2008 Kia Sorento Review

Pros & Cons

  • Impressive list of standard features, solid construction, high-quality materials, decent off-road capability.
  • So-so fuel economy, ride can get bouncy over broken pavement, mediocre braking performance in demanding situations, disappointing side-impact crash results.
List Price

Used Sorento for Sale
Select your model:
See all for sale

cash graphic with confetti

Get More For Your Trade-In

2008 Kia Sorento appraisal values can range from $1,674 - $3,963.
Find out what your car is really worth in minutes.
See your car's value

Edmunds' Expert Review

The 2008 Kia Sorento is a decent choice for shoppers wanting a midsize SUV that straddles the line between street-oriented comfort and off-road ability. For buyers outside that target group, however, there are better choices.

Vehicle overview

Lately, crossovers have been cropping up in the midsize SUV segment like dandelions on a freshly cut lawn. And for most folks, a crossover -- which combines the high seating position, foul-weather capability and generous cargo space of a traditional SUV with handling and ride qualities of a car -- is just fine. However, the price paid for this jack-of-all-trades personality is reduced towing capacity and less off-road capability as compared to traditional, truck-based utes.

This is where the 2008 Kia Sorento comes in. Sporting a rugged body-on-frame structure, the Sorento can tow up to 5,000 pounds (about 1,500 pounds more than your typical midsize crossover) and can handle tougher off-road terrain thanks to low-range gearing on 4WD models. But more grunt and greater talent on the trails aren't all that Kia's midsize sport-ute offers. A generous standard features list, solid build quality, handsome styling inside and out and a modest price are also part of the Sorento package.

The Sorento was updated significantly last year with new features, styling and the current 3.8-liter V6 engine. This year, the Sorento's base and LX trim levels forgo the 3.8-liter engine for a new 3.3-liter V6 with a still-muscular 242 horsepower. The change is geared toward buyers who don't mind trading some towing capacity (3,500 pounds versus the 5,000 of the larger engine) for better fuel economy. Otherwise, the Sorento rolls into 2008 unchanged.

In essence, the 2008 Kia Sorento is positioned between more refined but less rugged crossovers such as the Chevrolet Equinox and Toyota RAV4 and more serious off-road-oriented SUVs like the truck-based Nissan Xterra and Toyota FJ Cruiser. Although the Sorento offers an agreeable balance between those subclasses, given its mediocre braking and ride performance, you'll likely be better off going in one direction or the other.

2008 Kia Sorento models

The 2008 Kia Sorento midsize SUV comes in three trim levels: base, LX and EX. The base and LX are largely similar, though you'll go without cruise control, keyless entry and roof rails on the base model. Otherwise, you'll get 16-inch alloy wheels, a 10-speaker sound system with a CD/MP3 player, full power accessories, cloth seats and an eight-way-adjustable driver seat on these trims. The EX adds a larger engine, steering-wheel audio controls, a power driver seat, adjustable headrests, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob and wood-grain interior accents.

In lieu of individual options, there are two packages. The LX Sport package adds 17-inch alloy wheels, foglights, side step bars, the leather-wrapped wheel and shift knob and specialized black cloth trim. Black leather seating can also be added to the Sport package. The EX Luxury package adds special wheels, a sunroof, dual-zone automatic climate control, leather seating, heated front seats and a six-disc CD changer.

Latest Kia News from Edmunds
Watch Review
Kia Telluride vs. Honda Pilot vs. Subaru Ascent | Midsize Family SUV Comparison Test

2008 Highlights

For 2008, the Kia Sorento gains a new V6 engine for the base and LX trim levels. At 3.3 liters and 242 horsepower, the new power plant is smaller and less powerful than the 3.8-liter V6 found in the EX trim. In exchange, it offers somewhat improved fuel economy.

