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 umgawa on Thursday, July 24, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 52,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "great value, very comfortable"
Cons: "not the greatest gas mileage"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I've owned one for over 2 years. This vehicle is comfortable, has a ton of amenities, is roomy, and is a fraction of the price of similar SUVs. The handling of a vehicle of this size is quite surprise; it has a very tight turn radius and is extremely stable and secure. I don't even think about roll-overs in this vehicle. I have the V6, so it has lots of power when you want it, especially with the semi-manual transmission. I added a tow hitch, which adds a lot of possibilities to its use. It has been reliable so far. The only complaint is that the gas mileage is on the low side: I average 22-24 MPG."
1 person out of 2 found this review helpful
By Casey on Tuesday, July 22, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 25,670overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great Everything as far as Im concerned."
Cons: "None...Its a good car"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I am on my second Sorento. I now drive a 2014 after trading my 2012. Great Ride! I really like this vehicle. Really good power for a 4 cyl. Great at cruising the expressway, or buzzing around town. Im a big guy, 6'2 225 pounds and I have plenty of room. Very comfortable seats and you are able to obtain many configurations with the seats and adjustable steering wheel. Really good steering response for a vehicle of this type. I do a lot of driving on the expressway and get really good mileage at cruising speeds, about 31 mpg. I get around 25 around town. Stereo is great and so is the voice command. Im impressed with the voice command. Great Feature that actually works. I recommend a Kia for sure!"
By Judy on Tuesday, July 15, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 21,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Warranty first, and cargo space second."
Cons: "The tires that come with it will be replaced."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I did alot of research and I love this car. It is great to drive on long or short trips. The warranty package is great and I'm covered for 10 years and 7 years on paint etc, i figure that I will have it for 10 years, because I like it so much."
4 people out of 4 found this review helpful
By Jim on Saturday, June 28, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 70,570overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great price and sharp looks"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Our 2013 Sorento is the second Sorento we have owned. Totally our family has owned 5 Kias. Each has always had a high quality for the price. The 2013 Sorento has all the luxury we could want plus excellent gas mileage of between 22-23 highway and 19-21 city."
11 people out of 19 found this review helpful
By Coop on Friday, June 20, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 33,500overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Good bang for buck, great value"
Cons: "S-l-o-w motor, cheap seats"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"We've had this 3rd row equipped Sorento for a couple years, with the I-4. My chief complaint is the flat feeling seats, I have trucks, so I'm used to padding, my wife came from an uber cheap 06-ish Malibu, so she's used to cardboard seating, I am not. The 3rd row is very helpful with people who need a minivan but refuse to buy one (ahem!!! Wifey), but with the rears up, you won't hold much beyond a single gym bag, and maybe a gallon of milk back there with it. The rear doors are large enough to get kids in and out, the 2nd row passenger seat "tumbles" forward, looks easy enough to get in, my 250lb over 6ft frame can get back there, once I'm there, getting back out is the trick! Aside of the cheap seats, I hate the steering wheel size, feels video game small. This is just me and trucks I'm sure, but I personally don't like it. I don't like the chrome trim around the gauges, it reflects sunlight in the eyes quite often. The overall interior is really nice looking, is holding up well to kids, but we are the "don't eat, don't drink" in the car parents, so that helps a ton. The little engine, it really seems to struggle. It's a little 4 cylinder, and it shows it. I use the manu-matic mode just to get it up around 3K so it feels like it's moving, it really feels sluggish. Gets mid to high 20's for mileage, which was below the reported mileage, so we get rebate money from that, but I don't know if you'd get that buying it used. Overall, it's a nicely styled car/van/SUV thing, rides pretty well, cruises along nicely, just has troubles passing people, and getting up to speed from a stop. It holds 6 comfortably, and 7 if the middle row has children or real small (skinny) adults. Has a lot of options, the XM/Sirius is cool, good sounding stereo, and the backup camera is really handy, as these vehicles aren't exactly the easiest thing to back into a parking spot, or a garage."
8 people out of 15 found this review helpful
By Disgusted Owner on Friday, June 20, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 62,000overall rating 4 of 10rating details
Pros: "Gas mileage, price"
Cons: "Quality, reliability"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"I have a 2011 Kia Sorento and a 2010 Kia Forte. Both were bought brand new within 6 months of each other. Both are very comfortable, nice looking, get great gas mileage and affordable. However, we have had multiple problems with both vehicles. Just on the Sorento: Brake switch (replaced twice because the first one failed and the replacement part was recalled), power lock/window controls, heated seat on passenger side, fan motor, screws fell out of the dome light, transmission failed & was finally replaced after multiple repairs, gas cap door had to be adjusted multiple times because it wouldn't open, transmission sensor just had to be replaced (in the new transmission). The list goes on plus there have been a couple recall repairs. We've had similar issues with the Forte - steering wheel controls for stereo/cruise control failed (volume button activated the cruise control, station button changed the volume etc), brake switch failed, rear brakes extremely corroded after only 15k miles, speaker wires came loose, etc... While all repairs have been under warranty, the factory warranty is now expired on the Sorento and we were actually persuaded NOT to buy the extended warranty because Kia is supposed to be so reliable and has a 10 year 100k mile powertrain warranty. I now regret not buying the extended warranty because many of the repairs would not be considered powertrain issues and will now not be covered if similar things fail in the future. Kia needs to significantly improve their quality and reliability before I will ever consider owning another one. We've spent far too much time back and forth at the dealership for cars that were bought new and have less than 65k miles on them."
5 people out of 9 found this review helpful