The 2013 Kia Sorento SX.

2013 Kia Sorento SX Review

Kia's mid-size SUV offers something for almost everyone.

By: David Merline

Web2Carz Contributing Writer

Published: January 16th, 2013

There's a saying in various trades: "You can have it fast, cheap, or good, but you can only pick two." That's more or less the case with the Kia Sorento, only you don't really have the option of having it cheap and fast. You can have it cheap and good, but it won't be fast, or you can have it fast and good, but it won't be cheap. Either way, Kia's midsize SUV is a good car, if you feel you really need a mid-size SUV. It's just that no matter which trim level you choose, there's something left to be desired.

For a more lighthearted take, check out our video review of the Kia Sorento, featuring Sarah.

  • On the Road

    The Sorento we tested was an SX model with the 3.5-liter V6. At 271 horsepower, the Sorento is far more fun to drive than an SUV has any right to be. It's quick and nimble enough to make you forget you're driving a family hauler. The steering is well balanced and the Sorento handles more like a sedan than we had anticipated. Kia still struggles with the reputation for low quality that it earned in its early years, but nowadays the Korean automaker has fully come into its own, as the Sorento capably demonstrates.

  • Interior

    Our Sorento came with the optional third-row seating, which seriously affects the cargo volume, and seems somewhat unnecessary. If you're really going to regularly carry more than four or five passengers, you probably should be driving a—gasp—minivan, but folded down, our SX was able to fit a full load of long, flat, unassembled IKEA furniture. The interior trim is a tad on the cheap plastic side of things, but it's fully fitted with all the optional modern conveniences you'd expect, and and a few—like automatically retracting side mirrors and two sunroofs—that you might not expect.

  • Fuel Economy & Safety

    MPG becomes the big trade off if you opt for the V6. At 20/26, the fuel economy isn't terrible, but it isn't terribly good either. The available 4-cylinder GDI engine (which is a decent compromise between the base 4 banger and the V6) boosts the highway mileage to 30. With front and side airbags aplenty, the Sorento gets high marks from all the relevant agencies, which is no small factor for SUV buyers.

  • Final Thoughts

    As tested, our Sorento SX was a blast to drive, but with its sticker price pushing $35,000 and its less-than-impressive fuel economy numbers, it doesn't live up to its full potential, even though its an impressive vehicle overall.

  • Specs, Features, & Price

    Engine and Transmission
    3.5-liter DOHC V6
    271 horsepower
    248 lb.-ft of torque
    6-speed automatic transmission

    32.2 cu. ft cargo volume behind 3rd row
    80.1 cu. ft cargo volume behind 2nd row
    Bluetooth equipped, with USB inputs
    Infinity sound system

    Fuel Economy 
    20 mpg city
    26 mpg hwy

    $35,875 (as tested)

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