$25,900 - $46,300

2018 Kia Sorento Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2018 Kia Sorento was new.


Performance: 7.9

Depending on the configuration, the 2018 Kia Sorento comes as a comfortable, fuel-efficient daily driver, an energetic 2-row SUV, or a muscular V6-powered midsize SUV. Though its demeanor may vary, all Sorentos deliver a quiet, relaxing ride.

  • "We expected to rank the V6 model above its 2.0T counterpart in drivability, but the handling deficit makes it a tie. If you care about power, the V6 is an easy choice, but it doesn't feel as light on its feet. The six-speed automatic is supple." -- Edmunds
  • "Whether you're choosing a base model with the 2.4-liter 4-cylinder, a 5-passenger EX with the 2.0-liter turbo, or one of the higher-end models with the V6, you'll likely be more than satisfied with the way the Kia Sorento drives." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • The 3.3L V6 does an admirable job of keeping the Sorento on the pace, but this is a car that is far more composed on a highway cruise than it is on back roads. The Sorento's six-speed automatic doesn't appreciate being rushed, nor is it particularly eager to drop gears when called upon to do so. For this reason, the Sorento can be somewhat frustrating to drive briskly on a back road, where the transmission finds the highest gear possible almost immediately and then takes its sweet time kicking down for more oomph." -- Left Lane News (2017)

Acceleration and Power

The Sorento's standard four-cylinder engine – a 185-horsepower 2.4-liter – delivers a nice amount of power and excellent fuel economy, making it a good choice for a daily driver. Its gas mileage rating of 21 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway is one of the highest in its class. The EX trim comes standard with a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder that offers extra pep and helps the Sorento feel sprightly. As a bonus, this 240-horsepower engine also has an above-average fuel economy rating, getting 20 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway.

Kia also offers a 290-horsepower V6 engine for the Sorento. This engine is best suited for highway driving; it isn't very brisk off the line, but it's quite smooth at higher speeds. It also has the highest tow rating of the three Sorento engines, boosting this SUV's towing capacity from 2,000 pounds (the base model's rating) to 5,000 pounds. The V6 gets an EPA-estimated 18/25 mpg. All engines come with a refined six-speed automatic transmission.

  • "Not surprisingly, the turbo and V6 feel strongest, but the 2.4 is adequate and offers better fuel economy, making the most of the 6-speed automatic transmission all the engines use." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • The V6 adds a sense of urgency that's missing from the 2.0T, but you give up some athleticism." -- Edmunds
  • Under the hood, the turbocharged 4-cylinder is our favorite for its generous low-end torque and solid fuel economy, but you can't get it with the third-row seat, which limits its appeal. The V6 certainly has plenty of power, but its fuel economy suffers significantly." -- Autotrader (2017)

Handling and Braking

The Sorento is incredibly comfortable and quiet, due in large part to its polished handling. Other elements, such as steering and brakes, are adequate but not particularly noteworthy. Road manners vary depending on the engine, however. You'll get a more athletic, playful feel with the turbocharged four-cylinder, while the V6 adds body lean and imparts a bulky quality. The Sorento comes standard with front-wheel drive, and you can upgrade almost every trim to all-wheel drive.

  • "The Sorento has one of the most refined rides of any non-luxury-brand crossover. Impacts are well-cushioned yet ride motions remain disciplined. This Kia glides serenely over patchy pavement, giving it a distinctly premium feel." -- Edmunds
  • "The steering, suspension, handling and ride are all what we expect from the class; it doesn't lead the pack, but neither does it call attention to itself for the wrong reasons. The Kia Sorento uses an all-wheel-drive (AWD) system with Torque Vectoring Cornering Control, designed to enhance traction and cornering stability by sending power and torque to where they're most needed, not just in bad weather, but for better cornering on dry roads, too." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "On the road, the Sorento's accurate steering system (with three levels of adjustable effort) inspires confidence, and ambient noise levels are generally quite low. The ride is smooth and supple on most surfaces." -- Autotrader (2017)

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