Thursday, November 15, 2012

2013 Kia Sorento EX: A Good SUV

I drove a 2013 Kia Sorento for a week, logging 165 miles of combined town and highway driving. I found the Sorento to be a capable family vehicle with a third row that could deploy for emergency car pool situations. The interior was nice, the ride was comfortable, and the kids weren't embarrassed by the Sorento. For some reason, however, the 12-year old is embarrassed by me no matter what I drive, wear, or say. I have a feeling it has everything to do with me.

The Sorento I borrowed for the week was a front-wheel drive EX model with a 3.6 liter CVVT (Continuous Variable Valve Timing) V6 engine. That V6 was a powerful engine and I had no trouble getting up to speed on the freeway. I find CVT engines easy to drive and they certainly offer a smoother ride for my passengers. This Sorento EX did have the Sportmatic option so that I could shift manually if I so desired. I didn't find it necessary with my trips, but I do see it helpful when wanting to lay off the brakes when going downhill. 

Third Row

  • 3.6L CVVT V6 or 2.4L 4 cylinder Engine
  • Push-button Start
  • Power-folding Outside Mirrors
  • Back-up Camera
  • USB/Auxiliary Jack in Center Console 
  • Bluetooth Technology for Phone and Music (i.e. iTunes, Pandora)
  • Heated and Cooled Front Seats
  • Memory Driver Seat
  • 60/40 Split 2nd Row
  • 3rd Row (50/50 split) (3rd row not available on all models)
  • 2 Moon Roofs
  • Cool Brake Lights
  • All Wheel Drive available

It's Good
The Sorento is a nice SUV to drive around town and down the freeway. It's quiet and you can warm your buns on cold mornings or evenings. But it wasn't all that exciting. It's a middle-of-the-road family transport vehicle that won't cost too much to buy ($27,950 for the base EX; $34,390 as tested) or cost that much to operate. The warranty is good: 10 year/100,000 mile limited powertrain warranty; 5 year/60,000 mile limited basic warranty. The mileage is good for a 7-passanger vehicle: 20 MPG city/26 MPG highway and 22 MPG combined (I got just under 22 MPG with my combined driving). The Sorento is even in the middle of the pack on US News Best Cars "Most Affordable Midsize SUV" list (#13 out of 25).

The exterior and interior design is nice. It doesn't look or sound cheap. The doors are heavy and shut with a solid sound. The dash has a nice finish and wood grain. The seats are comfortable. The lines on the exterior are neither flashy nor weak. 

It's a good vehicle, but it doesn't elicit any "Wow!" Perhaps that's why the Sorento was Kia's #1 seller in the U.S. in 2011. It is a good vehicle with many amenities for the cost but it isn't so flashy that neighbors will talk. 

It's Good, But...
I don't have many gripes about the Sorento. One issue I had was the loose steering when driving on winding country roads. The over-steer caused me to back off on the throttle and lose confidence in the Sorento's ability to go exactly where I wanted it to go. I wasn't driving too fast for the road or the conditions, this SUV just didn't have the chops for the hilly, fun roads around our town. That was a disappointment.

Rear Window Wiper Controls+
It rained the week of my drive, and while the front windshield wipers were easy to use, had a nice delay, and didn't cause any issues or streaks, I had a heck of a time finding the control for the rear window wiper. It's a button to the left of the steering column. An odd and unexpected placement. But once I figured it out, the back wiper worked just fine.

Another issue I had was with the awkwardness of the cargo cover vs. the third row seats. In order to unfold the third row seats for use, I had to reach in and pull on a nylon strap which I couldn't do if the cargo cover holder was in place. In order to get that third row up and ready for kids, I had to put my stuff down, take the cargo cover holder out of it's little grooves (always a challenge of my flexibility and patience), store the holder, reach back in and pull on those straps. Not easy to do if you have a kid/bag/groceries in one arm and other kids running around. Definitely not going to work if you pull into the car pool lane at school and realize that you have two extra kids to take home. Climbing in the third row is another flexibility and patience challenge for an adult; kids rarely care. 

The second row of seats in the Sorento fold, but don't slide forward to give the third row passengers extra leg room. The ability of a second row to slide forward is also great for reaching back to the little ones in car seats while the car is in motion. When our kids were in car seats, I often found myself in the front passenger seat with many jobs: bottle/sippy cup/toy retriever; navigator; soother of frayed nerves; Cheerio dispenser; and lullaby singer. The closer I could be to the kids in the second row, the less my husband could hear my made-up words to Twinkle, Twinkle, Rock-a-bye Baby. Our old Lexus RX300 had a second row that slid forward and it was as close to the front seats as I could get it until our older child figured out how fun it is to kick the front seat.

Safety is Good
I found no safety concerns with the Kia Sorento. It has all of the safety features and stability, traction, anti-lock, anti-roll features you expect on all vehicles these days. The Sorento gets an overall 4 out of 5 stars from the US Department of Transportation crash tests

MPG Unchanged for 3.6L
Also important to note in light of the recent Kia and Hyundai MPG changes, the Sorento with the 3.6L engine does not have new MPG numbers. The sticker shows 20/22/26 for the front wheel drive I had. However, the 2013 2.4L Sorento does have updated MPG: 21/24/30 for the front wheel drive; 20/22/26 for the AWD. You can find all new and old MPG numbers for Kia on their KiaMPGinfo website.

As I stated above, the Kia Sorento is a good family vehicle. It's middle-of-the-road good and will certainly get you and your family from here to there without any hassles. Plus, the LED brake lights are cool.

Photos from Hyundai Motor Co. and Evox Productions.

(c) Copyright 2010-2016. Erika JN Fish. Car Mama. All Rights Reserved.

1 comment:

  1. The Sorento is an awesome car! It has a more stylist look and for a three row vehicle, which most moms like!