- Repair & Care
Every time I test-drive a Kia, my husband is flabbergasted by it. Evidently, his knowledge of Kia doesn't reach beyond 1994 or so. He seems to have missed the hamster commercials and the numerous safety and vehicle awards. However, thanks to the 2013 Sorento, a five- or seven-seat crossover, his Kia ignorance has come to an end.
The 2013 Kia Sorento has a great price, comes with plenty of standard features, accommodates a busy family and is even fun to drive (the V-6 version, anyhow).
The Sorento comes with three engine options. My test car came with the most powerful engine, a 3.5-liter V-6. It handles the road with some pluck and plenty of power. Of course, there is always room for improvement, and Kia has redesigned the Sorento for the 2014 model year. The 2014 Sorento will arrive at dealerships in March. Read the expert review.
The 2013 Sorento has a starting price of $23,950, including an $800 destination charge. My midlevel EX trim test car with all-wheel drive, the Limited ($2,000) and Premium ($3,400) packages, a 50/50-split third row and a panoramic sunroof had an as-tested price of $36,090.
One thing that didn't surprise my husband about the 2013 Sorento was its looks. He bluntly noted that the parade of family crossovers in our driveway isn't memorable. The 2013 Sorento looks just fine and like many other cars on the road. It has clean lines, a few attractive curves and a punchy grille that reminds me of a large version of airline pilots' lapel wings.
My test car also came with the available rear spoiler that adds some sportiness without being obnoxious. Keyless entry is standard and means no more digging in your purse for those keys, which is something welcome in my world. Once those doors are unlocked, all but the smallest children should be able to get them open (if they can reach the handle). Smaller children will need some help climbing in due to the higher step-in height.
On my test car, the liftgate was of a manageable weight. An under-floor compartment in the cargo area is only useful for small things since the optional first-aid kit and tire jack take up most of the room. In another expected-from-this-class twist, cargo space moves from dismal to decent according to how many rows are in use. It does help that the optional third row has a 50/50 split and the second row has a 60/40 split; this allows for some added convenience and wiggle room. With the third row in use, there is a nearly useless 9.1 cubic feet of cargo space. When the third row is folded, the cargo area bumps up to a more useful 37 cubic feet, and with both rows folded flat, there is 72.5 cubic feet of cargo volume.
A 175-horsepower, 2.4-liter four-cylinder is the entry-level engine; both a direct-injected version of the base engine that bumps up to horsepower to 191 and a 276-hp, 3.5-liter V-6 engine are available. The Sorento comes standard with a six-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive, though all-wheel drive is optional.
Fuel economy for the base four-cylinder engine is an EPA-estimated at 21/29 mpg city/highway with front-wheel drive and 20/26 mpg with all-wheel drive. The direct-injected four-cylinder gets 21/30 mpg with front drive and 21/27 mpg with all-wheel drive. The V-6 with front drive gets 20/26 mpg and 18/24 mpg with all-wheel drive.
SENSE AND STYLE
Family Friendly (Not Really, Fair, Great, Excellent): Great
Fun-Factor (None, Some, Good Times, Groove-On): Good Times
The Sorento's interior is quite attractive, particularly when you consider its price. There are charcoal-colored faux-wood trim pieces elegantly and economically placed throughout the cabin. Even with a fair amount of black plastic in the cabin, it manages to feel more upscale than down.
The center stack controls are within easy reach, and the whole system is easy to use. Kia's UVO system affords even the most technologically impaired an opportunity to make things work. It allows you to use your voice to control pretty much everything in the car but your children. It seamlessly integrates your smartphone via Bluetooth and allows you to place calls hands-free or stream music.
Seating is comfortable throughout, though it's no surprise that the available third row, which is part of the EX V6 Premium Package ($3,400), can be cramped, and it can be tough to access it with child-safety seats installed in the second row. I was able to fit my two convertible seats in the second row, which left a small space between them that was big enough for my kindergartener, who tried to squeeze in without his booster seat (for shame!). When said kindergartner was properly placed in his booster seat in the third row, his short legs had just enough room to stretch out. I can't say the same for my husband when he sat back there.
There are plenty of clever storage options in this seven-seater such as a cubby beneath the center stack for a cellphone and some wipes or snacks and toys. There are netted seatback pockets for second-row passengers, small door pockets and two little bins on either side of the third row. There are five cupholders and four in-door bottleholders.
IT'S THE LITTLE THINGS THAT COUNT
Storage Compartments (Puny, Fair, Ample, Galore): Fair
Cargo/Trunk Space (Puny, Fair, Ample, Galore): Fair/Ample
The 2013 Kia Sorento has been named a Top Safety Pick, the second highest award, by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. This means that it got the highest score of Good in front-, side-impact, rear and roof-strength crash tests. It hasn't undergone the newest small overlap front crash test. It also earned an overall safety rating of four stars of five from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. It received four stars of five in front and rollover crash tests and five stars in the side-impact crash test.
There are two sets of lower Latch anchors in the second row's outboard seats, and they're easy to access between the back and bottom cushions. There are three top tether anchors midway down the second-row seatbacks. However, there are no tether or Latch anchors in the optional third row. Find out how the Sorento fared in Cars.com's Car Seat Check.
The Sorento EX has standard front-wheel drive, four-wheel-disc antilock brakes with brake assist, hill descent control, an electronic stability system with traction control, active front head restraints, a backup camera with rear parking sensors, and six airbags, including side curtains for the first and second rows. However, it does not include side curtain airbags for the optional third row, which means that anyone in that row goes without. I don't mean to suggest that this is a deal breaker, but it is something to be aware of, particularly if you're planning to use the third row regularly.
All-wheel drive is optional.
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