2018 Kia Sorento Review

Sorento

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2018 Kia Sorento Overview

The Kia Sorento midsize crossover SUV debuted in 2002 and is now in its third generation, which came out for 2016. The 2018 model doesn’t feature any radical updates but rather some subtle improvements. Aside from a few cosmetic tweaks, the 2018 Sorento boasts improved headlights, a redesigned headrest, and a new Cool & Connected package that bundles Android Auto and Apple CarPlay with an improved ventilation system. Third-row seating is also now standard on all trims except the L and the EX when equipped with the turbo engine. The 2018 Sorento is available in five trims—L, LX, EX, SX, and SX Limited—with three engine options and the choice of front-wheel drive (FWD) or all-wheel drive (AWD). It starts at a competitive price of $25,800, although fully loaded models can cost well over 40 grand.

Base Sorento L and LX trims come with a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine that makes 185 hp and 178 lb-ft of torque. Models equipped with this engine will manage fuel-economy figures of 21 mpg city, 28 highway, and 24 combined with FWD and 21, 25, and 22 with AWD. Next up, a 3.3-liter V6 engine good for 290 hp and 252 lb-ft comes standard on the SX and SX Limited trims and is available on the LX and EX trims. The V6 gets fuel-economy numbers of 18, 25, and 20 with FWD and 17, 23, and 19 with AWD. The mid-range EX is also offered with a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine that pumps out 240 hp and 260 lb-ft. Reportedly the peppiest and most fun to drive of the three engines, the turbo gets EPA figures of 20, 27, and 23 with FWD and 21, 25, and 22 with AWD. All Sorentos feature a 6-speed automatic transmission.

Athough crossovers are rarely used for much more than transporting people or groceries, the Sorento can tow up to 5,000 pounds when equipped with the V6 and AWD, and FWD V6 and turbo models will tow up to 3,500 pounds. For rough terrain, the Sorento comes with hill-start assist, and AWD models feature a differential-lock mode that splits the power evenly between the front and rear. For other road conditions, the Sorento features Sport, Comfort, and Eco driving modes that adjust the power steering and the shift timing of the transmission.

The list of standard features on the base Sorento L trim isn’t extensive, but it does include a reversing camera and auto-on/off headlights. Going further up the trim lineup adds a number of additional convenience items, such as a smart power liftgate, power-folding mirrors, rain-sensing windshield wipers, a panoramic sunroof, a 7- or 8-inch infotainment touchscreen, USB charge ports, a roof rack, dual-zone climate control, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, and leather seats. The range-topping SX Limited trim features upgraded leather trim, chrome wheels, and wood trim for the steering wheel, and the new Cool & Connected package adds Android and Apple CarPlay compatibility along with dual-zone climate control with ionizer filtration.

The Sorento has been criticized in the past for not offering much headroom in the second row, but the third row is relatively spacious even if it does require a bit of maneuvering to get back there. Higher trims feature a power-folding second row for easier access to the third row.

In crash tests, the current-generation Sorento scores quite well—the 2017 model received Top Safety Pick status from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) with top Good results in all categories, and the 2018 model scored a 5-star overall rating from the National Highway Traffic and Safety Association (NHTSA). It’s available with a slew of cutting-edge active safety features, many of which come standard on the more expensive trim levels. These include autonomous emergency braking, forward-collision warning, lane-departure warning, active cruise control, blind-spot detection, rear cross-traffic alert, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, rain-sensing wipers, and a surround-view camera.

Updated

Andrew Newton first got into cars through vintage racing a Formula Vee. After receiving history degrees, he followed his passion for cars and became a contributor for sites like Sports Car Digest, BoldRide.com and JamesEdition.com in addition to serving as Education Manager at the Larz Anderson Auto Museum in Brookline, MA. Andrew currently covers the collector car market full time as Auction Editor for Hagerty Classic Car Insurance.

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