Test Drive: 2013 Kia Sorento car test drives reviews kia
Test Drive: 2013 Kia Sorento car test drives reviews kia
2013 Kia Sorento. Click image to enlarge

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Manufacturer’s Website
Kia Canada

Review and photos by Tom Sedens

Photo Gallery:
2013 Kia Sorento

The Sorento: world-renowned, noted for its name, a misspelled version of a tiny southern Italian town, and for being the mechanical cousin to the Hyundai Santa Fe.

Okay, the first part is a bit rich, but you can buy this thing in different variations across the globe.

It’s Kia’s upper-crust SUV – they start at $26,895 and come reasonably equipped. I drove the top-of-the-line SX AWD version, which is as loaded as it can get.

The Sorento is a handsome vehicle – it’s not nice enough or different enough to get any double-takes, but it doesn’t do anything to offend, either. The lines are simple, clean and chunky, allowing for some butchness without treading into jacked-up 4×4 territory.

I liked the dark chrome 18-inch rims shod with 235/60R18s, the chrome trim around the vehicle, which was used sparingly (thank goodness!), and the LED taillights. I thought Kia did a good job integrating the foglights.

Under the hood sits a 3.5L V6. It’s a stout one, putting out 276 hp at 6,300 rpm and 248 lb-ft of torque at 5,000 RPM. There’s nothing particularly modern or exciting about the engine, but it’s a decent one.

The power is routed to all four corners via a good old six-speed automatic transmission.

Fuel economy is supposedly half decent – Kia rates it at 11.5 L/100 km in the city, and 8.2 L/100 km on the highway. In mostly city driving with no effort to conserve fuel, and a couple of highway cruises, I averaged 15.3 L/100 km (15.4 mpg). Though this is not fantastic, it’s not surprising considering this is a 1,874-kg (4,131 lb.) all-wheel-drive SUV.

If you want to, you can equip this bad boy with a towing package, which will allow you to lug another 1,588 kg (3,500 lb.) of fun stuff around with you.

I felt the materials in the Sorento were a bit behind the curve. They are nice to look at, but you won’t find a shred of soft plastic on the dash or console, and the whole thing gets a bit Darth Vader. A splash of colour or brightwork wouldn’t kill them, would it? And the faux carbon fibre stuff just doesn’t suit this vehicle. Mind you, does it suit any vehicle?

The seats are quite comfortable, clad in leather throughout, and both front seats are power-adjustable and heated. The driver’s seat is also cooled and has a two-position memory.

Test Drive: 2013 Kia Sorento car test drives reviews kia Test Drive: 2013 Kia Sorento car test drives reviews kia Test Drive: 2013 Kia Sorento car test drives reviews kia
2013 Kia Sorento. Click image to enlarge

There’s a decent manually adjustable steering wheel with controls for media, cruise, and handsfree phone. Behind that is a horizontally squashed speedometer, smaller gauges and a simple but highly useful driver information screen.

Everything is powered – door locks, folding mirrors, windows and the front sunroof (there is also a fixed rear sunroof). Entry is keyless and ignition is push-start.

The top of the stack starts with a dated-looking clock, and below that is Kia’s touchscreen, which handles media, phone and navigation functions. The user interface is decent, and it works pretty well – the Infinity-branded system, feeding off a variety of sources, wasn’t very impressive. At the bottom is an automatic dual-zone climate control system. The console houses the gear selector and a nice armrest.




About Tom Sedens

Tom Sedens is an Edmonton-based automobile journalist, husband, dad and driving enthusiast, as well as an accredited member of AJAC.