A sleek and imposing design that will help it stand out in a crowd, the seven-seat Sorento is certainly up to any challenge no matter how tough. The equipment level is excellent, along with a great safety package and a drive that will definitely not leave you wanting. The arrival of two sportier trim levels and a fabulous eight-speed automatic gearbox adds to the all-round appeal.
The goodPremium quality, well equipped and exceptionally practical
The badCompeting in a fierce market
Kia Sorento (2018) – first drive
Kia’s versatile flagship model, the Sorento, has developed a sporty edge thanks to the introduction of two new trim levels called GT-Line and GT-Line S which are priced from £36,495 and £41,995 respectively.
The Korean company has also developed a super slick new eight-speed automatic transmission which is fitted to the new arrivals and it improves fuel economy and cuts carbon emission levels compared to the outgoing six-speed gearbox.
And for anyone who finds the two new grades a little pricey, the Sorento line-up still starts at a very reasonable £28,995 with customers still able to purchase KX-1, KX-2 and KX-3 versions with a six-speed manual gearbox.
All Sorento versions offer seven-seat versatility and are powered by a 2.2-litre 197bhp turbo-diesel engine that is able to drive all four wheels through an intelligent four-wheel drive system.
The new GT-Line and GT-Line S grades feature 19-inch wheels, stainless steel side steps, ice cube-style front fog lights, red brake calipers and twin exhausts. While the GT Line has projection headlights, the GT-Line S has LED headlights with a dynamic bending function.
The interior of the new arrivals features black leather seats with light grey stitching, a perforated leather steering wheel and a bespoke GT-Line design leather gear-shifter. They also have a seven-inch TFT display (along with the KX-3) which adds a more premium appearance to the dashboard and allows the information on display to be personalised according to taste and requirements.
The KX-1, KX-2 and KX-3 versions come fitted the same generous levels of equipment as before with the addition of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
We put the range-topping, fully-loaded GT-Line S model with the new eight-speed gearbox to the test and it passed with flying colours. This car carried a price-tag of £41,995 and, as is the norm with Kia, there were no hidden extras to bump up the cost.
The GT-Line S certainly looks the business with its larger wheels, panoramic sunroof and those striking ice cube design fog lights. The interior also has an upmarket, premium feel to it with a wealth of on-board technology at your fingertips.
The seats are power adjustable (10-way driver, 8-way passenger) so it’s easy to find a comfortable driving position and there is plenty of steering wheel adjustment too. The driver is treated to excellent all-round visibility thanks to the elevated seating position and there is ample room for five occupants to travel in style. Then when needs must, two additional seats that are folded flat to the boot floor can quickly be lifted into position making the Sorento a very capable seven-seater.
After just a few minutes driving the Sorento, it’s easy to see why the car is billed as the company’s flagship model. It oozes class, premium technology and great handling capabilities. Our car could sprint from 0-60mph in 9.1 seconds, topped out at 127mph and, according to official figures, delivered combined fuel economy of 43.5mpg with carbon emissions of 170g/km.
The acceleration through the auto gearbox is beautifully smooth and responsive with the option of steering wheel-mounted paddle shifts if you fancy taking a little more control. There are driving modes to select from called Comfort, Eco, Sport and Smart and these modify the transmission shift pattern and can also make the car sportier and firmer in its handling.
The 2.2-litre diesel engine delivers all the power necessary and the Sorento is happy cruising effortlessly at 70mph on motorways and then out on the fast country lanes it has plenty of zip to overtake at short notice. The road-holding is confident and assured meaning tight bends can be attacked with ease and there is little sign of body sway.
Kia has worked hard on refinement in a bid to cut noise pollution within the cabin and it has worked really well. Even at higher speeds there is little engine or road surface sounds to be heard. Due to the car’s upright design and large door mirrors you can expect to hear a little wind noise when driven at pace, but this is usual for this type of vehicle.
If you want a hint at how premium the GT-Line S model is, then it features the likes of a 10-speaker harmon kardon sound system, smart park assist system, an eight-inch touchscreen with sat nav, wireless mobile phone charging, Bluetooth with music streaming, heated seats front and rear, a heated steering wheel, a powered tailgate and a whole lot more besides.
