By William Maley
Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com
February 5, 2013
This is how I think a conversation would go with someone about the 2013 Kia Sorento SX V6 I had in for review.
“So what are you reviewing this week?”
“The 2013 Kia Sorento SX V6.”
“Didn’t Kia introduce a refreshed Sorento?”
“Yes at the LA Auto Show. It will be a 2014 model coming out sometime in the first quarter of 2013.”
“Why are you reviewing the 2013 model if the 2014 model is coming soon?”
“Well for two reasons. One: I have a point of comparison when I get the chance to check out the 2014 model. Two: I want to see if a person should wait to get the 2014 model or go ahead with the 2013 model.”
Shall we dive in?
Since its introduction in 2009 as a 2011 model, the second-generation Kia Sorento’s design really hasn’t changed much. The front end features Kia’s signature grille and a set of unique headlights. The side profile has deeply chiseled door panels and windows that are pushed somewhat into the body. On the SX model you gain painted front and rear bumpers, a rear spoiler, and a set of eighteen-inch wheels to give it a very dramatic look.
Inside the Sorento feels older than it should. Blame the hard plastics and some of equipment used up front, most notably the climate control system. Aside from this, the interior features very good build quality. Front and second row passengers will feel very comfortable thanks to the very good amount of head and legroom, and adjustments provided. The third row is best left for small kids or folded flat since that expands cargo room from a meager 9.1 cubic feet to 37 cubic feet of space.
Equipment is very generous on the Sorento SX. Starting at $33,400, the SX model includes leather seats for all three rows, heated front seats, push-button start, rear ventilation, an Infinity sound system, USB and Aux jack, and Bluetooth as standard equipment. My test Sorento SX also came equipped with the Premium package which adds such items as navigation, heated steering wheel, a memory function for the driver’s seat and mirrors, and a panoramic sunroof. For the extra $3,200 the package adds onto the Sorento SX’s price tag, I find it to be a very good value since models from competitors would cost somewhat more to come close to matching the SX’s equipment level.
The 2013 Sorento comes with three different engine choices. The base LX model gets a 2.4L four-cylinder engine. There is also a 2.4L four-cylinder with direct injection that is available on the LX and standard on the EX. Lastly, there is a 3.5L V6 that’s standard on the SX and optional on the LX and EX. The 3.5L V6 produces 276 horsepower and 248 pound-feet of torque. The power is fed through a six-speed automatic down to either the front wheels or optional all-wheel drive system.
The V6 packs quite the punch for any situation you encounter. Whether its to merge onto a freeway or leaving a stop, the V6’s power is immediate and smooth. More surprisingly was how quiet the V6 engine was. The only way you knew the engine was doing anything besides dropping the hammer was watching the rev counter. The six-speed automatic was very smooth and quick to downshift at a moments notice. My only real disappointment with V6 was fuel economy. The EPA rates the Sorento SX V6 with AWD at 18 City/24 Highway/20 combined. During my week, I got an average of 20.5 MPG. However when I was driving the Sorento in the city, I saw my average MPG drop to around 15.8 MPG. If you’re planning to drive a lot in the city, you should consider the four-cylinder.
The Sorento’s AWD system is a full-time unit that features a locking center differential. I found the system to be very capable when driving through the aftermath of a snowstorm. The system provided enough traction to get and keep the vehicle on the move, even in some unplowed roads. One oddity in the Sorento SX was a hill descent control system. Hill descent control uses the ABS to control each wheel's speed to get down a hill in rough terrain at a very slow speed. I’m not quite sure how many Sorento owners will utilize this feature, but it's there if you need it.
The Sorento SX’s ride and drive can be best explained in three (or four) words; quiet and mostly comfortable. The suspension is tuned for comfort which provides a very smooth and stable ride. Steering is perfectly weighted for the intended application and is surprisingly quick to respond. Driving on the highway, the Sorento exhibits barely any noise from the suspension or the road, making this a very relaxing highway cruiser.
The 2013 Kia Sorento SX with AWD starts $33,400.00. Add a few options and destination and you're looking at $37,575.00, the price of my tester. Now some people will argue that seems a bit much for a seven-seat crossover. However I would rebut that for price, the Sorento SX brings forth a number of features that the competition either doesn't have or you would need to tick a few more option boxes to come close.
If you were to ask me before the showing of the 2014 Sorento would I recommend the current Sorento, the answer is yes. The 2013 Kia Sorento SX is a very capable and value oriented crossover; providing a good mix of looks, equipment, power, and comfort in one package. But with the 2014 Sorento around the corner, I would say wait and see. The 2014 model brings forth a number of improvements, including a new 3.3L V6 and a more modern interior.
Disclaimer: Kia provided the vehicle, insurance, and one tank of gasoline.
Year - 2013
Make – Kia
Model – Sorento
Trim – SX AWD
Engine – 3.5L DOHC CVVT V6
Driveline – All-Wheel Drive with Locking Center Differential, Six-Speed Automatic Transmission
Horsepower @ RPM – 276 (@ 6,300 RPM)
Torque @ RPM – 248 (@ 5,000 RPM)
Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 18/24/20
Curb Weight – 3,935 lbs
Location of Manufacture – West Point, Georgia
Base Price - $33,400.00 (SX with AWD)
As Tested Price - $37,575.00 (Includes $800.00 Destination Charge)
Premium Package 3 - $3,200.00
Cargo Cover - $125.00
Cargo Net - $50.00