2018 Kia Sorento Expert Review

Editor's Overview

The 2018 Kia Sorento midsize SUV offers loads of amenities, an upper-crust-appearing interior, sharp looks, and one of the best warranties in the business. Slightly smaller than its Toyota Highlander and Ford Explorer rivals, the 5- or 7-passenger Sorento can't carry as much stuff and isn't quite as roomy. On the flip side, it's more maneuverable.

You'll Like The 2018 Kia Sorento If...

Kia’s 2018 Sorento offers lots of features, lots of warranty and some pretty high-end styling. Its smaller size could be a perfect Goldilocks scenario if you don't want a big machine. Its available 5-passenger versions open up the rear for tons of cargo space, too.

You May Not Like The 2018 Kia Sorento If...

The Sorento only seats seven, and even then it's pretty cramped in the third row. If you want more space, the Honda Pilot or Toyota Highlander is a better bet.

What's New

For 2018 the Kia Sorento gets a handful of updates. For example, the hands-free power liftgate is now standard on EX models, as are power-folding side mirrors. A Cool and Connected package adds dual-zone climate control and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto to LX models.

Interior Features

For the past couple years Kia has excelled in offering interior design, materials and assembly that feel far more luxurious than the price tag suggests. That holds true for the 2018 Sorento. Available in 5- and 7-passenger configurations, the Sorento's dash is simple but elegant, with just enough chrome trim to make it feel special. There's plenty of room and comfort in the first and second rows, but the third row in 7-passenger versions is for small passengers and short trips. There's not a lot of cargo space behind the third row either, although the seats fold down to expand that dramatically.

Exterior Features

Like the interior, the 2018 Sorento projects a sophisticated and upscale look from the outside. We like the "tiger-nose" grille treatment, and the overall blunt styling. Some of us think that it's the best-looking midsize SUV in its class, although beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Details include the multi-element LED fog lights on some models, LED accent lights in the headlights, and the tastefully appropriate use of chrome to class things up. Wheel sizes range from 17-inch alloys on base and LX models, to the 18-inch alloys on EX models, all the way to 19-inchers on SX models.

Driving Impressions

Whether you're choosing a base model with the 2.4-liter 4-cylinder, a 5-passenger EX with the 2.0-liter turbo, or one of the higher-end models with the V6, you'll likely be more than satisfied with the way the Kia Sorento drives. Not surprisingly, the turbo and V6 feel strongest, but the 2.4 is adequate and offers better fuel economy, making the most of the 6-speed automatic transmission all the engines use. The steering, suspension, handling and ride are all what we expect from the class; it doesn't lead the pack, but neither does it call attention to itself for the wrong reasons. The Kia Sorento uses an all-wheel-drive (AWD) system with Torque Vectoring Cornering Control, designed to enhance traction and cornering stability by sending power and torque to where they’re most needed, not just in bad weather, but for better cornering on dry roads, too.

Pricing Notes

The least expensive 2018 Kia Sorento has a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of just under $27,000, including the $895 destination charge, but instead you should look at the $28,000 Sorento LX, thanks to its additional features and available options. That's a lower base price than competitors like the Honda Pilot, Nissan Pathfinder, Toyota Highlander and Ford Explorer. If you want a V6, the LX V6 starts at about $30,500, while the turbocharged EX starts at just under $34,000. A fully loaded Sorento SX Limited with AWD starts at just over the $47,000 mark. All-wheel drive adds about $1,800 to every trim except the 4-cylinder LX, where it's $2,790 because it comes with the third-row seats. Before buying, check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying for their new Kia. The Sorento's resale value should be good, but still short of the Toyota Highlander.

Notable Equipment

The base 2018 Kia Sorento L is a bargain play, but it's still decently equipped with keyless entry, cruise control, stain-resistant cloth upholstery and basic AM/FM/CD audio system with Bluetooth connectivity and a USB input. It also comes with a rearview camera and auto on/off headlights, both new this year. However, the better bet is the LX model, which adds a sound-deadening windshield, touch-screen audio display, and the simple ability to add options to your Sorento, plus all-wheel drive. Safety features include airbags all around and a slew of traction- and stability-control systems.

Notable Options

As with most cars these days, features are added by climbing the trim ladder. The Sorento EX offers a good value, coming standard with Kia's UVO infotainment system that offers Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. There's also leather seating, keyless start, and dual-zone climate control, 2nd-row window shades, power driver's seat, heated front seats and either a turbocharged 4-cylinder engine or V6. The SX Limited adds blind-spot monitoring, a panoramic sunroof, heated and ventilated Nappa leather front seats, power liftgate, 8-inch touch screen with navigation, Infinity audio system and driving aids like lane-keep assist, smart cruise control and the new auto-braking feature.

