By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 7.6
The 2013 Kia Sorento is one of the best examples of a "right-sized" SUV – big enough to fit seven passengers in three rows of seats, yet small enough to easily maneuver through traffic and tight spaces. The Sorento's Goldilocks nature doesn't end there. This mid-size crossover offers three engine choices, and perhaps most impressive is the one in the middle, a direct-injection 4-cylinder that offers both power and fuel economy. With its good looks, host of amenities and premium options such as ventilated leather seats, the U.S.-built Kia Sorento is a seriously pleasing family vehicle. Throw in Kia's value pricing and its 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty, and the Sorento becomes an even more attractive alternative to rivals like the Chevrolet Equinox and Toyota Highlander.
If you're looking for a capable and family-friendly crossover SUV that won't break the bank yet still has plenty of features, put the Kia Sorento on your shopping list.
For 2013 the Sorento receives a new Kia badge up front, leather seating becomes standard for the mid-tier EX trim, and the 3rd-row seats are now standard on LX V6 models and optional on EX V6 and SX trims.
Driving Impressions Around town or on the open road, the Sorento is a fine travel mate. The SUV is well-mannered, easy to maneuver, and relatively comfortable. Front-wheel drive (FWD) is standard, with...all-wheel drive (AWD) optional on all trim levels. In a nice surprise, all-wheel-drive versions have a switch that locks the center differential for better traction on slippery surfaces and for when things get rough on occasional off-pavement excursions. With the base engine, acceleration is adequate, but there isn't much power in reserve for passing. More welcome is the newer direct-injection 4-cylinder engine that is optional in LX models and standard in EX versions. For those wanting the most power and towing capability (up to 3,500 pounds), a V6 is offered across the line. The Sorento's sole transmission is a smooth, refined 6-speed automatic. Seating position is good and interior controls are a cinch to locate and use.
2.4-LITER DIRECT-INJECTION ENGINE
Though it's the same size as the base 4-cylinder, this engine benefits from direct-injection technology, which makes more efficient use of fuel to boost both fuel economy and power.
LOCKABLE CENTER DIFFERENTIAL
Rare on a crossover SUV, this feature on all-wheel-drive Sorentos helps the SUV gain better traction in slippery and off-pavement environments.
Peek inside a well-equipped Kia Sorento and you might think you're looking at a car from a premium brand. Details abound on the dash and door panels, and soft-touch surfaces are easy on the eyes and hands. Numerous cloth patterns and leather combinations help the Sorento to further distance itself from the plebeian models of its past. Legroom is good in the 3-passenger second row, but expectedly tight in the 2-seat third row. That last row is best for children, and folds flat when not in use. With both rows folded, cargo capacity swells to 72.5 cubic feet.Exterior
The Sorento has a boxy, angular profile of classic SUVs versus the rotund shape of competitors such as the Nissan Murano. In addition to endowing it with looks that will likely hold up well in the future, they also help make the most of the Sorento's passenger and cargo space. Up front is the new Kia badging surrounded by a honeycomb grille, which itself sits between menacing headlights. Exterior bits vary by model, with higher trims receiving items like silver roof rails and a rear spoiler. LX models ride on 17-inch wheels, and EX and SX trims ride on 18-inch wheels.
A base 2013 Kia Sorento comes with a 175-horsepower 4-cylinder engine and 6-speed automatic transmission, black wood trim, Bluetooth wireless connectivity, and AM/FM/CD/satellite audio system with USB and auxiliary inputs. Higher trim levels bring bigger and more power engine choices and features like leather seating, automatic climate control with rear compartment air conditioning, push-button start/stop, and the voice-activated UVO telematics system. Top-line SX models are stuffed with features like heated front seats, a 10-speaker Infinity premium audio system, and auto-dimming rear-view mirror.
