2018 Kia Sorento Review
2018 Kia Sorento Review
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Edmunds' Expert Review
Edmunds ContributorJames Riswick is an automotive journalist at Edmunds.
- Convenient size should fit many families
- Ample feature content for the money
- Stylish and high-class interior
- Extra-long warranty coverage
- Less cargo space than other three-row models
- Third-row seat is strictly for kids
- Base four-cylinder engine is underpowered
- The Sorento is largely unchanged for 2018
- Part of the third Sorento generation introduced for 2016
Kudos to Kia for offering something a little different. Designed to be bigger than the typical five-passenger midsize crossover SUV but not as large as a seven-row family hauler, the 2018 Kia Sorento has distinctive appeal for shoppers not satisfied with more common offerings.
Calculate my fuel costs
Cost to DriveCost to drive estimates for the 2018 Kia Sorento L 4dr SUV (2.4L 4cyl 6A) and comparison vehicles are based on 15,000 miles per year (with a mix of 55% city and 45% highway driving) and energy estimates of $3.12 per gallon for regular unleaded in Virginia.
Monthly estimates based on costs in Virginia
$161/mo for Sorento L
Avg. Midsize SUV
Available in five- and seven-passenger configurations, the Sorento offers more space and practicality than its five-seat rivals yet is less expensive and less cumbersome to drive than the big boys. At the same time, it gives up nothing in terms of interior quality and feature content. Indeed, these are reasons why the Sorento is worth a look regardless of which seating configuration you're considering. There's actually even more standard feature content for 2018, and, since it's a Kia, you still get its tremendous five-year limited and 10-year powertrain warranties.
The Sorento isn't for everyone. After all, its middle-of-the-road approach means it's ultimately more expensive than a typical four-cylinder, five-passenger crossover and not as commodious as a large three-row crossover SUV. But if you like the idea of owning a vehicle that does a little bit of both, we think the 2018 Sorento is a great choice.
Edmunds' Expert Rating7.2 / 10
Are you searching for a vehicle that's more spacious than a five-passenger midsize SUV but also less cumbersome and expensive than a seven-passenger model? The 2018 Kia Sorento could be a great choice. It's also well-equipped and comes with a lengthy warranty.
Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our Full Test of the 2016 Kia Sorento SX (3.3L V6 | 8-speed automatic | AWD).
NOTE: Since this test was conducted, the current Sorento has received only minor revisions. Our findings remain applicable to this year's Sorento.
|Overall||7.2 / 10|
The three-row SX V6 feels heavier than the two-row SXL 2.0T, because it is. Handling is more ponderous, and braking distances are a few feet longer. The V6 adds a sense of urgency that's missing from the 2.0T, but you give up some athleticism.
The Sorento V6 hit 60 mph in 7.6 seconds, which is a respectably quick time for a crossover of this size. But Kia's V6 feels weaker in real-world driving, with less yank at low rpm. It wakes up noticeably at 4,000 rpm and pulls well to redline.
We noted a spongier pedal feel than in the 2.0T, and slightly longer stopping distances from 60 mph. Best stop was 121 feet, which is about average for this vehicle type with all-season tires. Unobtrusive operation in daily driving.
Agreeably light effort. It's short on feedback, predictably, but fairly accurate when carving around turns. Inspires confidence within the Sorento's modest handling parameters and doesn't draw attention to itself. Good execution.
Relative to a four-cylinder Sorento, the Sorento V6 feels heavy around turns, with more pronounced body roll. Kia says the suspension tuning is the same, and both test vehicles had the same tires. Extra weight is the primary suspect.
We expected to rank the V6 model above its 2.0T counterpart in drivability, but the handling deficit makes it a tie. If you care about power, the V6 is an easy choice, but it doesn't feel as light on its feet. The six-speed automatic is supple.
The Sorento's AWD system includes an electronically lockable 50-50 front and rear torque split, which could come in handy in low-traction scenarios. Ground clearance is modest at 7.3 inches. It's winter-ready, but clearly not an off-roader.
The standard third-row seat is kid-size, and the front seats could benefit from longer bottom cushions. Otherwise, the Sorento is one comfortable crossover, featuring an impressively quiet cabin and a smooth yet well-controlled ride that's among the segment's best.
