Short Road Trip Review: 2013 Kia Sorento SX FWD

 

The 2013 Kia Sorento SX AWD is much the same as it was when we tested the EX AWD model in 2011; but that’s okay, there’s no need to change what’s already just right.

Last we saw the Kia Sorento it was a nicely priced mid-size SUV we raved about in 2011. It’s nearly 2013 and we still like the Sorento a lot, especially in SX form.

Before I go any further, let me start from the beginning. A couple months ago Turner Motorsport had invited me up to play with a couple of their cars. While I was originally going to fly, I was told that Kia would be willing to supply me with two cars, the Sorento SX to drive to Virginia, and then a 2012 Kia Soul from Virginia to Amesbury, MA. Sounds great to me, the more cars I can review the happier I am. Plus, it feels good to be on the open road enjoying the Interstate system that good ol’ Ike had made for us. There are a ton too many cars these days, and as annoying as traffic is on I-95, I’ll never tire of driving and appreciating the beauty of our country. Look at me getting all sappy…

Anyway, so Kia dropped off a 2013 Sorento SX front-wheel drive SUV for me to have for a week before I was going to leave. And really, it’s pretty much the same as it was in 2011 when we had an EX all-wheel drive, save for the more aggressive SX trim. But that’s not a bad thing, because the Sorento is just a good SUV. It doesn’t really do anything wrong. The Sorento SX is just more attractive, I think.

The 3.5-liter V6 makes 276 hp and 248 lb-ft of torque, enough to help this 3,977 lb (the all-wheel drive model weighs 4,131 lbs) crossover move briskfully through traffic, as well as up and down the highway. Even with its heft, and the fact that it’s a larger vehicle, it’ll still achieve 20 mpg in the and 26 on the highway. Which is, interestingly, identical to what I averaged in both city and highway driving. Some vehicles fall short, and others exceed. The Sorento SX need not lie, because it does just what it says.

Driving the Sorento SX around town I noticed what I thought was a bit harsher ride than the 2011 Sorento EX we had. Although it settled into the road nicely once it got going, and I got used to the ride. Honestly, it was never really bothersome nor did it wear me out, it was just something I noticed. On the open road the Sorento SX is a nice vehicle to pilot, and around the back roads it’s nimble and responsive. I especially liked the dark wood trim on the top half of the steering wheel. That was a nice touch, I thought.

I’m very familiar with driving up and down I-95 these days, even if I do hate driving through Virginia (I got my first ever speeding ticket a few months ago driving through VA. However, my experience was nice and quick, only taking about 5 minutes, and my trooper was a really nice guy who cut me some slack. Unheard of, I’m told). Yet, getting off 95 in VA isn’t easy for me, because I have no idea where I am at that point. Take me to Maryland, drop me off in the middle of a road, and I’ll be able to find my way somewhere, since I’m up there and driving all over the place every few months visiting family and friends. Luckily the navigation in the Sorento SX knew where I needed to go… otherwise I’d have been lost as hell. The only odd thing was that instead of giving you an estimated time of arrival, like most cars, the Kia instead gives you a countdown of hours and minutes. This confused me for a good while, because the leftover time it was giving me was actually right in line with what time of day it was… For instance, it was about 1:30 pm, and it told me I had 2:35 to go. For a while I thought I was making really, really good time watching the clock lose more and more time. That sucked when I figured out I was wrong 3 hours later.

Still, the Kia Sorento SX led me to where I needed to go, and did so in comfort. Since I was the only passenger in this one, I can only go by what I was told in the 2011 Sorento EX AWD we had last year. My oldest niece and nephew jumped into the third row and said it was comfortable and that they had plenty of room. At the time they were 15 and 14. The second row is also nicely sized and wide, allowing 2 child seats with space in the middle for a non-child-seat-needing child.

Going along with the driving theme, there’s one thing I don’t like about the Sorento: the iPod adapter. It works fine, except it can slide out of an iPod Touch way too easily, for some odd reason. With an iPhone it’s fine, and I’m sure with the iPod Classic is fine, too. But for whatever reason it just didn’t want to stay in my iPod Touch. It was very frustrating being in the middle of singing like your favorite Grammy winner and the song stopping and seeing an error message on the nav screen. I was on a roll, Kia. That was the best I’ve ever sounded with no one listening… gosh!

At the end of my time with the 2013 Kia Sorento SX front-wheel drive I was able to, once again, see myself owning it. I’ll say, I’d be hard pressed to pass up a Kia Sorento if I needed something that size with that much capability. There are many SUVs of similar size that offer more value, but are also more expensive, and that’s what makes the current Sorento a just right vehicle. It doesn’t shout about itself, nor does it fall to the competition. It’s proud being a proper formula that works for you day in and day out. Once again, well done, Kia.

