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 Corky on Friday, December 19, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 25,600overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Ride, price, room"
Cons: "GPS, instruments, mileage"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"This car replaced our 12 year old Aztek which we loved (even though everyone thought it ugly) so it has a lot to live up to. Although only about 200 #'s less than our FWD Aztek the Sorento's FWD traction is not as good. We like the ride of the Sorento as well as all the "bells and whistles" that have came about since. My wife now will never have a car that doesn't have heated/cooled seats and I really like the rear camera. I am extremely disappointed to recently find out I have to pay the dealership $250 to get the GPS maps updated. A feature I really didn't want when I bought the car but it was in the "package". I get free updates for life with my $99 over the counter brand GPS. The other thing which is a safety issue is the coloring of the speedometer needle, red, is difficult to see in the bright sunlight, making it harder to see (or longer to focus on where it is). MPG on dash is always 2 MPG less than actual. (I track all gas put in the car) I do like this car and would buy another if those and some other minor issues are addressed"
By Sprinks on Wednesday, December 03, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 15,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Good value for the money"
Cons: "Rearward vision"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"Empty nesters. Tried to make do with a compact car for travel and after our last trip vowed we would never take a trip in that car again. Purchased the 2013 KIA Sorento, used with low miles, and have been very satisfied with the vehicle. Good size for light hauling (since I had to give up my pickup truck). Rides smoothly on the interstate. Rearward vision can be a problem if you aren't comfortable with mirrors. The backup camera is very helpful in overcoming the rearward vision problem in parking lots."
13 people out of 19 found this review helpful
By jclang2 on Wednesday, December 03, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 64,100overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "great price & warranty, comfortable to drive"
Cons: "gas mileage is ok"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I love this car. I got it new and loved it on site. After the test drive I was sold...plus it was over $10,000 less then other cars with same features, which was awesome!!! I wouldn't hesitate to get another one"
3 people out of 7 found this review helpful
By Dee on Friday, November 14, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 26,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"All in all, I love my Kia even more than I loved my Lincoln Navigator. Low mileage, easy maintenance, reliable and comfortable. We took the Kia from MN down to Fort Lauderdale, FL and all through out the south before returning home....it was a great trip!"
18 people out of 30 found this review helpful
By Kitty on Sunday, November 02, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 16,500overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"This car is very roomy and comfortable. It has required no extra work or repairs. Regular oil changes and maintenance has kept the card running well. I would recommend it and would buy another of these. Great gas mileage on the road."
8 people out of 9 found this review helpful
By H on Sunday, November 02, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 6,200overall rating 3 of 10rating details
Pros: "Good looking car"
Cons: "unsafe due to visibility problems with speedometer"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"The electronic speedometer needle is very difficult to see in sunlight. Kia refuses to address the issue. They claim there is no sensor but I question that. It would seem a software fix could be done. My 2012 was excellent but will not keep this car much longer and will never buy a Kia product again because of their lack of response. Their last comment to me was "Kia cannot help you""
8 people out of 11 found this review helpful