Firm padding in the front seats is a plus on long trips, but the bottom cushions may prove too short for some. The nicely shaped second-row seats slide and recline. The third row's bottom cushion is basically on the floor; comfort is in short supply.
The Sorento has one of the most refined rides of any non-luxury-brand crossover. Impacts are well-cushioned yet ride motions remain disciplined. This Kia glides serenely over patchy pavement, giving it a distinctly premium feel.
Noise & vibration8.5
The Sorento (with the noise-reducing windows) delivers luxury-grade quietness. Only minimal amounts of wind and road noise are evident at highway speeds. Bluetooth phone conversations can be conducted in normal tones at speed.
The cabin is thoughtfully designed for the most part, faltering mainly in third-row space and access, at least relative to larger crossovers. The touchscreen infotainment system is both attractive and functional. The materials quality is top-notch, with SX trims seeming properly luxurious.
Ease of use8.0
The SX trim's intuitive 8-inch touchscreen features a distinctive font, slick graphics and quick responses. Other controls are logically arrayed with no hitches. The steering wheel, however, may not telescope out far enough for tall drivers.
Getting in/getting out7.0
The low step-in height and wide-opening doors with intermediate detents ease access to the first and second rows. Third-row access is rather challenging, however, since the step-through passage behind the second row is narrow.
The front seats are plenty spacious and offer an adequate range of adjustments. Sliding and reclining second-row seats add welcome adjustability. The third row is OK for kids, but it's a no-go for adults, except possibly on short trips.
The reasonably slim windshield and side pillars make the Sorento an easy crossover to see out of. The front corners should be visible to most drivers in tight spots.
The materials are class-competitive, including abundant soft-touch surfaces and even simulated stitching on some panels. But three of the five central buttons were blanked off, which is odd in a vehicle in this price range. Nonetheless, appropriate quality overall.
The third row folds easily via pull-straps on the seatbacks (not much room behind them). The second row folds via nifty trunk-mounted remote handles. Cargo capacity is ample but still trails that of three-row rivals. Plenty of nooks for personal items.
Kia's touchscreen interfaces are some of the easiest to use, though we recommend the 7- or 8-inch Uvo3 units that include Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and a variety of other appealing extras. Advanced safety tech is available on all but the most basic L trim.
Which Sorento does Edmunds recommend?
The Sorento EX with the V6 engine comes with seven seats and an abundance of features (including advanced driving aids) at a price that undercuts bigger three-row crossovers. You can even order luxury add-ons and still keep the price pretty reasonable. As for the V6, it's not only more powerful but should deliver respectable real-world fuel economy. Avoid the underpowered base four-cylinder engine if you can.
2018 Kia Sorento models
The 2018 Kia Sorento is available in five trim levels: L, LX, EX, SX and SX Limited. There are also three engines available. The L and LX come standard with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine (185 horsepower, 178 pound-feet of torque). Only the EX comes standard with the 2.0T turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder (240 hp, 260 lb-ft). A 3.3-liter V6 (290 hp, 252 lb-ft) is optional on the LX and EX, and it comes standard on the SX and SX Limited.
Every engine comes equipped with a six-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard, and all but the L can be ordered with all-wheel drive. A third-row seat comes standard on V6-powered Sorentos and the all-wheel-drive LX; it's optional on the front-wheel-drive LX.
Standard feature highlights for the base L include 17-inch alloy wheels, a rearview camera, selectable drive modes, a height-adjustable driver seat, Bluetooth, and a six-speaker sound system with satellite radio, a CD player and a USB port.
The LX adds a noise-reducing windshield, roof rails and two extra USB ports. With all-wheel drive, it comes with seven seats and a windshield de-icer.
The LX's optional Convenience package pads on rear parking sensors, an eight-way power-adjustable driver seat (with lumbar adjustment), heated front seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, dual-zone automatic climate control and a 7-inch Uvo touchscreen interface that includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration. The Cool and Connected package is similar but adds just the climate control and Uvo system. The LX V6 can be equipped with the Advanced Technology package that adds a forward collision warning system, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, blind-spot monitoring, rear-cross traffic alert, adaptive cruise control and an electronic parking brake.
