“2018 Kia Sorento SX-Limited AWD”
Refreshed with Subtle and Smart Tech Updates
The 2016 Kia Sorento represented the third generation of the Korean automaker’s popular crossover utility vehicle. It was based on the Cross GT concept vehicle that bowed three years ago at the Chicago Auto Show. Kia also celebrated their 20th anniversary in the U.S. at that time, and has grown from 2 available vehicles in their stable to a total of 12.
The 2017 Kia Sorento was pretty much a carryover in terms of styling from the previous year, but adds Automomous Braking and Dynamic Bending Headlamps to the technology portfolio of their top-of the-line SX-Limited V6 model. Last year’s model hit the ground running, featuring a stronger body structure, a wheelbase that was 3.1 inches longer and an overall length that increased 3-inches as well as growing in width, and coming in either a versatile two or three row seating configuration and loaded with enhancements in driving dynamics and technological advancements.
Overall cargo volume increased from 72.5 cu.-ft. to 74 cu.-ft., while cargo volume behind the 3rd row increased from 9.1 cu.-ft. to 11 cu.-ft., providing additional space for essentials and active-lifestyle equipment without sacrificing or intruding on rear-passenger room.
The 2018 Kia Sorento, built at Kia’s U.S. manufacturing plant in West Point, Georgia*, enters its third model year as a carry-over. Kia’s popular SUV offers refined utility and advanced technology, as well as a new convenience package for greater flexibility – the LX Cool & Connected Package. In addition, a third-row seat is now standard on all 2.4L AWD and 2.4L LX AWD models.
SX V6 models for 2018 will now include as standard fare: Auto-dimming mirror with Homelink and for the SX Limited Rain Sensing Wipers are added. All Trims will benefit from enhanced headlamp performance and an Improved front headrest design that provides increased comfort.
The 2018 Kia Sorento is available in seven distinctive levels of trim: the base L; an LX that moves up the scale in terms of features and equipment – both powered by a 2.4-liter GDI inline four cylinder; an LX 3.3-liter V6 model; an EX 2.0-liter turbocharged inline four-cylinder with GDI; an EX 3.3-liter V6; an SX model and the flagship SX-Limited, both powered by the 3.3-liter V6 with GDI.
Dependent upon the trim level, the 2018 the five-passenger Sorento comes with a 40/20/40 folding second-row as standard (4-cylinder models) or in a 50/50 folding third-row seven-passenger seating configurations (V6 models). For added luxury, heated and ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, a 14-way power driver and 8-way power passenger seats, driver’s seat thigh extension, a 4-way headrest with one-button adjustment, dual-zone HVAC and Kia’s second-generation panoramic sunroof, as well as available premium Nappa leather trim seating surfaces, similar to those found in Kia’s luxury flagship sedan, the K900 are all available.
Second and third-row passengers will enjoy enhanced comfort thanks to a 0.5-inch increase in rear passenger space for both rows and a roomier flattened second-row center floor. Access to third-row seating is1.5 inches, while headroom throughout the cabin is plentiful.
The three engines to choose from are: a 2.0-liter, DOHC, 16-valve, turbocharged inline four-cylinder with dual CVVT and Gasoline Direct Injection that produces 240 horsepower at 6,000 rpm while developing 260 pound feet of torque in a range from 1,450 to 3,500 rpm; a 2.4-liter normally aspirated inline-4cylinder; or a 3.3 -liter, DOHC, 24-valve GDI V6 with dual CVVT that delivers 290 horses at 6,400 rpm along with 252 pound feet of torque at 5,300 rpm. All engine variants will mate to an electronically controlled six-speed overdrive automatic transmission with Sportmatic manual shift.
The 2018 Kia Sorento’s visual appeal continues to draw some of its design inspiration from nature. Overall, the Sorento displays an athletic and planted stance, communicating a pleasing edginess. The profile presents a clean and simple image that’s easily recognizable as a Sorento, with stronger shoulders and a long hood that delivers a more aerodynamic and sleek persona. The Sorento’s packaging is efficient, allowing for spacious interior volume. The front end is aggressively styled, and with its narrow headlight design, is an evolution of the upper fascia seen on the Cross GT concept, while bearing a strong family resemblance to the Kia Sedona multipurpose vehicle. Distinctive LED positioning lights set the Sorento apart from others in the midsize CUV segment.
Sitting below the headlights, the lower intake and fog lamp pockets are prominent, showcasing a sporty appearance that blends harmoniously with the overall styling proportions. Premium enhancements include available LED rear dimensional tail lamps and LED fog lamps. The body rides on alloy wheel designs ranging from 17 to 19 inches, depending on trim level.
Moving to the inside, the overall interior theme focuses on the stability of a horizontal plane, with the design motif providing a strong foundation for premium textures and high-quality materials found throughout the 2017 Sorento’s cabin.
