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2013 Kia Sorento Photo
8.0
/ 10
TCC Rating
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Reviewed by Marty Padgett
Editorial Director, The Car Connection
BASE INVOICE
$22,370
BASE MSRP
$23,150
Quick Take
It's an easy call among crossovers: the 2013 Kia Sorento has the right features, the right fuel economy, and the right size. Read more »
Decision Guide
Opinions from around the Web
Styling
Performance
Quality
Safety
Features
Mileage

When it comes to Kia's recent design direction, sharp, geometric shapes and creases are the name of the game, especially noticeable in the case of the Sorento as the eye is drawn to the vehicle's deeply chiseled window sills and rocker panels.

Autoblog »

Though vaguely reminiscent of the Mitsubishi Outlander, it's nonetheless a creased, well-proportioned and confident step away from the anonymity of the outgoing Sorento.

Inside Line »

The Sorento’s cabin has a nice mix of textures and a handsome, logical design.

Car and Driver »

Inside, the Sorento's dashboard is simple but sleek, and the subtle faux-wood trim piece that bisects it is a welcome upscale touch. The plastics are all hard, but they look good and are certainly class-competitive.

Edmunds »

Although the materials are on par with competitors, Kia hasn't perfected the finer details of texture, graining, and finishes. There's an abundance of matte black plastic where other automakers would inject a touch of style.

Automobile »
Pricing and Specifications by Style
$23,150 $33,400
MSRP $23,150
INVOICE $22,370 Browse used listings in your area
2WD 4-Door I4 LX
Gas Mileage 21 mpg City/30 mpg Hwy
Engine Gas I4, 2.4L
EPA Class Sport Utility Vehicle - 2WD
Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
Passenger Capacity 5
Passenger Doors 4
Body Style Sport Utility
See Detailed Specs »
8.0 out of 10
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The Basics:

The Kia Sorento knows a thing or two about reinvention. Back in 2011, it gave up on the truck-based formula that it had relied on since it was brand-new, chucking it all for a version of Kia's mid-size Optima platform and a new mission as the brand's mainstream crossover. Trading off-road talent for on-road fluency has paid off: Kia can hardly keep up with sales at its Georgia assembly plant. But more important, it's crafted a crossover that offers shoppers a good alternative to a slew of best-sellers--Escape, CR-V, Edge, and Equinox among them.

The Sorento returns for the 2013 model year with no major mechanical changes, and just a few updated features. It remains a value-rich vehicle, even in base form, with all kinds of configurations and options--engines, transmissions, traction systems, seating--to appeal to almost any wagon buyer. It's all wrapped in good-looking, nicely detailed sheetmetal that doesn't play to outdated SUV cues, and doesn't go overboard on mimicking carlike shapes or worse, borrow from boats. Handsome in a middle-of-the-road manner, the Sorento's charm only dulls a bit when the plastics in the cabin undergo a tougher scrutiny. They're not shiny, and they're matched well--they're just not as lush as you think they'll be, with all the tight fits and spare lines.

Most Sorento drivers will want to leap instinctively for the top V-6 drivetrain, but there's a four-cylinder in the middle worth examining. It's not the base 2.4-liter, 175-horsepower four, though--skip that one and the manual that's only available with it. It's sluggish and dated, and delivers low gas mileage that's only offset by its low base price. The mid-range four, with direct injection, is up to snuff: it's a 191-hp four that spins sweetly enough, and delivers as much as 30 mpg highway according to the EPA's ratings, with a well-sorted automatic transmission and good handling that gives more weight to comfortable ride than to even moderately brisk cornering. Opting into the V-6 version is something we'd reserve for drivers who tow on occasion, or for those who regularly run the kiddie carpool and use all of the available seats.

The base Sorento comes out of West Point, Georgia, as a five-seater, and even for adults, those seats have ample leg room and good head room. The seats themselves are supportive--even better when they wear leather. There's a third-row offered on some models, but that bench is only for those under five feet tall, with the dexterity to jump into the way-back, and the distractions to ignore the low seating position. Cargo space is fine, mostly, but a seven-seat model with the back row raised won't leave much room behind for any cargo.

Strong safety scores from both the Feds and the IIHS put the Sorento in good stead with the competition, as does the array of standard equipment--air conditioning, power features, Bluetooth, satellite radio and a USB port are present and accounted for on every version. If you get spendy, the SX offers standard navigation, leather, and has an available panoramic roof, but prices zoom past the $35,000 mark, at which point the Sorento runs into some bigger, richer hired hands--vehicles like the Ford Flex and Explorer, the GMC Acadia, and likely, the upcoming Nissan Pathfinder.

 

 

Likes:

  • The right vehicle at the right time
  • Six-cylinder's pace
  • Ample passenger, cargo space
  • Third-row seat, for those who need one
  • Bluetooth, USB, and Sirius standard

Dislikes:

  • Mid-grade interior trim
  • Soft-sided handling
  • Base four-cylinder is sluggish--but rare
  • Kids-only third-row seating
Next: Interior / Exterior »
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