The EX gets the content of the Convenience package as standard and further adds the turbocharged four-cylinder engine, 18-inch wheels, foglights, a hands-free liftgate, power-folding mirrors, keyless ignition and entry, noise-reducing front side windows, an eight-way power-adjustable passenger seat, leather upholstery, second-row retractable sunshades and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. The Advance Touring package (standard with EX V6) includes a panoramic sunroof, LED interior lighting, a 110-volt household style outlet and everything from the Advanced Technology package.
The SX comes standard with the V6 and includes upgraded steering, 19-inch wheels, LED running lights, upgraded exterior trim, automatic wipers, the panoramic sunroof, a 10-way power driver seat (with four-way lumbar adjustment), driver-seat memory settings, an 8-inch touchscreen, a navigation system, and a 10-speaker Infinity sound system. It can also be equipped with an Advanced Technology package, which is comparable to the LX V6 version but adds xenon headlights, ventilated front seats and a heated steering wheel.
The SX Limited comes with 19-inch chrome-clad wheels, upgraded leather upholstery, heated second-row seats, a wood-trim steering wheel and the SX's Advanced Technology package.
4.3 out of 5 stars
Most helpful consumer reviews
5 out of 5 stars
Lots of luxury features in mainstream prices
2018 Kia Sorento EX 4dr SUV (3.3L 6cyl 6A)
We shopped around for Mid size/compact SUV. After trying CRV, CX-5, Tiguan, Pilot, Highlander we settled down on Kia Sorento. The size is just right with lots of room for front and mid row passengers. The third row is good to have. The V6 engine is perfect for the weight of the vehicle to accelerate. The car handling is very nice with active safety features. The warranty is just great, … gives peace of mind for 5 years bumper to bumper and 10yrs/100K on transmission. We have owned Toyota's and Lexus cars before and change to Kia brand was a big decision, we are glad we did make that right.
5 out of 5 stars
If it didn't say Kia on the grille....
2018 Kia Sorento SX 4dr SUV AWD (3.3L 6cyl 6A)
If it didn't say Kia on the grille, you would have it at the top of your list. My sister bought a 1972 Toyota Corolla as her first car (used) and EVERYONE doubted Japanese cars. She sold it with 211,000 miles, at a time when 100,000 was considered outstanding. I think the same is now true for Korean cars... they need to prove themselves. But take the badge off and overall the Sorento … trails no one. Drove the 2018 Audi Q5 and there's nothing not to like but for $15,000 more than the Kia all it had was the really cool display and a faster 0-60. Drove the Lexus RX350. Again, really nice but $12,000 more than the Kia and no Apple CarPlay and only the base engine was same HP. Drove Acura RDX. Again really nice and only 2k more but way smaller in size. Drove the Honda Pilot but after driving the Acura, it was quickly dismissed. Toyota Highlander a bit larger than Kia but an extra $9,000 for same equipment, and again the Toyota/Lexus clunky infotainment system with no Google or Apple. Then we drove the 2019 Kia Sorento. For $40,000 we received AWD and all the safety and entertainment features currently available. The interior was equal or better than everyone except the Audi. Capacity better than anyone except Toyota and Honda but enough for us. With the 3.3L V6 and the 8 speed trans on the 2019, performance is at least equal to everyone except Audi. Safety, it's the only IIHS Top Safety Pick Plus in the group. Reliability is yet to be seen for 2019 but the warranty (60/60,000 and 120/100) is by far the best and, based on past reliability, it's better than all but Lexus and Toyota. So when you put together: value #1, performance #2/3, interior quality #2, infotainment #1 and safety #1: the Kia wins. You just have to get over the fact that it says Kia on the badge.
5 out of 5 stars
My first SUV. VERY pleased!
