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2018 Kia Sorento Review

The 2018 Kia Sorento ranks near the top of the midsize SUV class. It has a tranquil ride and a modern cabin with intuitive technology and plenty of room for passengers. However, it has less cargo space than its rivals.

Pros & Cons

  • Spacious interior with quality materials
  • User-friendly infotainment system and controls
  • Above-average fuel economy with four-cylinder engines
  • Quiet, comfortable ride
  • Less cargo space than most

8.5

Overall

Scorecard

Overall: 8.5
Critics' Rating: 8.9
Performance: 7.9
Interior: 8.3
Total Cost of Ownership: 8.5
Safety: 9.8
Reliability:
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

Is the 2018 Kia Sorento a Good Used SUV?

The Kia Sorento looks and feels more luxurious than its price suggests, making it a good midsize SUV for value seekers. If cargo space isn’t a top priority, this 2018 Best 3-Row SUV for the Money award winner should be near the top of your test-drive list.

There are plenty of reasons to buy a 2018 Sorento:

  • Above-average predicted reliability rating
  • Comfortable, supportive seats
  • Roomy first- and second-row seats
  • Intuitive infotainment system and controls
  • Elegant cabin
  • Cushioned ride
  • Good fuel economy with either four-cylinder engine

However, there are a couple of drawbacks:

  • Cramped third row
  • Subpar cargo space for the class
Why You Can Trust Us

Our Kia Sorento review includes far more than just one person's opinion. We collected professional evaluations from 27 sources and combined them with concrete data like fuel economy estimates, safety features, and performance specs to help you make an informed buying decision.

The U.S. News Best Cars team has been ranking cars, trucks, and SUVs since 2007, and our staff has more than a combined 75 years of automotive industry experience. To ensure our impartiality, we never accept expensive gifts or trips from car companies, and an outside team handles the advertising on our site.

How Much Is the 2018 Kia Sorento?

Based on listings for the 2018 Kia Sorento on our site, the average price is $22,100, which is low for the class. Prices range from $18,200 to $31,800 and vary depending on the vehicle’s condition, mileage, features, and location.

See the Best Used Car Deals »

How Much Does the 2018 Kia Sorento Cost to Own?

The 2018 Sorento’s five-year costs for gas, insurance, repairs, and maintenance are projected to be $24,870, or $4,974 per year. That’s about average for a midsize SUV.

Is It Better to Buy a Used or New Sorento?

The 2018 and 2019 Kia Sorentos differ significantly, and the biggest change has to do with seating. The 2018 model came standard with two rows, while the third row was optional. For 2019, all Sorentos come with three rows.

That’s not the only significant difference though. With a starting price of $26,290, you’ll certainly pay more for a 2019, but it comes standard with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto (options for 2018) and refreshed styling. The 2019 model is also available with front parking sensors, lane keep assist, and driver drowsiness monitoring. None of these were available for 2018.

Read about the new Kia Sorento »

Kia redesigned the Sorento for 2016 and made slight adjustments to the SUV for 2017 and 2018. The most notable changes came for 2017; Kia added available Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, adaptive headlights, and automatic emergency braking. All three of these models come standard with two rows of seats; a third row was available. Each of these came with a choice of three engines.

Compare the 2016, 2017, and 2018 Sorento »

See the Best New Car Deals »

See the Best New Car Lease Deals »

How Reliable Is the 2018 Kia Sorento?

The Kia Sorento has an above-average predicted reliability rating of four out of five from J.D. Power.

Read more about Sorento reliability »

2018 Kia Sorento Recalls

As of this writing, there are two safety recalls for the 2018 Kia Sorento:

  • Steering column may separate
  • Inflator component may detach from air bag during deployment

Before buying any used vehicle, make sure all recalls have been addressed.

See more information on Kia Sorento safety recalls »

Which Used Kia Sorento Trim Is Right for Me?

Five trims are available: L, LX, EX, SX, and SX Limited. Every trim comes standard with front-wheel drive; all-wheel drive is available. A naturally aspirated four-cylinder engine and a six-speed automatic transmission come standard; available engine upgrades include a turbocharged four-cylinder and a V6. Some trims are available with a third-row that expands the standard seating capacity from five to seven.