The Sorento is also a practical vehicle offering a boot capacity that ranges from 660 litres to a whopping 1,732 litres with the split-folding rear seats dropped flat. Elsewhere, there is a lockable glovebox, a central bin, cup holders and generously sized door pockets.
The car is also packed with a raft of safety specifications which resulted in a maximum five stars when it was tested for its Euro NCAP rating. Depending on trim level, safety features include the likes of advanced smart cruise control, blind spot detection, rear cross traffic alert, lane departure warning, around view monitoring, driver alert warning and speed limit information function.
All models get trailer stability assist to make towing safer and, of course, come with Kia’s superb seven-year/100,000-mile warranty.
Kia Sorento – first drive (2015)
Kia is a brand that is going places and the launch of the third generation flagship Sorento model sees the company doing its reputation no harm whatsoever.
For the stylish sports utility vehicle, with bags of premium technology as standard, has really upped the ante in the segment and staying true to the Kia ethos there are no hidden extras to come back and haunt you later down the line.
The first Sorento made its debut in 2002 and the latest version is packed to bursting with techno treats and creature comforts to be explored.
Buyers have a choice of four richly-equipped trims – KX-1, KX-2, KX-3 and KX-4.
However to simplify matters there is just one engine on offer which is the highly efficient 2.2-litre 197bhp turbodiesel powertrain and this is mated to either a six-speed manual or automatic gearbox.
All Sorento models come with all-wheel-drive and are fitted with seven seats. The duo of rear seats fold neatly away into the boot floor and can be raised or lowered in a matter of seconds by pulling on a chord.
And it’s worth noting that unlike some other seven-seat models the seats on the Sorento are actually quite practical and comfortable with a fair amount of legroom, individual storage sections and their own climate control.
The Sorento, which is priced from £28,795 to £40,995, looks attractive from any approach with plenty of stand-out design features – most notably the distinctive 3D honeycomb-effect front grille.
Elsewhere the car is longer, lower and wider than its predecessor which helps to accentuate its athletic stance.
The interior has a really premium feel to it and the new design dimensions result in additional space for occupants to stretch out along with extra storage room.
All models are feature-rich. For example, the entry-level KX-1 is kitted out with the likes of alloy wheels, a rear spoiler, LED daytime running lights, cruise control, tinted windows, a six-speaker sound system with DAB radio, CD player plus USB and MP3 compatibility, roof rails, Bluetooth, reversing sensors and plenty more besides.
Step up to KX-2 and you will see the addition of dual automatic air conditioning, automatic wipers and lights, heated front and outer rear seats, extra chrome trim, a seven-inch touchscreen with sat nav, a reversing camera and optional self-levelling suspension.
KX-3 models introduce a panoramic sunroof, xenon headlights, a larger eight-inch touchscreen, eight-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, adaptive front lighting, alloy pedals and lots more.
And finally, the range-topping KX-4 gets a 10-way power-adjustable driver’s seat (eight-way adjustable for the passenger), ventilated front seats, adaptive smart cruise control and a number of advanced safety features.
With an eye on economy and efficiency all models feature Kia’s Stop & Go technology. So according to official figures, manual models can now achieve 49.5mpg on a combined run with carbon emissions of 149g/km while auto models offer 43.4mpg and CO2 of 172g/km. The 0-62mph sprint time is a creditable 9.0 seconds (9.6 on autos) and all models having a top speed of 124mph.
We tested out a couple of models on grueling, winding hill climbs and on faster-moving country lanes and highways around Malaga and Marbella and the car certainly lived up to all the hype.
The first test car was the KX-3 model with six-speed manual gearbox priced at £35,845.
Bearing in mind the Sorento is a fairly large family car I was surprised at how comfortable and beautifully smooth the ride was. Added to that there was next-to-no engine, road surface or wind noise even when driven quite hard.
Acceleration through the gears is both smooth and responsive and there is a constant supply of power on tap when required.
The road-holding is sure-footed and flawless and that means tight bends can be attacked with confidence and then out on the faster roads the Sorento easily kept pace with fast-moving traffic.