Happy driver, 03/06/2018
2018 Kia Sorento LX 4dr SUV (3.3L 6cyl 6A)
This 2018 Kia Sorento LX V-6 is perfect for me. I didn't want a large SUV, and found this vehicle provided 'just right' passenger and storage room. Plenty of cubbyholes for various gear, enough USB and power receptacles, rear-seat passenger HVAC controls, ease of entry and exit front and rear, lots of passenger room, comfortable seats, plenty of power from the V-6 engine. I found the 4 … cyl just too anemic, and I don't care for turbos. Interior finish and quality of materials are excellent. I didn't need a lot of high-tech options which are available, settling instead for a backup camera, but forgoing most of the other technology. My GPS links perfectly well and displays on the vehicle's screen so no need for navigation. U.S. News ranks the 2018 Sorento #2 in their list of the top 19 mid-sized SUVs, and I agree wholeheartedly. I shopped the GMC Acadia, Toyota Highlander, GMC Terrain, Ford Edge, and Hyundai Santa Fe, and in the end, felt the Sorento was the best value for the money spent. Build and materials quality are top-notch. So far, I am VERY pleased with my choice. Can't imagine needing or desiring any more than this vehicle offers. I received an email request from Edmunds today, asking that I update the original review of my 2018 Kia Sorento LX. I am now 8 months into the ownership and daily use of this vehicle. I have owned many different vehicles in the 60 years I have been driving. I still contend that this one is my all-time favorite. This SUV is just right for my needs; roomy enough, very comfortable, quiet, smooth, and V-6 power which never ceases to surprise me. I have read some reviews which find fault with this SUV's handling. I have never experienced any traffic or road conditions in which my Sorento handled in any manner other than perfectly. Considering the price I paid and the options included in the LX model, I cannot think of another better vehicle for me. I plan to keep this SUV for a long time, but given my satisfaction level, I would certainly seriously consider replacing it with another Sorento, should the need arise. 9/7/19 Once again, I am responding to an Edmunds request for an update on my 2018 Kia Sorento LX. During the year and-a-half in which I have owned this vehicle, I have had only one service problem. Some Sorentos of varying years have developed a 'sticky steering' situation. It is as though the tires have caught in a groove on the road, and you must exert a little steering wheel pressure to break the wheel free. It was irritating, but not a major deal for me. My Kia dealership took care of the situation. Two service visits were necessary, but even though I live a 130-mile round trip from the dealer, that wasn't a problem for me. The service department handled my complaint very well, and the dealership even gave me a nice loaner vehicle each time. I STILL love this Sorento! Quiet, smooth, great V-6 power, nice handling, plenty of room. exceptional build and material quality. I am as happy as ever with my purchase of this SUV, and plan to keep it for many more miles. 3/9/20 Once again, I am responding to Edmunds request that I update my posts of ownership of my 2018 Kia Sorento LX v-6. Everything I have posted above still holds true, including my complete satisfaction with this SUV. I currently have right at 17,000 miles logged. I have zero problems with any aspect of this vehicle. I am as satisfied with the quality of the build, ride, performance, comfort, room, and materials as with any vehicle I have ever owned, and that covers a lot of territory. I feel that I received excellent value for the money spent. Since I plan to drive this vehicle for a number of more years, I am hopeful it will remain one of my favorites. So far it has met all of my considerable expectations. As an aside, I was reading the Edmunds review of the 2020 Sorentos, and was shocked to see one comment from the testers. In their assessment they stated that even with the V-6 engine, the acceleration was lackluster. I strongly disagree. My 2018 V-6 Sorento has surprised not only me, but several passengers in situations where it became necessary to 'get on it.' It will SCOOT when needed! It is now 9/11/20, and I am answering a request from Edmunds to once again update my earlier posts regarding my opinion of my 2018 Kia Sorento LX v-6 SUV. At this point, I have 20,000 miles on this vehicle, which I purchased new in early 2018. Each positive comment I have made in my posts above, still holds true. I am just as pleased and satisfied with this SUV now, as I was when it was first purchased. Quiet, smooth, handles well, roomy, comfortable, excellent quality and performance. Absolutely zero complaints. Plan to keep it for many more miles and years. 3/14/21 Here we are three years into ownership of our 2018 Kia Sorento LX V-6. I am just as satisfied with this vehicle as I was when we purchased it new in 2018. I have no complaints, and still regard it as one of the best vehicles we have owned. 9/17/22 Yet again, I am happy to answer Edmunds' request for an update on my 2018 Kia Sorento. After 4 1/2 years of ownership, I remain as satisfied as ever with my purchase of this vehicle. I tend to keep vehicles for quite a few years when I am satisfied with them. At times I have driven some for 15 to 17years before replacing them.! At my current age of 79, this Sorento could well be my last vehicle. We are on the highway very frequently for out of town medical appointments for my wife and myself and we are still most satisfied with our Kia in all respects. The comfort, reliability, and impressive mileage for a V-6 still impresses us. Here we are entering our 5th year of ownership of our 2018 Kia Sorento LX, and we still are as happy with this SUV as with any vehicle we have owned. That covers a lot of various vehicles! The overall build and materials quality exceed a number of other of the current ones on the market. Barring unexpected circumstances, we plan to drive this one for quite a few more years. I purchased our 2018 Kia Sorento LX in February 2018. I remain as satisfied with this vehicle as with any I have owned over 64 years of driving. Only one steering system problem, which the dealership solved quickly. I have no complaints, and plan to enjoy this SUV for as many more years as I will be driving. It has been dependable, economical for a V-6, comfortable, and has plenty of room for passengers and cargo. Couldn't be happier with my purchase.