2011 Kia Sorento EX AWD we had:

2013 Kia Sorento SX FWD

3.5-liter V6 engine

Horsepower: 276 hp @ 6,300 rpm

Torque: 248 lb-ft @ 5,000 rpm

Gas mileage: 20 city/26 highway

Base MSRP: $31,700

Destination fee: $800

Total as-tested: $35,750

Standard:

EXTERIOR

18″ tires w/ mirror finish alloy wheels

Auto light control

Front fog lights

Dual body color heated power mirrors w/ turn signal indicators

Rear spoiler

Roof rails chrome finish

Front & rear stainless steel accent plates

Body color front & rear bumpers, side sill trim, moldings

Stainless steel upper bumper step pad

Chrome tail pipe finish

Rear LED tail lamps

INTERIOR & CONVENIENCE

USB/auxiliary input jacks

Bluetooth wireless technology

Steering wheel-mounted audio/Bluetooth wireless

technology/cruise control buttons

Tilt & telescopic steering column

AM/FM/CD/MP3/SiriusXM audio system

Infinity surround-sound audio w/ 10 speakers

UVO in-vehicle infotainment system, includes: Infinity audio w/ external amplifier & subwoofer, HD Radio Technology, rear?camera display

Auto-dimming rearview mirror with HomeLink

Push-button start w/ Smart Key

Backup warning system

Power windows w/ driver’s one?touch auto up & down

Power door locks w/ remote keyless entry

Dual-zone automatic temperature control w/ ionized air filtration

Rear air conditioning

Trip computer

EcoMinder fuel efficiency indicator

SX meter-cluster face

Interior accent illumination

2nd-row armrest cup holder

SEATING & TRIM

Tricot cloth seat trim

Leather seat trim (1st & 2nd rows)

Yes essentials fabric treatment

8-way power adjustable driver’s seat w/ lumbar support

4-way power front passenger seat

60/40 split-folding 2nd row seats

50/50 split-folding 3rd row seats

Heated front seats

Air?cooled driver’s seat

Leather?wrapped steering wheel/gearshift knob

Stitched dash visor

Black wood trim

Stainless?steel sill plate/illuminated scuff trim

RESTRAINT & SAFETY SYSTEMS

Dual front advanced airbags

Dual front seat?mounted side airbags

Side curtain airbags (1st & 2nd rows)

Front active headrests

Front & rear 3-point seat belts

Front seatbelt pretensioners

Height?adjustable front seat?belt anchors

4-wheel disc brakes

4-wheel anti-lock brakes (ABS)

Electronic Stability Control (ESC)

Traction Control System (TCS)

Brake?assist System (BAS)

Electronic Brake?force Distribution (EBD)

Downhill Brake Control (DBC)

Hill?start Assist Control (HAC)

Tire?Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS)

Side?impact door beams

Lower anchors and tethers for children (LATCH)

Options:

SX Premium Package $3,200

  • Panoramic Sunroof
  • Navigation w/SiriusXM Traffic & Rear-Camera Display
  • Power Folding Outside Mirrors
  • Memory Driver Seat & Mirror Position
  • Leather & Wood Style Trim Heated Steering Wheel• Auto Dimming Mirror w/HomeLink
  • Air-Cooled Driver Seat
  • Illuminated Scuff Trim• Stainless Steel Upper Bumper Step Pad
  • Kia First Aid Kit

Cargo net $50

The Good: Aggressive looks add to an already nice looking SUV; Interior is comfy and easy to be in for up to 5 hours; Steering, throttle, and brake pedals well weighted; Navigation works well; The right vehicle at a nice price.
The Bad: For as much as we like it, The Sorento is getting a little old inside and out; iPod adapter kept slipping out of my iPod; Ride may be a tad harsher than the non-SX trim levels.
The Ugly: Nothing really to say here, since there’s already a new Sorento coming in 2014.
The Truth: The 2013 Kia Sorento SX FWD is a good SUV to buy. If you’re not one who needs too much, than it’s just right. At just under 36 grand, you can’t really go wrong with the safety, ability, gas mileage and good looks. The Sorento SX is a RawAutos favorite.

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I'm a car, music, and Howard Stern aficionado. I also love planes, trains, anything to do with science and engineering, as well as politics. I'm working on my screenplays, TV shows, and a book or two. Stay tuned to when I'm really famous and even more awesome.

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