There is a choice of three driving modes – Eco, Sport and Normal – which adjust the vehicle’s throttle response and in Sport offers a slightly edgier performance with sharper acceleration.
Next up was the top-of-the-range KX-4 model with a six-speed automatic transmission. Once again the test car was very capable and tackled steep climbs with ease and it also proved a delight on winding roads where the high-driving position with its excellent visibility is an added bonus.
I have to say that for me, this is the perfect Sorento model with the additional luxury and the ease of the ultra-smooth and nicely grouped gear shifts.
It coped with everything asked of it with absolute ease. And despite its size it proved agile and very easy to manoeuvre. That said; you will have to find a relatively large parking space for the 4,780mm-long car.
Safety is obviously a vital factor when choosing the ultimate family car and the new Sorento has been awarded the maximum five stars in the Euro NACP safety ratings. Depending on the model there are a number of features on offer for the first time to Kia customers, such as adaptive smart cruise control, rear cross traffic alert, lane departure warning with blind spot alert, high beam assist and around view monitoring.
All in all, the latest generation Sorento is certainly a go-anywhere model that offers all the flexibility of a quality SUV but in addition it boasts a comprehensive assortment of top notch technology, elegant surroundings, good comfort levels and a price-tag that is also competitive.
Kia Sorento 2.2 CRDi KX-2 Sat Nav AWD
Family numbers are growing and with the abundance of outdoor activities at our disposal, versatility is vital when choosing a vehicle to suit all needs.
Sports utility vehicles hold the key with plenty of seating flexibility combined with great technology and driving dynamics.
But as with all segments, some models stand out and others simply don’t.
Thankfully, the beautifully-crafted Kia Sorento falls into the former category and offers excellent all-round appeal.
For everyday use, it’s a stylish and very practical five-seater, but should the need arise, it quickly and, most importantly, easily converts into a seven-seater ready to transport that five-a-side team to the next fixture.
But the Sorento is certainly not just a people mover as it oozes style and the KX-2 Sat-Nav model supplied for the test drive was packed to the rafters with techno treats.
It was priced at just a fiver shy of £30k, but all fixtures and fittings were included as standard, which is a major bonus these days with many manufacturers charging thousands for the additional features.
Eye-catching features include LED daytime running lights, 17-inch alloys, Kia’s “tiger nose” grille, electrically-folding, adjustable and heated door mirrors, roof rails, privacy glass, chrome door handles and much more besides.
And once you take your seat behind the leather multi-function steering wheel, it’s hard not to be impressed with the quality and technical specifications that surround you.
The Sorento has seen a number of styling modifications and this has resulted in extra space for passengers – 30mm of additional leg room in the middle row and 9mm of extra space in the third row to be precise.
And the vehicle’s comfort levels are very good with a welcoming cabin environment created by warm ambient lighting and leather upholstery combined with smart wooden inlays.
Creature comforts include a seven-inch touchscreen navigation system, dual-zone air con plus rear seat ventilation, a 10-speaker sound system with radio/CD and compatibility with all modern devices, heated leather seats, cruise control, Bluetooth, reversing sensors and camera plus plenty more besides.
The Sorento has a 1,530 litres luggage capacity with the third row of seats folded flat. However this is reduced to just 116 litres with all seven seats in an upright position.
Despite its larger-than-life size, the Sorento proved deceptively agile and easy to manoeuvre.
And the driver benefits from excellent all-round visibility thanks to the high seated driving position. This is another vital factor as the vehicle is likely to be used a a number of school runs.
And it’s certainly no slouch either as the 2.2-litre diesel-powered engine helps it keep pace with faster moving motorway traffic as it eases its way through the six-speed manual transmission.
Acceleration is pretty impressive at 0-60mph in 9.4 seconds and the vehicle can deliver a combined fuel efficiency of 47.9mpg according to Kia.
The Sorento boasts a very comprehensive range of safety specifications, such as anti-lock brakes with electronic brakeforce distribution, electronic stability control, vehicle stability management, hill-start assist, a flashing LED emergency stop signal and six airbags.
All in all, the Sorento is a brilliant all-rounder and when you factor in the intelligent all-wheel-drive and Kia’s seven-year or 100,000-mile warranty, the appeal just keeps on increasing.
