2013 Kia Sorento SUV - FROM $23,150
Well equipped and just the right size for small families, the 2013 Kia Sorento is an excellent pick for a small or midsize crossover SUV.
What's New for 2013
Standard equipment is enhanced for the 2013 Kia Sorento. The EX trim now gets standard leather upholstery, while the Uvo voice-activated electronics interface is available on the base LX trim. Later in the year, the LX can also be had with additional equipment like a power driver seat and a leather-wrapped steering wheel.
Kia is a brand on the rise in the United States. From its memorable hamster ads to its high-profile sponsorship of the NBA, you don't have to be a car nut to know that this South Korean company is no longer a peddler of anonymous, value-driven cars. And even though its most recent offerings have been getting plenty of attention for their creative, eye-catching styling, it's the comparatively conservative 2013 Kia Sorento crossover SUV that's actually the brand's best-seller.
Quite simply, the Sorento doesn't need anthropomorphic rodents or an L.A. Clipper to get noticed. It all starts with its size. Placed in between compact SUVs like Kia's own Sportage and midsize SUVs like the Toyota Highlander, the Sorento falls in line with vehicles like the deceptively large Honda CR-V. However, the Sorento manages to squeeze in an available third-row seat that can actually fit adults. Despite such a generous amount of passenger and cargo space, this Kia still feels maneuverable and achieves decent fuel economy.
Next up comes a generous helping of available features. Even the base trim includes Bluetooth and satellite radio, while the upper trims can be packed with niceties like a cooled driver seat, a heated steering wheel and a panoramic sunroof. In true Kia tradition, all of this comes at a price that undercuts its rivals. Essentially, the Sorento offers the size and equipment of a more expensive crossover.
Add in a competitive engine lineup and styling that's attractive (if not especially distinct), and you get a family SUV that delivers on most fronts. We certainly suggest checking out the Chevy Equinox, Dodge Journey, Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4, as each is strong in its own right. However, the 2013 Kia Sorento is one of our favorites and it has nothing to do with its association with hip-hop rodentia.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2013 Kia Sorento is a crossover SUV that fits in between the compact and midsize segments. There are three trim levels: LX, EX and SX. Five-passenger seating is standard on all but the LX V6 and SX, which come with the otherwise optional 50/50 split-folding third-row seat that raises capacity to seven.
The base LX comes standard with 17-inch alloy wheels, heated mirrors, keyless entry, full power accessories, cruise control, air-conditioning, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a 60/40 split-folding second-row seat, Bluetooth and a sound system with a CD player, satellite radio, an auxiliary audio jack and an iPod/USB audio interface. The LX Convenience package adds foglamps, rear parking sensors, heated front seats, an auto-dimming mirror and the Uvo voice-activated electronics interface. On four-cylinder models, this package also includes a more powerful and efficient engine, roof rails and the third-row seat (also available as a stand-alone item). Later in the model year, a new LX Convenience Plus package will add an eight-way power driver seat (with lumbar adjustment), a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, and a first aid kit.
Stepping up to the EX gets you the upgraded four-cylinder engine, 18-inch wheels, automatic headlights, keyless ignition/entry, dual-zone automatic climate control, the eight-way power driver seat, leather upholstery and the LX Convenience package items (minus the auto-dimming mirror).
V6-powered EX models can be equipped with the EX Premium package, which adds the third-row seat, the auto-dimming mirror, a panoramic sunroof, rear air-conditioning, a four-way power passenger seat, the third-row seat, a first aid kit, a rearview camera and a 10-speaker Infinity surround-sound audio system with HD radio. Four-cylinder EX models can be equipped with the EX Premium Plus package, which includes all of the above items plus power-folding mirrors, driver memory functions and a touchscreen navigation system with real-time traffic. The V6 model's EX Limited package includes all of the Premium Plus package's extra items plus a ventilated driver seat.
The Sorento SX comes only with the V6 and adds to the standard EX equipment special styling cues, different 18-inch wheels, LED taillamps, rear air-conditioning, the four-way power passenger seat, the third-row seat, a rearview camera, a two-tone interior color scheme and an Infinity audio system. The SX Premium package essentially adds a heated steering wheel and everything from the EX's options that aren't included as standard.
Powertrains and Performance
The 2013 Kia Sorento LX comes standard with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 175 horsepower and 169 pound-feet of torque. Every Sorento comes standard with a six-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive, while all-wheel drive is an option. In Edmunds performance testing, this base LX engine with front-wheel drive went from zero to 60 mph in 9.9 seconds, which is slow for the class. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 21 mpg city/29 mpg highway and 24 mpg combined with front-wheel drive and 20/26/22 with all-wheel drive.
Optional on the LX and standard on the EX is a direct-injected version of the 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 191 hp and 181 lb-ft of torque. Though we haven't tested this engine, its acceleration should be better. EPA-estimated fuel economy stands at 21/30/24 with front-drive and 21/27/23