In terms of progressive technology, four UVO eServices are available: Geo-fencing, Speed Alert, Curfew Alert and Driving Score. Additionally, with the introduction of the Kia App store, select apps may be downloaded at no charge from iTunes or Google Play. The Kia app connector is available for partnership with the content community for downloading apps such as Yelp, while Soundhound, Pandora and iHeart Radio are planned for the future. Other comfort and convenience technologies that are featured in the UVO system, include Siri “Eyes Free” and Local Search by Google – for finding locations, addresses and points of interest. Sirius XM Travel Link, offers access to traffic, weather, fuel prices, sports scores, stock information and movie times.
Accessed through a crystal-clear 8-inch capacitive-touch color screen, the available navigation system features SD card storage for MAP DATA and USB 2.0 support for high-speed updates as well as an integrated rear backup camera, Bluetooth hands-free support and UVO voice recognition. A 4.3-inch TFT color touch screen is standard which also incorporates Bluetooth, and UVO voice recognition capability.
Safety issues are addressed by such features as: seatbelt anchor pretensioners and six airbags, with all Sorento models providing standard active safety features such as Electronic Stability Control, Traction Control System, Brake Assist System, Hill-start Assist Control, Electronic Brake Force Distribution and Antilock Braking System. Additional technologies such as Roll Over Mitigation and Cornering Brake Control on AWD models also were added as standard equipment for improved dynamic control and safety.
Available driver aid technology, includes: Vehicle Stability Management, Forward Collision Warning System, Smart Cruise Control, Blind Spot Detection, Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Surround View Monitor.
Sorento will continue to offer an advanced AWD system that automatically routes power to the wheel with the most traction. Should conditions require more sure-footed capability, a 4WD Lock Mode splits engine power evenly between the front and rear drive shafts. The system also provides drivers the added stability of Torque Vector Cornering Control, which is activated when yaw and steering sensors detect unwanted understeer. V6 models are capable of towing up to 5,000 pounds.
My test 2018 Kia Sorento was in SX-Limited Trim. The exterior was sprayed Platinum Graaphite metallic, with the interior done in Black with satin finish, nickel-toned trim accents. The base sticker read $46,200., while the Inland Freight and Handling charge bumped the final count and amount to $47,190.
SUMMARY: Driving the 2018 Kia Sorento SX-Limited AWD, powered by the 3.3-liter V6 provided a most pleasurable experience. The performance level was most satisfying in terms of acceleration, while the four-banger obviously has to work a little harder and thereby generates a little more noise in the process, but not to the point of being objectionable.
The transmission shifts smoothly – almost imperceptibly in either fully automatic mode or in manual mode, which proved to be somewhat more responsive.
The interior ambience and the ride quality are quite pleasing – not too firm and not too soft. Handling characteristics consist of an on-center steering feel and a planted stability.
The 2018 Kia Sorento will be built at Kia’s U.S. manufacturing plant in West Point, Georgia, where the Kia Optima is also built.
Bottom line, the 2018 Kia Sorento in virtually any of its configurations or trim levels, delivers a solid value in a package that is not only good looking, but is capable of fulfilling a wide variety of functional desires and individual requirements.
SPECIFICATIONS: 2018 Kia Sorento SX-Limited V6 AWD
Base Price: $46,200.
Price as Tested: $47,190.
Engine Type and Size: 3.3 –L, DOHC, 24-valve V6 with dual CVVT and Gasoline Direct Injection.
Horsepower (bhp): 290 @ 6,400 rpm
Torque (ft./ lbs.): 252 @ 5,300 rpm
Transmission: Electronically controlled six-speed automatic, overdrive, with Sportmatic manual shift.
Drive Train: Transversely mounted front engine / AWD with torque on demand and locking center differential.
Suspension: Front – Independent MacPherson struts, coil springs and stabilizer bar.
Rear – Independent, Multi-link, stabilizer bar, DFD (Dual Flow Dampers).
Brakes: Power-assisted four-wheel discs (vented front) with ABS, ESC, TCS, BAS, HAC and CBC.
Tires: Michelin Premiere LTX 235/55 R19 mounted on 5-“V”-spoke chrome alloy wheels.
Wheelbase: 109.4 inches
Length Overall: 187.4 inches
Width: 74.4 inches
Height: 66.5 inches – with roof rails.
Curb Weight: 4,101 lbs.
Turning Circle: 37.3 ft.
Fuel Capacity: 18.8 gallons
EPA Mileage Estimates: 17 mpg-city / 23 mpg hwy
Drag Coefficient: 0.33
0 – 60 mph: Not tested.
Arv Voss is a Northern California based freelance motoring Journalist and member and past officer of several noted Automotive Journalist organizations who contributes regularly to a number of national and international media outlets. He reviews not only cars, trucks and SUVs, but motorcycles and unusual wheeled vehicles as well.