For those who don’t want to fuss with advanced technology, the base Kia Sorento L is a good choice. Its media interface offers simple conveniences like the ability to play music through Bluetooth. However, this trim isn’t available with any additional packages or options, so you’ll need to check out other trims to get the V6 engine, all-wheel drive, and several other features.

We recommend starting with the midlevel Kia Sorento EX trim, which offers an appealing blend of useful technology, safety, and comfort features. The Sorento EX trim also features some classy cabin touches – like genuine leather upholstery – that you don’t get in lower trims.

  • Kia Sorento L: The Sorento LE comes with cloth upholstery, folding second-row seats with a 40/20/40 split, six speakers, satellite radio, a USB port, Bluetooth, and a rearview camera. This trim has a standard four-cylinder engine and front-wheel drive. No other powertrains or drivetrains are available.
  • Kia Sorento LX: The Sorento LX comes with either the base four-cylinder engine or a V6, and it’s available with all-wheel drive. This trim comes with dual rapid-charge USB ports, and V6 models get automatic folding second-row seats and a folding third-row seat with a 50/50 split.
  • Kia Sorento EX: The Kia Sorento EX adds some stylish touches and high-tech equipment to the standard features list. It comes with leather upholstery, a power-adjustable driver's seat, heated front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, push-button start, proximity key entry, a hands-free power liftgate, a 7-inch infotainment display, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, rear parking sensors, rear cross traffic alert, blind spot detection, and fog lights.
  • Kia Sorento SX: The Sorento SX comes with a V6 engine, as well as an 8-inch infotainment display, a 10-speaker Infinity surround-sound audio system, a panoramic sunroof with power sunshade, a 10-way power-adjustable driver's seat, and rain-sensing windshield wipers.
  • Kia Sorento SX Limited: The range-topping Sorento SX Limited features a V6 engine, Nappa leather upholstery, ventilated front seats, heated first- and second-row seats, a heated steering wheel, a surround-view parking camera, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, forward collision warning, autonomous emergency braking, and cornering headlights.

See 2018 Kia Sorento trims and specs »

What Does Kia's Certified Pre-Owned Warranty Cover?

Kia offers a certified pre-owned program for vehicles five years old or less and with fewer than 60,000 miles. Eligibility is determined by the vehicle’s initial sale date. Kia’s certified pre-owned vehicles receive the balance of the original 10-year/100,000-mile new-car powertrain warranty, plus a one-year/12,000-mile comprehensive Platinum warranty on non-powertrain parts after the five-year/60,000-mile new-car warranty expires. Every CPO Kia must pass a 164-point inspection. Additional benefits like towing and roadside assistance may be available, so read the Kia warranty page carefully.

According to our analysis, Kia has one of the best CPO programs among affordable car manufacturers.

See the best CPO programs »

Read more about the Kia certified pre-owned program »

How Safe Is the Sorento?

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety named the Kia Sorento a 2018 Top Safety Pick and gave it the highest rating of Good in five out of five crash tests. Properly equipped models earned a top-notch rating of Superior for front crash prevention. Certain V6-equipped Sorentos received the second-highest rating of Acceptable for how well the headlights illuminate the road ahead, while most other models received the lowest rating of Poor.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the 2018 Sorento an overall rating of five out of five stars, as well as five stars in frontal and side crash tests. It received four stars in the rollover test.

Standard advanced safety features:

  • rearview camera

Available advanced safety features:

  • surround-view parking camera
  • rear parking sensors
  • rear cross traffic alert
  • blind spot monitoring
  • rain-sensing windshield wipers
  • adaptive cruise control
  • lane departure warning
  • forward collision warning
  • autonomous emergency braking
  • adaptive headlights

See Sorento safety scores »

2018 Kia Sorento Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: 2018 Kia Sorento or 2018 Honda Pilot?

The 2018 Honda Pilot is the better midsize SUV for large families. It’s one of the few vehicles in the class that has enough third-row space for adults to sit comfortably. The Pilot can seat one more person than the Sorento, and it has more storage room than most rivals. Still, the Sorento is a better SUV overall. It has a nicer interior, many more available safety features, and intuitive cabin controls.

Which Is Better: 2018 Kia Sorento or Hyundai Santa Fe?

The 2018 Hyundai Santa Fe and Kia Sorento are produced by Hyundai Motor Group. They share many attributes, including three engine choices, two- and three-row seating configurations, limited cargo space, and a similar standard features list. With the Sorento, you get a more upscale interior, but the Hyundai has a better predicted reliability rating.

