Review 2013 Kia Sorento SX | National Post

Kia Sorento SX 2013 Review
By Graeme Fletcher, National Post
After significantly updating the Sorento last year, Kia is keeping the pressure on its competitors by adding a few more welcome touches to the already well-respected crossover.
The changes all start with the powertrain. The previous base 2.4-litre four-cylinder engine, which made 175 horsepower, has been updated by the addition of direct-injection. As a result, it now makes 191 hp and 181 pound-feet of torque, which means it is now a very real contender in the segment, especially for those potential customers that value fuel economy more than outright performance.
However, for those shopping for some real driving zest, it’s the up-level 3.5L V6 that scores – it pushes 276 hp and 248 lb-ft of torque. The use of variable valve timing on both the intake and exhaust camshafts spreads the motivation over a broader range, which gives the engine punch almost without regard for the revs displayed on the tachometer.
A big part of the reason the Sorento’s V6 feels so lively across the operating range, low-end torque aside, has to do with the six-speed manumatic transmission. The first five ratios all key on performance, with sixth gear bringing highway fuel efficiency and a quiet ride. This powertrain combination delivers a quick run from rest to 100 kilometres an hour of 7.2 seconds and a passing move (80 to 120 km/h) time of 5.8 seconds. Both are very good times for a full-bodied, seven-seat crossover.
One subtle change that really makes a big difference has to do with the manual side of the automatic transmission. In the past, I complained about the transmission automatically downshifting into fifth gear whenever the manual mode was selected – at highway speeds, it invariably put the transmission in the wrong gear. That nit has been addressed. Consequently, the manual side will finally see a lot more use because it operates as a true manual.
An option that should be considered a must is the Sorento’s all-wheel-drive system. It is quick to react to a change in driving condition, which means it brings much better stability across the board – better on-road civility and surprising off-road ability. Compared to the regular front-drive Sorento, the all-wheel-drive model brings advantages that should not be overlooked. For example, when the going gets really slick, there is a centre differential lock, which, when engaged, forces a 50/50-front/rear split of the drive torque, and hill descent control. Yes, there are cost and fuel economy considerations, but both are minimal given the composure the system adds to the drive. The cost penalty is $1,900, while the fuel consumption penalty works out to an average of around 0.8 L/100 km, neither of which is worth fretting over.
When it comes to the ride and handling side of things, the Sorento tracks a fine line. The suspension and up-level P235/60R18 tires that come with the SX model do make the ride a little firmer to the feel. The upside here is that body roll is minimal and, with the all-wheel-drive system aboard, understeer is commendably muted, which imparts a sporty feel to the drive – the powertrain’s work ethic reinforces this notion. Likewise, the feel and feedback from the steering is well above the crossover norm. Ride-wise, the lower-profile tires do make the ride feel taut, but it is far from uncomfortable – the sensation can be likened to a European feel.
The Sorento SX’s cabin is clean and concise in its layout. It also boasts decent materials, leather upholstery and a wealth of equipment. The list runs from the headed and cooled power driver’s seat and a full panoramic moonroof to the navigation system and its seven-inch touch sensitive screen and voice activation. It is a very advanced system that lessens driver distraction because of its ease of use.
The Sorento’s interior is also as flexible as the cabin is comfortable. The middle row seating will accommodate three adults realistically and, behind that, there’s a third row. It is par for the course in that it is tight, but, unlike so many other third-row pews, a pair of adults can sit back there without suffering too much discomfort.
When it comes to cargo capacity the Sorento is generous. With both rows of seating upright, there’s 9.1 cubic feet. Folding the third row down bumps that to 37 cu. ft., and the capacity tops out at 72.5 cu. ft. when with the middle row is folded down. The floor is also flat and the intrusions into the usable space have been kept to a minimum, all of which is good news for those that will use the capacity on a regular basis.
While the Sorento is on the cusp of another major overhaul, the upgrades and improvements to the 2012 model serve to keep it contemporary and an attractive buy. The fact the SX comes with a boatload of equipment and yet barely surpasses the $40,000 price point adds to its overt appeal.
2013 Kia Sorento SX Review
Type of vehicle  All-wheel-drive mid-sized crossover
Engine  3.5L DOHC V6
Power  276 @ 6,300 rpm; 258 lb-ft of torque @ 5,000 rpm
Transmission  Six-speed manumatic
Brakes  Four-wheel disc with ABS
Tires  P235/60R18
Base price/as tested  $26,895/$41,295
Destination charge  $1,650
Fuel economy L/100 km  11.5 city, 8.2 hwy.
Standard features  Dual-zone automatic climate control with cabin ionizer, power locks, windows and heated mirrors, power panoramic moonroof, cruise control, leather seating, heated front seats, cooled driver’s seat, heated steering wheel, tilt/telescopic steering, Bluetooth, navigation system with back-up camera, Infinity AM/FM/CD/MP3/satellite radio with steering wheel-mounted controls, 10 speakers and auxiliary inputs, smart key with push-button start, rear wiper/washer, fog lights, roof rails, rear spoiler
Read Article: