Big Guy Car Guy

A $40,000 Headrest (or Why I Love the 2016 Kia Sorento SXL)


Aside from the decision whether or not to plunk down, say, $1200 for a Sleep Number, Simmons, Serta or another brand of mattress invariably beginning with the letter ‘S’ after lying horizontal while fully clothed, sneakers on, for a period of time not greater than 23 seconds, is anything more absurd than signing papers for a $40,000 car loan based on a drive around the block?

Possibly. How does locking yourself into 5 years worth of automotive debt because of a headrest sound?


Most cars come standard with front seat headrests that are nothing more than upholstered concrete slabs set atop miniature steel tent pools, but the 2016 Kia Sorento SXL offers drivers and their first mates so. much. more; a luxuriously cushioned resting place, a scalp palace if you will, with which to lean back against whilst a high tech cruise control does its job like a metronome on elongated stretches of I-95 nothingness.

This is how I first came to know and love the headrest of this premium Kia SUV, on the miles of asphalt between where I am and where I needed to be, on very little sleep, beneath skies that resembled the undercarriage of my 15-year-old stainless steel All-Clad cookware, while being pelted unmercifully by a downpour that wouldn’t quit, en route to Raleigh, NC for the 20th Annual National At-Home Dad Convention where I was scheduled to speak.

Is it odd to spill so much ink on a headrest? Maybe. But bear with me for a few more paragraphs. I think it’ll eventually make some sense.


Every new car you can possibly roll off a lot from the Jersey Shore to Marina Del Rey will connect points A, B and Z for you. After all, there’s nothing more standard in a vehicle than that it will do exactly what any and all vehicles are designed to do: get you places without the need for a pack mule, rickshaw, covered wagon or a single solitary equine. With this understanding, what we then seek out when selecting a new vehicle with which to lug our kids and their stuff, surfboards, shafts of lumber, or business laptop around are the tiniest elements of ingenuity, comfort and safety. Those smallish bits are what separates the cars we leave at the dealer after ‘round the block test drives and the one we drive off the lot for good. It’s here where the Kia Sorento SXL sets itself apart. My head had never been more pampered and I dare say that I have never felt safer behind the wheel.

The safety features of the 2016 Kia Sorento SXL bring about an abundance of beeps and clicks, but it is not an exaggeration to say that those small noises are saving lives. I’d be lying if I said I was spry during my entire stint behind the wheel down to Raleigh and back, but the SXL sensed everything; the good and the possibly bad, and either let me know what was going down or outright fixed the potential problem on its own. The future has never seemed so present.


The smarts and style of the Kia Sorento SXL don’t start and stop up by your headspace or in the beeps alerting you that yes, there is someone already occupying the next lane over. The front seats, which, I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out, are quite possibly the most delicious shade of red I’ve ever seen inside a car — let’s just say they’re very POM Wonderful — can cool or warm your buns AND your back in seconds. If you live in a place with seasons, the ability to oscillate between toasty and chilly is crucial, especially this time of year right now when you’re likely living in a real life weather laboratory; 82 degrees and abundant sunshine one day, 54 and cloudy the next, then back to 73 with a spritz, before plummeting down to 48 with a deluge.


Finally, the Infinity sound system of the 2016 Kia Sorento SXL isolates the music, audiobook or podcast you are enjoying to the rear speakers while the GPS is doling out your next maneuver. This is a clever trick to keep those not concerned with navigational pursuits fully entertained throughout the journey. It’s all about the clever little tricks with this refined SUV from Kia.

Whether it’s the headrests, safety alerts before switching lanes, the subtle touch of repositioned audio during a GPS instruction or a soundproof cabin that let’s you hear ‘em both, these are the very pressure points that make our automotive eeny, meeny, miny, and moe-ing land not so randomly on the very car we wish to sink ourselves into every day henceforth.

Those sinking into a 2016 Kia Sorento SXL will be doing so very, very happily.


*DriveShop so graciously provided me with a Kia Sorento SXL for 6 days, to make this road trip to Raleigh. All opinions expressed above, even the bit about a ‘scalp palace’, are 100% my own and 100% unbiased. I mean, who else would write this kind of a car story? Exactly.

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