The best value for a 7-passenger SUV on the market? The 2013 Kia Sorento SX definitely is the best value 7-passenger sport-utility on the market today.
Let’s just kick this off the right way. The 2013 Kia Sorento SX V6 definitely is the best value 7-passenger sport-utility on the market today. Having previously driven the Sportage as well, I’ll go as far as to say it’s probably the best SUV offering Kia has as well.
Considering that the all-new 2014 Sorento has already been unveiled, this review might be out of date sooner rather than later; though there is a lot worth mentioning about this SX V6 that, as-tested, is priced at $42,000.
The biggest consideration when purchasing an SUV of this size is the space. The Sorento offers three-rows of seating; the second and third of which fold flat. With the third row folded, you can easily fit strollers, bags, toys, groceries or whatever requires transport. Space is drastically reduced when the third row comes up, but it’s still slightly manageable if all you’re putting back there is a weekend’s worth of luggage.
The engine is quiet, the transmission is smooth and I was able to average 10L/100KM in combined driving over the course of the week. The V6 engine provided sufficient power in a timely manner. I didn’t feel it was sluggish in the slightest and responded well to driver input.
I spent quite a bit of time looking at the Sorento, just trying to figure out the styling. The front-end certainly possesses a lot of character. The grille just has the right amount of aggressiveness without being over the top. The headlights blend in properly and the lines are perfect.
However, it just seems to fall apart with the back-end. The hatch feels flimsy, thin and cheap. It just feels like you’re going to snap the metal when you’re closing the trunk; closely akin to just being tossed together as an afterthought.
Much like trunk and liftgate, the button layout for the driver is just an odd layout. Some of the buttons are hidden, forcing you to slightly turn your head and look for them at first glance. I’m of the opinion that everything should be in clear sight of the driver’s vision from the proper seating position. Forcing a person out of that position to go looking for functionality isn’t appropriate. Rear wiper control is relegated to two buttons instead of the wiper handle like every other manufacturer.
The biggest weak spot of the Sorento is the Microsoft-based UVO system. I wasn’t supplied with the iPod connector to use my iPhone with the system. As such, I listened to XM/Sirius Channel 44 most of the time. However, I was on a little kick, wanting to listen to TI’s “Bring ‘em Out” while driving one day. Thinking I outsmarted the necessity of an iPod connector by pulling out my Samsung Ativ S, running the latest version of Windows Phone 8 and plugging it into the USB port, it just left me stunned. It wouldn’t work.
I was dejected, hurt and left scratching my head. Microsoft has been touting the benefits of a single platform for Windows 8. And yet, they couldn’t make sure of compatibility with their own product? TI would shake his head, after performing that song through the speaker of my phone. Weak.
With all that said, I thoroughly enjoyed my time with the Sorento. It’s more masculine than the Toyota Venza and definitely has younger styling than the Dodge Journey. Everything about this vehicle is aimed at the young male father that wants some grunt, room, practicality, and wants to look good while driving it.
With a few tweaks and additions, namely adding HID headlights, would make a dramatic difference with the vehicle. With all that said, we’ll see how the 2014 stacks up. If even some of the above issues are addressed, the Sorento won’t be aiming it’s sights on the Venza or Journey anymore, it will be set right towards the likes of the Acura MDX. If that happens, the Korean automaker just might have an even bigger hit on their hands. For now, as a seven-passenger mainstream SUV, the Kia just might be the best in class at its existing price-point.