The 2018 Kia Sorento crossover SUV has three engine options to choose from. A six-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive come as standard. All-wheel drive is optional for all except the base trim. The base engine, a 2.4-liter inline-4 producing 185 hp and 178 lb-ft of torque, is available for the L and LX trims. The next option, a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 producing 240 hp and 260 lb-ft, is only available for the EX trim. The most powerful engine, a 3.3-liter V6 producing 290 hp and 252 lb-ft of torque, is available for the LX, EX, SX, and SX Limited trims. With the six-cylinder powerplant under the hood, the Sorento SX delivered adequate oomph to not feel sluggish despite its size. It took a little over seven seconds to reach 60 mph, which was respectably quick among its peers. The transmission shifted smoothly between the gears and performed without a hitch. The handling was composed as long as it is driven within reasonable speeds. Pushing its limits, however, revealed significant body roll and staying on track through corners proved to be challenging. Fortunately, the steering responded immediately to driver input and changing direction didn’t feel hefty. But as common as it may be with bigger SUVs, feedback from the pavement was minimal. The brakes were predictable although the stopping force wasn’t the most robust. Stopping from 60 mph required at least 121 feet, which was an average performance. The brake pedal felt soft when pressed but still yielded a progressive response from the brakes.
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The base L trim comes standard with selectable driving modes, Bluetooth, a USB port, a CD player, satellite radio, a six-speaker sound system, and a rearview camera. The LX trim includes a noise-reducing windshield, additional USB ports, and a windshield de-icer for the all-wheel-drive model. The Convenience package adds a power-adjustable driver seat, heated front seats, automatic climate control, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, a 7-inch touchscreen interface, and several advanced safety and driver aids. The Advanced Technology package for the V6-powered model adds more advanced safety and driver aids. The EX trim comes standard with the Convenience package features and includes foglights, a hands-free liftgate, power-folding mirrors, keyless entry and ignition, noise-reducing front-row side windows, a power-adjustable front passenger seat, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. The Advanced Touring package adds interior LED lights, a 110V power outlet, and a panoramic sunroof. The V6-powered model comes standard with the Advanced Touring package. The SX trim includes upgraded steering, LED running lights, automatic wipers, an upgraded power-adjustable driver seat, driver-seat memory settings, navigation, and an infotainment system with an 8-inch touchscreen and a 10-speaker Infinity sound system. The Advanced Technology package adds xenon headlights, ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel, and several advanced safety and driver aids. The top-of-the-line SX Limited trim includes all the bells and whistles and comes standard with the SX Advanced Technology package, heated second-row seats, and upgraded interior appointments.
The 2018 Sorento was tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and it earned five stars in the frontal crash test, five stars in the side crash test, and four stars in the rollover test. Overall, it earned a five-star safety rating from the NHTSA. It was also tested by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and it scored “Good” in all the crashworthiness tests, “Superior” in front crash prevention, and “Average” for headlights. Overall, it was awarded the 2018 Top Safety Pick recommendation from the IIHS. The only advanced safety and driver aid that comes standard with the base trim is a rearview camera. More features can only be added through package options to the LX trim and they include rear parking sensors, forward collision alert, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, adaptive cruise control, an electronic parking brake, adaptive cruise control, a 360-degree camera, and Kia’s Dynamic Bending Light (headlights move to improve visibility in corners).
The 2018 Sorento has a length of 187.4 inches, a width of 74.4 inches, a height of 66.3 inches, and a wheelbase of 109.4 inches. The silhouette is mostly utilitarian but the aesthetic isn’t exactly dull. The front fascia is handsome because the proportion between the headlights and vents look balanced. The quarter panels aren’t exaggerated, which makes the design look understated and elegant. The L and LX trims come with 17-inch wheels and the EX trims have 18-inch wheels. The two SX trims have 19-inch wheels but there are no bigger options for all trims. Roof rails only become available starting with the LX trim and the sunroof can only be added starting with the EX trim.
The ground clearance was effortless to overcome when entering the cabin, which resembled more of a step-in rather than a step-up. The doors opened wide and getting through was unobstructed. The first and second rows had ample allowance for movement for most passengers but the third row suited children best because of limited space. The seats were comfortable in long drives and they were contoured to the body to provide support. However, the cushion of the front seats wasn’t long enough to support long-legged passengers. The leather upholstery was stitched and applied neatly and interior trim had a lot of surfaces that felt soft to the touch. Despite its laidback handling, the ride quality was supple and impacts were dampened easily. Driving over bumps and cracks didn’t feel unsettling and there was no float in smooth roads. Road noise and wind noise were kept at bay because of the noise-reducing windows and being in the cabin while driving just felt plush.
There is 38.8 cu-ft of space behind the second row of seats. Folding them down opens up 73.5 cu-ft of space available for cargo.