I was recently granted the opportunity to review a new SUV. When I accepted the opportunity, I was a little nervous - I was worried that whatever they sent me I would fall in love with, and really struggle when it came time to give it back.
Well, in short, I did fall in love, but I managed to stay professional and didn’t end up on the news in a high speed chase when it came time to turn the car back in! So, what’s the latest object of my affection? The 2013 Kia Sorento.
Now, before we get to the nitty-gritty, I want to warn you. I am not a “gear-head” by any stretch of the imagination. My first and only experience with changing my own oil resulted in missing curfew (I was in high school) and a complete flushing of my transmission fluid line… It’s a long story, I assure you.
Anyway, I don’t understand the mechanics of a car, I just know what I like and I know what I trust for my family. I can safely say the Kia Sorento is one of those cars. I’m going to break it down to three categories that were imporant to me, in no particular order: Space, Safety, Fun Features.
I only have one child, B, but one little child comes with A LOT of accessories. I can only imagine how much “stuff” would come with multiple children. B’s convertible car seat takes up a good chunk of our backseat as it is, so it was refreshing to see all the extra space in the Sorento.
Using only the middle row, not the third row, I popped in an infant seat next to B’s convertible seat just for kicks. I have B’s carseat in the middle currently, but I had no problem placing an infant seat on either side and having them fit just fine. Also since B’s carseat is currently rear-facing, once he becomes forward-facing, the space will free up even more.
I would see no reason why the Sorento wouldn’t work for families with multiple children. Once your littles are car-seat free the third row becomes the “cool place” to be (based on my own flashbacks of childhood and sitting in the “way back”). The middle row has it’s own vents which help with circulating air/heat to rear-facing seats, but the third row has it’s own vents AND controls for heat and air. A nice plus when sitting in the “way back” where it can get stuffy quickly.
One of the other great features of the Sorento is that the third row seat folds down when not in use, making hauling said kid-stuff super easy. With the third row seat down I was able to fit B’s stroller WITH extra room for groceries. When I took the stroller out, we were able to comfortably haul both dogs (about50 lbs and 75 lbs respectively) with our family of three to my dad’s for football Sunday.
When it comes to space, I would say the Kia Sorento is a great investment.
For this section, I’m taking tips from the experts as to the safety features of this vehicle. I *thankfully* didn’t test many of these, but I will place my notes on the ones that I did. This list is coming direct from Edmunds:
- 4-wheel ABS
- Front and rear head airbags
- Dual front side-mounted airbags
- Child seat anchors: This was middle row only, but I would think it would be pretty cumbersome to get a child in and out of a carseat in the 3rd row
- Remote anti-theft alarm system
- Emergency braking assist
- Ventilated front disc / solid rear disc brakes
- Rear door child safety locks
- Engine immobilizer
- 2 front headrests: Also makes for comfortable driving!
- 3 rear headrests
- Passenger airbag occupant sensing deactivation: There’s a light that goes on and off when it senses someone is in the passenger seat.
- Rear center 3-point belt
- Front seatbelt pretensioners
- Turn signal mirrors
- Stability control: This is great when driving high-profile/taller vehicles where it’s windy. We used to have a large SUV and they can be great in in-climate weather, but the stability and traction control help to make you feel safe when it’s windy or less than ideal driving conditions.
- Traction control: see above
- Electronic brakeforce distribution
- Front height adjustable headrests: Um, another headrest “feature”?
- Rear height adjustable headrests
- Passenger head restraint whiplash protection system: I don’t *think* I tested this!
- Driver head restraint whiplash protection system
- Tire pressure monitoring: I LOVE this feature, with the weather in AZ going from extreme hot to cooler the tire pressure can change pretty dramatically as well. Having properly inflated tires helps with safety as well as gas milaege.
The model I tested (EX with the Premium Package) also had a rear camera with parking assist. When you put the car in reverse, the camera shows up in the dashboard with a view of what’s behind you. It will also beep if there is something close behind. It doesn’t take the place of physically turning your head and looking behind you, but its a nice helpful feature.
The Kia Sorento also had Bluetooth technology so my phone could sync with the car and make for hands-free talking. A nice feature, but also belongs in the “safety” category I think.
Fun Bells and Whistles
I think alot of the “fun featuers” were due to the fact that I had the EX model with the Premium Package. I already mentioned the rear camera and bluetooh, but some of my other favorites were the satellite radio with a TON of stations, USB, iPod connectors right in the dash so you can listen to your music through the car speakers AND charge your phone or iPod simultaneously. There were two buttons on the door that allowed the car to store personal settings for the drivers seat.
Everything was power controlled so once you set the seat where you wanted it, it would store that information and reset it to your specifications after someone else drove the car. There was a moon roof above the driver and passenger seat, but there was also a window at the top of the car. I think it’s called a panoramic something or other, either way, B really liked being able to look out of the top of the car while we were driving. He especially liked seeing the garage door open. Silly kid. The window didn’t open like a sun roof or moon roof, but it was something fun to look out.
For the car enthusiasts, the Kia Sorento has v6 engine so it had no problem picking up speed on the highway. Also, since I was sitting up higher, it was super easy to see all around and was pretty fun to drive.
The gas mileage was no slouch either. When I received the car it had a full tank of gas an an estimated 400+miles before needing to refuel. I drove quite a bit and by the time the week was over, there was still about a quarter of a tank of gas left. I think the actual miles per gallon I had was about 21mpg. Not too shabby for a mid-size SUV in my opinion.
Overall, to say I loved this car would be an understatement. I loved it so much I even looked at trading in our current car for the 2012 model. This is a great car, a great value and something I would love to drive for more than a week!