2018 Kia Sorento SLi Review

2018 Kia Sorento Road Test, Review

2018 kia sorento sli

Kia Australia has an updated version of its much awarded Sorento large SUV available now in dealerships nationwide.

A consistently popular model, Kia is hoping the 2018 upgrade puts the Sorento seven-seat SUV on even more family shopping lists, and after sampling the vehicle this week I am sure that will the case.


Changes to the outside styling of the 2018 Kia Sorento include a new-look grille, updated alloy wheel designs, a new paint colours – Gravity Blue (as seen in the photos), and Kia’s styling team has also given the model updated headlights and tail-lights for the new year.

kia sorento sli interior 2018Interior

The 2018 update brings a new steering wheel design, there is also an updated digital speedo/driver info screen.

The Kia Sorento interior is functional, with an air of elegance and spaciousness. Materials and finishes are of a standard those new to Kia might not expect.

Access to the 3rd row of seats is done by way of sliding and tilting the middle-row seats – access to that third-row is reasonable, but certainly easier for smaller and more nimble humans (particularly children).

There is a cracking 10-speaker audio system in the Sorento SLi that also now includes digital radio.

All models have a clear 8” LCD centre screen, as well as the handy Apple CarPlay/Android Auto functionality.

Perhaps one area where Kia could have extended the upgrade is the dashboard design, compared to some competitors it could probably be described as looking a little dated.


The Kia Sorento SLi is one model down from the top-spec GT-Line (which replaces the previous ‘Platinum’ designation) and comes stacked full of features.

There’s the already mentioned Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, and the 10-speaker stereo. You can also add to the list:

  • 18” alloy wheels
  • Reverse camera
  • Keyless entry and start
  • Front and rear parking sensors
  • Autonomous Emergency Braking
  • Electric driver’s seat
  • Sat-nav
  • Lane Keep Assist/Lane Departure Warning
  • Adaptive Cruise Control
  • Electric tailgate
  • Leather seats (partial)

Speaking of that electric tailgate, the Kia system has a party trick. For those with tighter garages, you can move the door to whatever level you like, then by pressing and holding the button, programme that position as the upper limit.

Drive and Engine

The Kia Sorento range for 2018 continues to offer a choice of a petrol or a diesel engine.

The petrol, a 3.5 litre V6, picks up an additional 7kW/18Nm for a new 206kW/336Nm output.

While the diesel, a 2.2 litre unit, continues to produce 147kW/441Nm, but sees a 0.6 litre per 100-kilometre fuel economy improvement.

You can put that better economy down to a new eight-speed auto transmission.

The SLi grade comes as standard with the V6, and there’s a $3,500 premium for the diesel.

The drive, particularly in the diesel model is sensational.

Rather than brute force, the diesel delivers a linear acceleration and the experience is, in a word, “regal”.

That’s a word you might not expect to be used, particularly in a Kia review, but that is the way it feels.

Steering uses a rack-mounted electric system which gives tuners a chance to inject excellent calibration and feel.

While road feel with all electric steering is simulated, Kia has made sure there is plenty of feedback to the driver.

Opting for a diesel Sorento will also give you all-wheel drive with a lock mode if more grip in required.

But, to be frank, for most conditions, the front-wheel drive V6 would also be more than adequate.

2018 kia sorento sliSafety

The Kia Sorento SLi comes with a good array of standard safety gear and driver assist tech, headlined by the new inclusion of Autonomous Emergency Braking.

All models in the 2018 line-up boast a full five-star ANCAP safety rating.

Good Bits

  • General comfort
  • Build quality
  • Apple CarPlay/Android Auto

Not So Good Bits

  • Limited off-road ability
  • Best gadgets limited to top model
  • Slightly old-fashioned dash


I enjoyed Sorento because, although it is a very big vehicle, it doesn’t feel it. The auto lights and wipers work well, and there are a bunch of included features that make it worthwhile.

It is lovely on the highway, where I feel it is most at home.

Although the 3rd row of seats takes up space in the boot, most of the time you won’t notice it. It is a shame you can option it out, as the savings in both money and space would be appreciated.

It’s rare that a car does nothing wrong, but the 2018 Kia Sorento is one such vehicle.

Facts and Figures: 2018 Kia Sorento SLi

  • Engines: 3.5 litre V6 petrol producing 206kW/336Nm or 2.2 litre turbo-diesel producing 147kW/441Nm
  • Transmission: Eight-speed auto
  • Safety: Five stars
  • Warranty: Seven years
  • Origin: South Korea
  • Price: from $42,990, SLi petrol from $46,990, SLi diesel from $50,490
2018 Kia Sorento SLi
  • Overall Rating

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