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2013 Kia Sorento Comfort & Quality

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The Kia Sorento was new two years ago, and since the 2011 model-year renovation, its crossover transformation has won over significantly more buyers than the old, trucky SUV model had in its final years on the market. The 2013 model's essentially carried over, and still maintains the versatility that makes it a great choice for carrying people and cargo around town or on long highway cruises, while leaving off-roading for more capable SUVs.

The Sorento sits on a 106.3-inch wheelbase, and is 184.4 inches long. That puts it squarely in the middle of the crossover segment, with the new Honda CR-V and Ford Escape just bare inches shorter, and vehicles like the Chevy Equinox and Ford Edge checking in just an inch or so, and a cubic foot or so, larger. That said, the Sorento has a spacious feel once you climb inside--the combination of a low step-in height, and a somewhat tall roof and doors, make it feel somewhat bigger inside than competitors, particularly the newest Escape and the RAV4.

A mid-size package with an available third-row seat gives the latest Kia Sorento the right stuff to take on a wide swath of crossovers.

Most passengers will fit well in the Sorento's front and second-row seats. In front, the bucket seats have good bolstering on the backrest, though the seat bottoms could use more formed-in support. Head and leg room are on par for the class. One row back, most adults will have enough knee and leg room for good comfort, and head room is ample enough for six-footers, too. The seatbacks can be reclined for more comfortable long-distance rides.

The Sorento can be fitted with a third-row seat, a novelty in the class, aside from the third row in the Toyota RAV4. We don't consider the Mitsubishi Outlander's puny third-row bench suitable for anyone other than small children. The Sorento's seat won't carry anyone taller than five feet, and the seat cushion sits almost on the floor to create what head room is there, but as a substitute for a minivan, the seven-seat model does a fair job of balancing convenience and flexibility.

On that note, the third-row seat folds flat to reveal a cargo area with a decently low load floor, and the second-row seats fold forward to expose a total of 72.5 cubic feet of hauling room. With the third-row seat in place, cargo room drops to a measly 9.1 cubic feet, and the seatback itself sits close to the rear hatch glass.

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