By Michael Andre Adams
Just a few weeks ago, I finally got to test the 2013 Kia Sorrento. Here’s what I discovered. The once squared off corners and edges are becoming more rounded out for a softer and more modern look. Make no mistake that this is in large part due to the arrival of former Audi/VW designer, Peter Schreyer, now onboard at Kia. The results: A relatively affordable Korean car with more German-esque appeal.
At the upgraded EX trim level with front wheel drive for $27,950, the Kia Sorrento boasts 3.5 liter V6 engine with 276 horses under the hood. Interestingly, engine size options include 191 horsepower, 2.4 liter engine with a six speed automatic tranny rated by the government (www.fueleconomy.gov) at 21 mpg city / 29 highway, versus the larger 3.5 engine at 20 city / 26 highway.
Having spent a week pushing the 3.5 liter engine, I can say that Sorrento has a very solid feel to it, which is one reason many choose to drive an SUV. Agile, no–not very, in my opinion. But the power of 276 horses made for a very comfortable drive. So I’d be REALLY surprised if the smaller engine performed with the same get up and go as the larger engine. For a combined (city and highway) average of 22 in one and 24 in the other, I’d sacrifice the two additional miles per gallon for an additional 84 horses under the hood!
Inside, where you’ll spend the bulk of your time, the Sorrento is beautiful. A panoramic sunroof (when you opt for the $3,400 Premium Package 2) provides plenty of natural illumination for all three rows, along with heated seats on the first row and even a first aid kit. The $2,000 Limited Package’s features (including navigation) provides the driver with the addition of having his/her leather trimmed seat cooled with chilled air.
Speaking of seats, the third row can be a little cumbersome to access, especially if trying to access from the passenger side, which folds but doesn’t lift. At the same time, I would really appreciate that if I was, say, between the ages of five and 12 years old and allowed to leap through! As for the grown and sexy, we’ll do much better entering and exiting the third row (if we have to) from the driver’s side rear door. Better yet, at or above 180, you might just want to pull rank for a second row seat.
Having the rear wiper switch positioned on the left side of the dash also took a little getting used to, since it’s ordinarily found in closer proximity to the front wiper switch. I guess that just goes to say that we are creatures of habit. But I do love the simplicity of the center stack. It keeps all controls (radio, temperature, navigation) very simple and straightforward, in plain view, unlike some of the German manufacturers where one button may perform five functions. The stack is also easy on the eyes, with its beautiful black polished wood grain trim.
My thing these days is to Bluetooth my new Blackberry Bold. Not just for calls, but to access my iTunes songs stored in the Music category. Most times I can also access the phone’s Pandora application when playing in the Bluetooth mode. While I didn’t try Pandora during my Sorrento drives, it was cool to listen to my music without having to connect to the cables Kia likes placing out in the open of the console area, versus inside the console. Since the operation of the phone/iPod is integrated with the stereo system, I don’t quite get the reason behind not concealing the cable in the console or glove box. Nevertheless, that too is perhaps another one of my personal idiosyncrasies! lol
The bottom line when it comes to the 2013 Kia Sororento EX, it’s a comfortable, great looking, mid-range priced SUV that’s chock full of great options. On top of that, Kia’s 10 year/100,000 mile powertrain warranty, with 5 years or 60,000 miles of limited basic warranty and 5/60,000 of roadside assistance—says they’re willing to stand proudly behind something they believe is great. Translation: Confidence!
Speaking of price, if you were to visit a Kia dealer right about now, you’re pretty damn sure to score a great deal, particularly since the 2014 Sorrento was recently introduced–I believe during last week’s Detroit Auto Show.
- First Test: 2011 Kia Sportage (motortrend.com)
- Long Term Update 2: 2011 Kia Sorento SX AWD (motortrend.com)
- Long Term Update 3: 2011 Kia Optima SX (motortrend.com)
- New Kia Rondo/Carens MPV Unveiled, Could Replace Sedona in Europe (wot.motortrend.com)
- Kia conceptualizes hot hatch for Geneva (reviews.cnet.com)