Favorite Features

AUTOMATIC EMERGENCY BRAKING

With the modern technology of smartphones leading to more and more distracted driving, the Kia Sorento turns to a different kind of modern technology to prevent disaster. Available on Sorento LX models and above is Kia's automatic braking system, which scans the road ahead and hits the brakes if it senses an impending collision.

 

SMART LIFTGATE

While many manufacturers offer a hands-free way of opening the rear hatch, we like Kia's solution. The Smart Liftgate automatically opens if you just stand near it with the key fob in your possession, letting you access it when your hands are full, while still keeping both feet on the ground.


Under the Hood

The 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine that's standard in L and LX models puts out 185 horsepower, 178 lb-ft of torque, and gets 28 mpg on the highway, the best fuel economy the Sorento offers. The 2.0-liter turbo available in the EX and Limited Sorento SUV models gets 240 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque, but it's only available on 2-row models. The 3-row EX and Limited models, and all SX models, come with the 3.3-liter V6 with 290 horsepower. All of the engines come with a 6-speed automatic, and Kia's torque-vectoring all-wheel drive (AWD) is available instead of front-wheel drive (FWD) on all but the base L model. The Sorento can tow between 2,000 and 5,000 pounds, depending on engine and drive configuration.


2.4-liter inline-4

185 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm

178 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 rpm

EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/28 mpg (FWD), 21/25 mpg (AWD)


2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4

240 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm

260 lb-ft of torque @ 1,450 rpm

EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/27 mpg (FWD), 19/25 mpg (AWD)


3.3-liter V6

290 horsepower @ 6,400 rpm

252 lb-ft of torque @ 5,300 rpm

EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/25 mpg (FWD, AWD LX and EX), 17/23 mpg (AWD SX and Limited)

Editors' Notes

The 2018 Kia Sorento offers loads of amenities, an upper-crust-appearing interior, sharp looks, and one of the best warranties in the business. Available in 2-row and 3-row configurations, able to seat five and seven passengers respectively, the 2018 Sorento offers different configurations for different needs. Three engines, all-wheel drive, and prices that range from mid-$20,000 to more than $45,000 mean there's a Sorento for just about any need and budget. The 2018 Kia Sorento is smaller than its primary rivals, such as the Toyota Highlander, Honda Pilot, Nissan Pathfinder and Ford Explorer. That means the third row is smaller, and there isn't as much cargo space. On the other hand, it's easier to maneuver and park.

Road Test Video Reviews

  • 2018 Kia Sorento Review
    2018 Kia Sorento Review
    89,894 views
  • Still a Good Buy? | 2018 Kia Sorento EX V6 | TestDrive Spotlight
    Still a Good Buy? | 2018 Kia Sorento EX V6 | TestDrive Spotlight
    18,058 views
  • 2018 Kia Sorento SX Limited SXL - Ultimate In-Depth Look in 4K
    2018 Kia Sorento SX Limited SXL - Ultimate In-Depth Look in 4K
    263,704 views
  • Kia Sorento SUV 2019 in-depth review | carwow
    Kia Sorento SUV 2019 in-depth review | carwow
    635,994 views
  • 2019 Kia Sorento SX-L – Redline: Review
    2019 Kia Sorento SX-L – Redline: Review
    307,108 views
  • 2019 Kia Sorento - Review & Road Test
    2019 Kia Sorento - Review & Road Test
    246,856 views

Owner Reviews

4.61

176 Reviews

65% 32% 2% 1% 1 star 0%

Owner reviews are verified by our team and cannot be altered or removed.

2018 Kia Sorento is my dream car.

This is our second Kia auto. We have had great performance from this 2018 model. Smooth driving. This car is very comfortable. Equipped with a back up screen which I love. Cell phone compatibility. It has plenty of room. Has third row seating. Family loves the cup holders. Came with 3 months Sirius xm. So many channels which is a plus. The company was great to work with. Great service at the shop when we take it in for an oil change.

- Barbara O

Great qualities of the Kia.

The Sorento is a great and reliable car. I had a 2016 and traded it for the 2018. The major down fall for me was that we lost a row of seats in the very back of the car because they changed the model style. It is great on gas and has a ton of room. There are some minor malfunctions with the display screen/backup cameras at times but all in all, I am very thankful this car has all the sensors that it does!!

- Stephanie B

The factors that moved me to purchase my SUV were the warranty and the price.

My vehicle is larger that past years Sorento's and it has a smooth ride, saves on gas, has some bells and whistles but not all. I do wish that I had the navigation system in it but my phone can handle that, it also has the back-up camera and Sirius radio. It comes with rally wheels, I love the color, and I have already taken my first trip which was a very comfortable one since the vehicle has so much room.

- Lilly L