2018 Kia Sorento

2018 Kia Sorento Review

With its available V6 and third-row seat, the Sorento should be a just-right size for many families.
7.2 / 10
Edmunds overall rating
by James Riswick
Edmunds Editor

Edmunds expert review

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.

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.

What's new for 2018

For 2018, the Kia Sorento receives minor adjustments to its standard and optional feature availability.

We 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.

Trim levels & features

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.

Trim tested

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.

Edmunds Scorecard

Overall7.2 / 10


6.5 / 10

Acceleration7.0 / 10
Braking6.0 / 10
Steering7.5 / 10
Handling6.0 / 10
Drivability6.5 / 10


7.5 / 10

Seat comfort6.5 / 10
Ride comfort8.0 / 10
Noise & vibration8.5 / 10


7.5 / 10

Ease of use8.0 / 10
Getting in/getting out7.0 / 10
Roominess6.5 / 10
Visibility8.0 / 10
Quality7.0 / 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.

Seat comfort6.5

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.

Ride comfort8.0

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.

Edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.