The Kia Sorento has always been one of our favourite mid-size three row crossover SUVs. We've had the chance to drive and review the 2015 through 2017 models over the course of the years, and the 2018 EX V6 we have today is Kia Canada's volume seller, meaning it will likely be the most popular in showrooms this year, at least until that refreshed 2019 model shown off at the Canadian International Auto Show hits the market. The Kia Sorento has a lot going for it even at this mid-level trim.
Unlike the other mid-size crossovers we've featured so far, the EX V6 Sorento doesn't come fully loaded. You still have halogen projector headlights up front with lower fog lights, automatic power folding mirrors, blind spot monitoring, a backup camera, and a power opening rear lift gate. Coming in with an MSRP of $37,795.00 with the $200 dark cherry paint colour, this Sorento is also one of the most affordable, so we can't fault it for it's limited features. We would have preferred to find LED headlights though, as we've discussed in other reviews we feel LED technology adds to the safety of the vehicle, and we did find the halogen headlight performance to be rather poor on this model.
The interior of the Sorento is well laid out, although it doesn't feel like it's aged as well as some of the other vehicles in Kia's current lineup. The smaller infotainment screen isn't a bad size and features Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, which will likely serve buyers more than built-in navigation anyway. You get a power driver's seat with two memory options, heated front seats, and a heated steering wheel. You also have 2.5 zone automatic climate control, with two zones up front and a half zone in the trunk for the third row. That half zone is really only for air conditioning, but can be turned on from the front or back of the vehicle.
We found the seating to be comfortable up front and space was plentiful in the centre row. There isn't a lot of tech to get excited about in this car, but again it's targeting the average consumer who's looking for a 3 row crossover without all the frills, just the creature comforts we need for life up here in Canada. We do think this vehicle serves as a good replacement for the minivan, being a great AWD choice for younger families looking for something with that minivan size without the stigma of owning a van.
Overall the interior works well for this vehicle and provides the features we ultimately need. The wood trim found around the dashboard, door cards, and centre console also help to enhance the interior look, although the rest of the interior is hard plastic, something we've talked about with other Kia models.
Performance & Handling
The Sorento has the optional 290 horsepower 3.3L V6 engine, which is certainly a plus over some of the competition. It might not be as powerful as the Buick Enclave Avenir or Infiniti QX60 we featured earlier, but it definitely gets the job done. We had no issues getting up to speed on the highways, nor issues passing people while there. We suspect the engine should be plenty powerful for larger families who often load up their crossovers with gear and luggage, and a small trailer should be plenty easy to haul with this vehicle.
We also had good fuel economy during our week, averaging 10.9L/100km over the course of our 7 days. It ended up being more efficient than the other mid-size crossover SUVs we've driven which will be a plus for consumers at the gas pump.
The handling itself wasn't bad, but the car doesn't feature an active body stabilizer like that found on the 2018 Mazda CX-9, so you do feel more of the corners and turns than elsewhere. We also noticed more noise coming from the windows on the highways than we have in other vehicles. We're not sure if this was limited to the trim itself, or if other models in the Sorento lineup also have noisier interiors. It's not a deal killer, but definitely something to be aware of.
We did like the Sorento, and we think the update coming for the 2019 won't put buyers off from picking up this year's model and trim. There's a lot going for the 2018 Kia Sorento EX V6 and with a sub-$40k price point it will continue to be a popular seller here in Canada. You can watch the full episode of TestDrive Spotlight on this Sorento below: