$19,595 - $34,176

2018 Kia Sorento Interior Review

Scorecard

Interior: 8.3

Inside, the 2018 Kia Sorento not only features a solid build quality but also plenty of premium materials. The result is an ambiance that's more upscale than most similarly priced SUVs. The technology is straightforward and easy to learn, and Kia offers a nice selection of upgraded options. Seating is comfortable in the first two rows, and an available third row expands seating capacity from five to seven. Cargo space, however, is smaller than most other midsize SUVs.

  • "For the past couple years Kia has excelled in offering interior design, materials and assembly that feel far more luxurious than the price tag suggests. That holds true for the 2018 Sorento. Available in 5- and 7-passenger configurations, the Sorento's dash is simple but elegant, with just enough chrome trim to make it feel special." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "There's enough of a premium look and feel that higher trim levels seem properly luxurious. Much the same can be said for the appealing dashboard design, which happily also includes user-friendly controls. Kia's touchscreens are generally among the simpler electronics interfaces around, with big virtual buttons and clear labeling." -- Edmunds (2017)
  • "In our interior evaluation, we were struck by the Sorento's premium character. The materials are almost uniformly nice, with ample soft-touch surfaces, and there's a vibe of cohesiveness and refinement that was absent in earlier models … Throw in the Limited model's Nappa leather upholstery, and you'll get a legitimate alternative to some luxury crossovers we could name. This Kia is that good." -- Autotrader (2017)

Seating

The Sorento comes standard with seating for five people, cloth upholstery, and a 40/20/40 split-folding second row. On uplevel trims, you can carry up to seven people with the available third-row seat (which folds with a 50/50 split). Other seating options include leather upholstery, a 14-way power-adjustable driver's seat, an eight-way power-adjustable passenger seat, heated and ventilated front seats, heated second-row seats, and a heated steering wheel.

The first two rows are well-cushioned, providing enough room for adults to get comfortable. However, the second-row seats are mounted lower than many other SUV seats. The available third-row seat has more legroom than the average 3-row SUV, and while this area is constricted, larger passengers can squeeze back there for short trips. Otherwise, it's best left for kids.

For child safety seats, the second row has three tether anchors and two sets of lower anchors. The tether anchors on the outboard seats can be confused with other hardware, but all other anchors are clearly marked and easy to use.

  • Firm padding in the front seats is a plus on long trips, but the bottom cushions may prove too short for some. The nicely shaped second-row seats slide and recline. The third row's bottom cushion is basically on the floor; comfort is in short supply." -- Edmunds
  • "The Sorento offers solid passenger space in its sliding-and-reclining second-row seats, with plenty of room for 6-footers despite slightly lower seat bottoms than expected in a midsize crossover. The third row is designed for kids; you need to be pretty limber to climb back there, and legroom is limited once you're situated. Still, it's a handy feature, and adults can squeeze back there for short trips if necessary." -- Autotrader (2017)
  • Pleasingly plump, the Sorento's front seats deliver good thigh support and decent bolstering. In the SXL, the driver's seat supplies 14-way power adjustment while the passenger receives 8-way adjustment, and both seats are heated and cooled. Should you seat three people in the second row, shoulder space is tight. Also, while the second-row seat reclines and slides forward and back on tracks, it may still prove cramped for taller people with long legs." -- New York Daily News (2017)

Interior Features

The Sorento's entry-level trim comes with a rearview camera, six speakers, satellite radio, a USB port, and Bluetooth. Available features include a 7- and 8-inch infotainment display, navigation, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, dual rapid-charge USB ports, a 10-speaker Infinity surround-sound audio system, dual-zone automatic climate control, a panoramic sunroof with power sunshade, push-button start, a proximity key, a hands-free power liftgate, rear parking sensors, rear cross traffic alert, blind spot detection, rain-sensing windshield wipers, a surround-view camera, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, forward collision warning, autonomous emergency braking, and Dynamic Bending Light (Kia's name for headlights that adjust to better illuminate corners).

Kia does a nice job laying out redundant buttons and knobs on the center stack, allowing the driver to effortlessly operate the controls, even with the upgraded infotainment system. For these uplevel systems, which come with a 7- or 8-inch display, the UVO interface is easy to use and the graphics are excellent.

See 2018 Kia Sorento specs »

  • "Kia's touchscreen interfaces are some of the easiest to use, though we recommend the 7- or 8-inch Uvo3 units that include Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and a variety of other appealing extras. Advanced safety tech is available on all but the most basic L trim." -- Edmunds
  • "Let's celebrate knobs. Kia supplies them for increasing stereo volume, tuning between radio station, and for adjusting cabin temperature, providing the Sorento's driver with the ideal solution for making such changes without taking his or her eyes off the road. Let's celebrate buttons. Kia supplies them for accessing the main infotainment system menus, selecting climate system functions, and activating the heated and cooled seats and the heated steering wheel. Large and equipped with intuitive markings, these buttons provide clear and quick reference while driving. Let's celebrate switches and stalks, too, the kind that operate exactly as you expect them to. … To say that you'll instantly feel at home in a Sorento is an understatement." -- New York Daily News (2017)
  • "The gauges are crisp and clear, while the optional 8-in touchscreen features great graphics and intuitive operation." -- Autotrader (2017)

Cargo

Cargo room in the Sorento is limited but convenient. There's only 11.3 cubic feet of space behind the available third-row seat (one of the smallest spaces in our best 3-row SUV rankings). Likewise, the Sorento's 38.8-cubic-feet of cargo space behind the second-row seat, and 73 cubic feet overall, are below average. In-cabin storage is better, with numerous cubbies on hand. Kia also offers a smart liftgate that opens automatically when the SUV detects the key behind the vehicle, granting you hands-free access.

  • "The third row folds easily via pull-straps on the seatbacks (not much room behind them). The second row folds via nifty trunk-mounted remote handles. Cargo capacity is ample but still trails that of three-row rivals. Plenty of nooks for personal items." -- Edmunds
  • "While many manufacturers offer a hands-free way of opening the rear hatch, we like Kia's solution. The Smart Liftgate automatically opens if you just stand near it with the key fob in your possession, letting you access it when your hands are full, while still keeping both feet on the ground." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Kia touts the Sorento as a midsize crossover SUV, and it qualifies, but just barely. Feeling narrower and snugger than some direct competitors, the Sorento also has more cramped cargo space. Remember how I mentioned that this seat is positioned close to the rear liftgate? That's reflected in the numbers; with the third-row seat in use, the trunk measures just 11.3 cubic feet. That's tiny by small car standards, let alone a midsize crossover. Fold the third-row seat down and you'll have 38 cubic feet of volume, which is better aligned with the reason you're buying a crossover in the first place. With the second-row seats folded, you'll get 73 cubic feet of narrow but tall space. This number is barely larger than a Honda CR-V or Toyota RAV4, and is smaller than almost every midsize crossover on the market." -- New York Daily News (2017)

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