying hard not to be a minivan, and if all goes according to plan Kia will move a few more units of the all-wheel-drive versions of the Sorento.

  • Leave it
    • * not nearly the vehicle you’re meant to think it is
    • * an off-roader with paint so expensive you’d never take it off-road
    • * all that green isn’t making the interior look any less cheap

Press Release

Home to both the Emerald City (Seattle) and the Rose City (Portland) and thousands of square miles of forest in between, the Pacific Northwest embodies a relaxed, no-hassle lifestyle that helped launch a music revolution in the 20th century and a craft beer revolution in the 21st century. People who call this territory home thrive on the outdoors and nature, and the PacWest Adventure Sorento is the perfect companion to get them there.

2015 Kia Sorento PacWest Adventure High Resolution Exterior
- image 654288

Designed and hand-built by the creative team at LGE-CTS Motorsports, the exterior of the PacWest Adventure Sorento is the product of a labor-intensive, completely custom, multi-layer painting process utilizing pearls and candy effects that give the vehicle an ever-changing chameleon effect. Toned-down hues of electric and deep-forest green combine to capture the rugged beauty of the region. All chrome accents are painted matte black to provide some visual toughness to the Sorento’s sporty appearance. To scare away the shadows and potentially spot an errant Sasquatch running through the trees, the Sorento is equipped with twin LED low-profile light bars, one of which is mounted within the tubular sculpture of the front bumper, the other nestled into the roof rack.

To provide the PacWest Adventure Sorento with go-anywhere capability, LGE-CTS fabricated an all-new front under carriage assembly to allow for greater wheel travel and a taller stance. At the rear, retooled and lengthened connecting and trailing arms better locate the tires for off-road excursions and lend to the vehicle’s menacing stance. In all, the PacWest Adventure Sorento rides six inches higher than a standard Sorento. The high-riding suspension enabled LGE-CTS to bolt on some serious off-road footwear in the form of LT285/70R17 Nitto Trail Grappler M/Ts, which are wrapped around a set of BMF’s new S.S.D. 17x8.5-in. beadlock-style wheels lurking beneath custom fender flares. Soaking up the rough-and-tumble Pacific Northwest landscape and keeping the PacWest Sorento sunny side up are Fox Racing 2.0 coilover shocks embraced by Eibach springs. New fabricated front and rear bumpers with integrated wraparound steel skid plates and side bars protect the artistic paint job when the going gets rough. A MileMarker PE4500ES winch threaded with an ultra-strong synthetic strap will come in handy when others are mired in mud. LGE-CTS retained Kia’s signature “tiger nose” grille frame while utilizing free-breathing wire mesh from GrillCraft as a tasteful custom touch. The tailor-made roof rack holds everything needed for an overnight camping trip, including an ARB tow strap and E-Z deflator kit. The stock Sorento’s 290 horsepower and 252 lb.-ft. of torque are enough for anything short of a vertical climb, but the new WFJ snorkel intake system allows the PacWest Adventure Sorento to be a land-based submersible.

2015 Kia Sorento PacWest Adventure High Resolution Exterior
- image 654289

The stock Sorento is focused on cosseting its occupants in supreme comfort. The PacWest Adventure Sorento, while still very comfortable, is more focused on its intention to get its passengers deep into the forests of the region and safely back out again. Interior features include custom painted dash- and door-panel inserts, a Daystar switch panel and rocker switches to activate the LED lights, and rugged floor mats. Stitched Kia logos found in the headrests and the seat cushions include custom tire-tread embroidery with green leather back and thigh supports. A color 8-inch Alpine Mobile Media entertainment system with front camera rounds out an artfully crafted off-roader.

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