Availability of extras depends on trim levels, but Kia has clustered popular options into packages. The Convenience Package on all-wheel-drive base models, for example, includes roof rails, backup warning system, UVO telematics system, and fog lights. EX and SX models include premium packages that include amenities like a navigation system, panoramic sunroof, air-cooled driver's seat, illuminated scuff plate, and heated steering wheel. Note that the packages can cost thousands extra, and are your only way of getting particular options such as a built-in nav system.
The 2013 Kia Sorento offers a choice of three gasoline engines. Its port-injected 2.4-liter 4-cylinder makes 175 horsepower and 169 lb-ft of torque, while the 3.5-liter V6 turns out a far more energetic 276 horsepower and 248 lb-ft of torque. The GDI (gasoline direct-injection) 2.4-liter 4-cylinder may be the perfect choice, with 191 horsepower and an EPA estimated 30 mpg on the highway. All versions feature a Kia-designed 6-speed automatic transmission with Sportmatic manual shift mode. Towing capacity is rated at 1,650 pounds maximum for models with the 4-cylinder engines and 3,500 pounds for those with the V6.
175 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
169 lb-ft of torque @ 3,750 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 21/29 mpg (FWD), 21/27 mpg (AWD)
2.4-liter inline-4 (gasoline direct-injection)
191 horsepower @ 6,300 rpm
181 lb-ft of torque @ 4,250
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 21/30 mpg (FWD), 20/26 mpg (AWD)
276 horsepower @ 6,300 rpm
248 lb-ft of torque @ 5,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/26 mpg (FWD), 18/24 mpg (AWD)
By jo on Monday, October 13, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 16,500overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "drives great great gas mileage.tires like new"
Cons: "no power seats or moon roof.dealer service"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"like new no smoking in it has 10 yr 100000 mile warranty can't afford need to down size kids in college need to sell.drove to mytrle beach twice great gas mileage plenty of room.dealer service no marks garage keep husband clean freak washed weekly"
5 people out of 9 found this review helpful
By Dave on Saturday, September 27, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 3,900overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"Gas milage was great at first but somehow has declined to around 16 for suburban driving. Vehicle does demonstrate some understeer and traction control is somewhat limited on quick starts."
6 people out of 8 found this review helpful
By Bill K on Sunday, September 21, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 9,500overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fun to drive a head turner."
Cons: "Drivers seat and passenger seat is too low."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I owned 5 new Ford SUV's in 21 years; this by far is much higher quality. The front seat I find uncomfortable it is not plush like in America cars. This is definitely a deal breaker."
13 people out of 27 found this review helpful
By tim molloy on Friday, September 19, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 30,000overall rating 2 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"had this car for a year had a problem with electric system cuts out for no reason cant find problem or solve problem. My be a lemon other people having same problem. may have to walk away from Car."
4 people out of 9 found this review helpful
By pete on Thursday, September 04, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 29,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"very reliable, looks high quality, starts instantly, comfortable ride. very useful, slight problem with chrome on interior handles, best dealer I have dealt with."
14 people out of 28 found this review helpful
By The lil pre K teacher on Monday, September 01, 2014
I owned and sold this car
Reason: Had a lunging problem after engaging to D or R . Hill assist I think had a glitch. Kinda scary.
Pros: "Seating for 7, peppy V6 eng.,"
Cons: "Poor quality, better gas mileage,more appealing tr"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 5
"Ok the Sorento has for the most part been a fun and economical 4w SUV.... But the truck did start developing a lot of little annoying problems and 1 or two recalls . The truck developed a glitch in the hill assist system. The truck stalled and lunged after you engaged into a gear...never did for dealer but did trip ck. engine light though. But problem didn't register on error log nor do it for the dealer.. Crazy. Just Crazy. The back up camera started shorting out never been wrecked either,Most problems started around 80k miles extremely heavy highway driver. 113k miles in 4 years. Car always serviced at dealership even oil changes. So I was very surprised and extremely diss appointed with Kia being unable to find it."
2 people out of 3 found this review helpful