Kia Sorento 2.2 CRDi KX-2 AWD
Few vehicles have the ability to really impress on all counts – they either fall short on performance, comfort, technology or price, but not the Kia Sorento.
For this chunky sports utility vehicle is packed to bursting with creature comforts, boasts excellent performance credentials, is very reasonably priced and even comes with Kia’s incredible seven-year warranty – that’s double the norm of most manufacturers.
With four-wheel-drive, it can take on any challenge Mother Nature throws in its path, but it still has fabulous comfort and ride levels with leather upholstery and an eye-catching interior design.
First impressions are vital to attract buyers and the Sorento boasts 17-inch alloys, tinted windows, a chrome front grille, roof rails, body-coloured door mirrors and plenty more.
And once you take your seat – heated of course – behind the multi-function leather steering wheel, you cannot fail to be impressed with the amount of tech spec that is on offer.
For example, there is cruise control, air con, electric windows, automatic lights, a six-speaker sound system compatible with all today’s devices, Bluetooth connectivity and lots more.
Admittedly some of the fixtures and fittings are a little bit too plastic in appearance, but that’s about the only drawback I could come up with.
There is ample space for five adults to travel in comfort – seven with the third row of seats utilised. And there’s bags of storage room too with second row split-folding seats and third row seats that can be folded flat to the floor.
So the Sorento has the looks and at £27,295 has plenty of financial appeal, but what about the performance.
Well, despite its size, the Sorento just loves to be driven. The 2.2-litre diesel-powered engine delivers ample oomph which enables this SUV to reach 60mph in just 9.2 seconds.
Visibility is excellent thanks to the high-seated driving position and reversing sensors make parking that little bit easier.
Out on the faster roads, it certainly held its own with motorway traffic and cabin noise was relatively low.
Kia has fitted a comprehensive list of safety features to the Sorento, including six airbags, anti-lock brakes with electronic brake force distribution, electronic stability control, impact sensing auto door unlocking, hill start assist control and much more.
All in all, the Sorento is a great family vehicle that easily matches the credentials of many more established models that cost twice the price and don’t forget that warranty – ouch!
Kia Sorento 2.5 CRDi XS
With jaw-dropping rough and ready good looks, the Kia Sorento has certainly put the brand on the sports utility vehicle map… and in some style too.
Boasting a whole host of sporty features throughout, the Sorento not only looks good it handles superbly well too. And if that wasn’t enough, the price tag is guaranteed to put a smile on your face and that of your bank manager.
From a distance, the Sorento could easily be mistaken for a Mercedes, BMW or even a Lexus thanks to its ready-for-action quality build and once you set foot inside, those features are in evidence at every turn.
But there are a number of softer touches to complement the beefy design and these are only too apparent in the number of user-friendly creature comforts on board the vehicle.
The ergonomics have been carefully thought out so every control, lever or dial is perfectly placed for driver ease and that means less distraction and more concentration on the road ahead.
For example, a centre stack houses many controls such as the dual-zone climate control and audio system with MP3 compatibility.
Comfort levels throughout are excellent with ample space for five adults and the generously-sized luggage compartment and numerous smaller storage areas mean the vehicle can easily accommodate plenty of luggage too.
The high seated driver and passenger positions means all occupants benefit from the light and spacious feel to the cabin and everyone has a good view of what‘s going on around them rather than having their nose pinned up against the headrest of the seat in front!
Heated seats are a real bonus on those colder mornings (which seem to be more frequent lately) and there are plenty of other quality touches throughout.
In and around town, the Sorento was an absolute dream to drive and it proved deceptively agile to manoeuvre for such a large vehicle. Then out on the open road, the 2.5-litre engine burst into life. Admittedly, at times it seemed to take a little while to accelerate from a standing start, but that’s a small price to pay for such a great all-rounder.
Kia has crammed the Sorento with quality safety features such as anti-lock brakes, twin front and full-length curtain airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners plus plenty more.
And despite the test model being slightly older and offering a five year warranty, all new Kia vehicles carry that world-class seven year warranty, which will certainly take some beating.