Per Sahara Force India's team boss: "It was a close call."
The Silverstone based team had weighed up reuniting with German Sutil, its long-time German driver, or promote the Ferrari-linked 2012 reserve Jules Bianchi.
"It was a close call, but ultimately we felt that Adrian's experience and historic links to the team gave him the edge," said team boss Vijay Mallya.
Sutil, 30, drove for the team between 2007 and 2011, sitting out last season in the wake of the Eric Lux assault affair.
Mallya added: "As for Jules Bianchi, he has impressed us enormously with his speed and work ethic, and I'm hopeful we can continue working with him this year to help him develop into a future Grand Prix driver."