5 out of 5 stars
Edmunds readers like it. So do I.
Howard Gabennesch, 01/10/2018
2018 Kia Sorento SX Limited 4dr SUV AWD (3.3L 6cyl 6A)
In January 2018, I compared the average consumer ratings on Edmunds for midsize SUVs with at least 20 ratings in the 2017 model year. Acadia trailed the pack at 3.7. Grand Cherokee, Explorer, Highlander, Murano, and Pilot fell in a narrow 4.1- 4.3 range. Edge came in at 4.4. Sorento, Santa Fe, and CX-9 topped the list at 4.6. (By the way, there is often little relationship between … consumer ratings and expert reviews of the same vehicle. For example, both Acadia and Sorento received 3.5 stars from the Edmunds expert.) While the Sorento is unchanged in 2018, some of the others are now in new editions and their 2018 ratings may turn out to be different. But it's safe to say that the current Sorento has been well received by the owners who submitted reviews to Edmunds. And this satisfaction mirrors my own. High-quality interior, quiet ride, excellent safety technology, superior warranty, peppy V6 on regular gas, Android Auto, thoughtful touches throughout (e.g., AC outlet). Shoppers should be aware that several competitors are roomier, but so far I can't find much else I'd change. Oh, I did replace the front and rear Kia badges with the more stylish “K” logo displayed on Kias sold in Korea. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this vehicle. UPDATE 9/12/20 -- I still love my 2018 Sorento, but Kia seems to have a problem with the 2019 model. Currently, Edmunds consumer ratings of the Sorento have dropped from 4.5 in both '17 and '18 to 3.9 for the 2019 model year. However, ratings of the 2020 model seem to be rebounding. UPDATE 10/5/20 -- How have the Edmunds consumer ratings of popular 2018 midsize SUVs fared after a couple of years on the road? To date, average ratings of Traverse, Acadia, Enclave, Explorer, Pilot, XT5, and Grand Cherokee are unimpressive at 3.3-3.8, while Forrester, Outlander, Durango, Murano, Sorento, and Santa Fe score well at 4.4-4.5. CX-9 leads the league with 4.6. All vehicles have at least 24 ratings. Variations in sample size and other factors require caution when interpreting small differences.
2018 Sorento Highlights
|Combined MPG||24 MPG|
|Cost to Drive||$161/month|
|Cargo Capacity |
All Seats In Place
|Drivetrain||front wheel drive|
|Warranty||5 years / 60,000 miles|
Our experts like the Sorento models:
- Autonomous Emergency Braking
- Warns the driver when an imminent front collision is detected. Can automatically brake if needed.
- Lane Departure Warning System
- Alerts you when the system detects that you're drifting out of your lane.
- Uvo eServices
- Includes automatic 911 calling when an airbag deploys, plus geofencing and speed alerts for secondary drivers.
NHTSA Overall Rating5 out of 5 stars
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
- Frontal Barrier Crash RatingOverall5 / 5Driver5 / 5Passenger5 / 5
- Side Crash RatingOverall5 / 5
- Side Barrier RatingOverall5 / 5Driver5 / 5Passenger5 / 5
- Combined Side Barrier & Pole RatingsFront Seat5 / 5Back Seat5 / 5
- RolloverRollover4 / 5Dynamic Test ResultNo TipRisk Of Rollover15.8%
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
- Small Overlap Front Driver-Side TestGood
- Small Overlap Front Passenger-Side TestNot Tested
- Moderate Overlap Front Test – OriginalGood
- Moderate Overlap Front Test – UpdatedNot Tested
- Side Impact Test – OriginalGood
- Side Impact Test – UpdatedNot Tested
- Roof Strength TestGood
- Rear Crash Protection / Head RestraintGood