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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)
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)
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.