Compare the Sorento, Pilot, and Santa Fe »

2018 Sorento Performance

How Does the 2018 Kia Sorento Drive?

The 2018 Kia Sorento’s base engine offers the best combination of fuel efficiency and power. It generates sufficient oomph for highway driving, and it returns some of the highest gas mileage estimates in the class. The available turbocharged four-cylinder engine is a bit peppier than the base engine when pulling away from a stop. The available V6 has plenty of power and runs smoothly at higher speeds.

All three engines in the lineup are mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. This gearbox sometimes shifts too soon when accelerating on the highway, or it hesitates to downshift when more power is needed.

On the road, the Sorento has decent steering, but it’s far from agile. The V6-powered models, in particular, exhibit body roll in turns. Conversely, models with the turbocharged engine are a bit easier to maneuver. Overall, the Sorento’s cushioned suspension makes for a comfortable, quiet ride.

  • Base engine: 185-horsepower 2.4-liter four-cylinder
  • Available engines:
    • 240-horsepower turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder
    • 290-horsepower 3.3-liter V6
  • Drivetrain: standard front-wheel drive; available all-wheel drive
  • Transmission: six-speed automatic
2018 Kia Sorento Towing Capacity

Front-wheel-drive Sorento models can tow up to 2,000 pounds, when properly equipped. All-wheel-drive models have a maximum towing capacity of 3,500 pounds.

Does the 2018 Kia Sorento Get Good Gas Mileage?

With its base engine, the 2018 Kia Sorento gets great fuel economy estimates for the class. 

  • Four-cylinder, FWD: 21/28 mpg city/highway
  • Turbo four-cylinder, FWD: 20/27 mpg
  • Turbo four-cylinder, AWD: 19/25 mpg
  • V6, FWD: 18/25 mpg
  • V6, AWD: 17/23 mpg

Read more about Sorento performance »

2018 Sorento Interior

How Many People Does the 2018 Sorento Seat?

The Sorento seats five people in two rows of seats, or it can fit seven with the available third row. The seats are comfortable and supportive up front, and the second row has a good amount of space for adults. However, the available third row is cramped and difficult to get in and out of. This is a common problem with most three-row SUVs in the midsize SUV class.

This Kia feels surprisingly upscale for an SUV at this price point. The stylish cabin is furnished with top-notch materials and soft-touch plastics, even in the base model.

Standard seating features:

  • cloth seats
  • split-folding second row

Available seating features:

  • third row of seats
  • leather upholstery
  • power-adjustable driver’s seat
  • heated steering wheel
  • eight-way power-adjustable passenger seat
  • heated and ventilated front seats
  • heated second-row seats
How Many Child Car Seats Fit in the 2018 Kia Sorento?

The Sorento has two complete sets of LATCH child-seat connectors in its second-row outboard seats. The middle seat has an upper tether anchor. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave this LATCH system the second-highest rating of Acceptable for ease of use.

2018 Kia Sorento Features

The Kia Sorento’s in-cabin features are easy to operate, whether you’re using the dash-mounted buttons or the available touch screen. The UVO infotainment system has user-friendly menus and a sharp display. 

  • Standard infotainment features: six speakers, satellite radio, a USB port, and Bluetooth
  • Available infotainment features: a 7- or 8-inch infotainment display, navigation, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, dual rapid-charge USB ports, and a 10-speaker Infinity surround-sound audio system
  • Other available features: dual-zone automatic climate control, a panoramic sunroof with power sunshade, push-button start, and proximity key entry

See 2018 Kia Sorento specs »

Read more about Sorento interior »

2018 Kia Sorento Dimensions

Kia Sorento Cargo Space

Compared to most midsize SUVs, the Sorento has a paltry amount of cargo space: 11.3 cubic feet behind the third row, 38.8 cubic feet behind the second row, and 73.5 cubic feet behind the third row. A hands-free power liftgate is available. 

These cargo dimensions are for comparative purposes. There is no substitute for visually examining the storage area in any car you’re considering.

2018 Kia Sorento Length and Weight
  • Length: 15 feet, 6 inches
  • Curb weight: 3,704 to 4,303 pounds
  • Gross vehicle weight: 5,026 to 5,490 pounds

Where Was the 2018 Kia Sorento Built?

Kia manufactured the Sorento in Georgia.

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