Performance & mpg

A new 3.3-liter V6 debuts to power the base and LX trim levels. It's rated at 242 hp and 228 pound-feet of torque and is mated to a five-speed automatic transmission that allows you to choose between automatic or manual-shift modes. With this drivetrain, the Sorento is rated to tow up to 3,500 pounds. The EX retains the 3.8-liter V6 engine introduced last year that pumps out 262 hp and 260 lb-ft. It's also matched to the five-speed automatic gearbox and has a maximum tow rating of 5,000 pounds.

Both trims can be had in either two- or four-wheel drive. The standard 4WD system is an off-road-oriented part-time system. The luxury package-equipped EX model features an automatic "Torque-On-Demand" 4WD system that can automatically engage the front wheels for improved all-weather performance.

As is typical for a truck-based SUV, the 2008 Sorento's fuel economy is not a strong point. Estimates range from 16 mpg city and 22 mpg highway for the 3.3-liter V6 2WD version to 15/20 mpg for the 3.8-liter V6 4WD version.


Antilock disc brakes, full-length side curtain airbags, stability control, traction control and even a driver knee airbag come standard across all trim levels. In government crash testing, the Kia Sorento earned a five-star sweep (the best possible) for protection in frontal- (driver and passenger) and side-impact (front and rear) tests. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety awarded the Sorento its highest rating of "Good" for frontal-offset crashworthiness; in side-impact crash-testing, however, the Sorento's performance was deemed "Poor" -- the worst possible rating.


With either V6, there is more than enough power for dicing with city traffic and handling high-speed cruising on the interstate. On smooth pavement, the Kia's independent front and solid-axle rear suspension provide an agreeable ride and handling balance. However, take the Sorento over a bumpy road and you'll experience a bouncy ride, and sharp impacts will make their way into the cabin. Another disappointing aspect of the Sorento's dynamics concerns the brakes. Although the actual stopping distances weren't bad in our instrumented testing, we saw noticeable brake fade after just two stops from 60 mph, which could be a concern for those who face a lot of mountainous driving.

To its credit, the Sorento's steering feel is good and body roll is minimal around corners. The truck-based frame and low-range transfer case make the Sorento capable of negotiating off-road trails, but in reality, vehicles like the FJ Cruiser or Xterra are still much better suited for rugged adventuring.


The 2008 Kia Sorento's cabin boasts handsome, quality materials and tight build quality -- all of which lend an upscale ambiance to this modestly priced SUV. The styling of the interior has begun to look dated, but the ergonomics are sound. The seats are comfortable and the rear bench is wide enough for three adults, though knee and toe room may be tight for taller folks. That rear seat is split 60/40 to offer versatile cargo-carrying configurations. With the rear seats folded, the Sorento can hold approximately 66 cubic feet of cargo, less than most of its competitors.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the Used 2008 Kia Sorento.

Trending topics in reviews

Most helpful consumer reviews

Very Jeep-like
LX 4dr SUV 4WD (3.3L 6cyl 5A)
Despite some short comings, I like this SUV. Pros: 4WD, space and comfort, good cargo room, good engine power, great traction. Changed the spark plugs and suspension at 140000 miles! This SUV is tough and has no quit. I'm hoping to get another 100k - 150k out of it or more. Cons: An annoying rattle that no one can find. We have been over the SUV with a fine toothed comb, MANY times and cannot find the rattle. Very sensitive accelerator. Thirsty V-6 engine, but who buys a 4WD SUV for the MPGs? Owner's manual states that 87 octane gas/petrol is minimum. That is a lie! This vehicle needs premium fuel to run right. Any less octane and it sounds like a diesel. Performance becomes sluggish with lower octane gases. Engine has always had an annoying whining when starting and accelerating, but it does not cause any problems. The problem was the belt tensioner and a pulley beside it. Solved and the noise gone too! Get any other color than bright silver. For some reason people tend not to see it! I have had to stick red and white reflectors on the bumper and back door to increase its visibility for other drivers. Brakes have always been too soft, even when new. Stopping distance is long so brake accordingly. The ABS system is second to none however.
100,000 miles in and all's well
LX 4dr SUV (3.3L 6cyl 5A)
Now that I've written this review everything's probably going to go the heck. I purchased this brand new, off the lot, with less than 100 miles on the clock. It now has over 100K. This car has been a solid work horse for me. I've had to have it in for just one service that I wouldn't be considered wear and tear, and that was when a sensor went out at about 4mon and essentially meant the gas pedal wouldn't work. Apart from that, it's been the usual things that happen to a 6 year old car that has 100k on the clock.
This vehicle has been great
LX 4dr SUV (3.3L 6cyl 5A)
Okay the problems that people have been stating are easily solved. The rattling in the trunk, its the jack in the back, simply put a towl back there with it, the back seat trim is just to cover the hinges on the seat. They are not that important, and the airbag sensor in the passenger seat is working the way it should be, you just have to sit in the seat the correct way. Now to the car its self. It has been great 70k and no troubles at all. I do have to say though the transmission does shift hard sometimes but its not that big of a deal. Great power from the engine, it does suck up the gas though. Overal it is an excelent reliable car to have.
want a newer car but dont want to trade mine in
Kim Lane,09/14/2016
LX 4dr SUV (3.3L 6cyl 5A)
This car has great acceleration , it is a nice looking car and have had no problems with it at all I want a newer car but like this so well that I have become super picky and I really don't want to trade it in I don't understand why the trade in value is not higher . I bought it for the handling and my husband loved the safety ratings . I had owned several jeeps but this car is at least if not much better built. This vehicle is not a car and doesn't drive like one but is more similar to a combo car/truck .What made me want to buy one in the first place was outstanding warranty and appearance of the Sorento and have been very happy . I would recommend this car to everyone interested .


NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    Rollover3 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of RolloverNot Rated
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Not Tested
  • Roof Strength Test
    Not Tested
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test

More about the 2008 Kia Sorento

Used 2008 Kia Sorento Overview

The Used 2008 Kia Sorento is offered in the following submodels: Sorento SUV. Available styles include LX 4dr SUV (3.3L 6cyl 5A), LX 4dr SUV 4WD (3.3L 6cyl 5A), EX 4dr SUV 4WD (3.8L 6cyl 5A), EX 4dr SUV (3.8L 6cyl 5A), and 4dr SUV (3.3L 6cyl 5A). Pre-owned Kia Sorento models are available with a 3.3 L-liter gas engine or a 3.8 L-liter gas engine, with output up to 262 hp, depending on engine type. The Used 2008 Kia Sorento comes with rear wheel drive, and four wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 5-speed shiftable automatic. The Used 2008 Kia Sorento comes with a 5 yr./ 60000 mi. basic warranty, a 5 yr./ 60000 mi. roadside warranty, and a 10 yr./ 100000 mi. powertrain warranty.

What's a good price on a Used 2008 Kia Sorento?

Price comparisons for Used 2008 Kia Sorento trim styles:

  • The Used 2008 Kia Sorento LX is priced between $8,695 and$8,695 with odometer readings between 63578 and63578 miles.

Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on used cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, VA. Doing so could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Edmunds also provides consumer-driven dealership sales and service reviews to help you make informed decisions about what cars to buy and where to buy them.

Which used 2008 Kia Sorentos are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2008 Kia Sorento for sale near. There are currently 1 used and CPO 2008 Sorentos listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $8,695 and mileage as low as 63578 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2008 Kia Sorento.

Can't find a used 2008 Kia Sorentos you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Kia Sorento for sale - 4 great deals out of 24 listings starting at $17,538.

Find a used Kia for sale - 11 great deals out of 20 listings starting at $9,556.

Find a used certified pre-owned Kia Sorento for sale - 1 great deals out of 6 listings starting at $11,091.

Find a used certified pre-owned Kia for sale - 9 great deals out of 22 listings starting at $14,189.

Should I lease or buy a 2008 Kia Sorento?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

Check out Kia lease specials
Check out Kia Sorento lease specials