A sleek and imposing design that will help it stand out in a crowd, the seven-seat Kia 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. Now in its fourth generation, it’s the ideal SUV for any active family. Also available as a plug-in EV.
The goodPremium quality, well equipped and exceptionally practical
The badPrices have crept up to almost £47k for range-topper
Kia Sorento ‘4’ 1.6 PHEV T-GDi Auto AWD (2021)
Kia has given its seven-seat Sorento model added appeal by introducing a plug-in hybrid version to the mix.
The all-new fourth generation Sorento was launched last year to high acclaim and it boasted a fresh new look with a taller, wider design along with a longer wheelbase for extra cabin space. And at the time, the headline-grabbing news was the self-charging hybrid model.
But now, Kia has raised the bar even further with the arrival of a plug-in model and it certainly ticks all the boxes for any motorist who can make full use of the EV-only range.
Like most plug-in models, it is more expensive than the combustion-engined cars, but it can deliver 35 pure electric miles and they will be invaluable to anyone with a short daily commute or who regularly drives through Congestion Charge zones.
And there will be no range anxiety fears either because, when longer journeys are needed, there is the assurance of the 1.6-litre petrol engine for added range.
Our Sorento PHEV, in range-topping ‘4’ trim level was priced at £53,755 and it certainly looked the business with a more mature look than outgoing models. The distinctive ‘tiger nose’ grille is wider, there is privacy glass, a panoramic roof, refreshed bumper designs, new front light clusters and, at the rear, vertical wrap-around tail lights, a spoiler and twin exhaust pipes. The striking 19-inch alloy wheels complete the styling.
Move inside and you greeted by an upmarket, premium cabin with a wealth of technology. There is Nappa leather upholstery, powered seats that can be heated or cooled with memory settings, heated outer rear seats and individual climate control for all three rows.
Creature comforts include a 12-speaker Bose sound system, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto with voice control, a wireless phone charger, a head-up display and a smart 10.25-inch touchscreen with full navigation system.
The 12.3-inch information screen behind the steering wheel is upmarket with sharp graphics and it can be personalised according to taste. Special mention to the clever blind spot monitoring system that displays a high-resolution video feed in the driver’s instrument cluster when they indicate to change lane and this will highlight any vehicles hidden from view.
The test car was powered by the 1.6-litre T-GDi engine mated to a 90bhp electric motor with a 13.8kWh battery. This Sorento, with a combined 261bhp and 350Nm of torque, could reach 60mph from a standing start in 8.4 seconds and topped out at 119mph. According to official figures, it could deliver a combined 176.6mpg with carbon emissions of 38g/km. Clearly, the EV-only range would need to be utilised on a regular basis to see anywhere near these fuel efficiency numbers.
But that low emissions figure will certainly reward drivers with some very attractive savings, including a Benefit in Kind tax rating of 11 per cent for fleet buyers. Private owners will need to carefully weigh up their driving needs before signing on the dotted line though as this PHEV model costs about £4k more than traditionally-powered versions.
When it comes to driving and performance, the Sorento is deceptively agile for its size and the acceleration through the six-speed automatic gearbox is beautifully smooth and responsive, with a constant stream of power on tap.
There are steering wheel-mounted paddles to manually change gear and the driver can also flick through various drive modes called Comfort, Eco, Sport and Smart. The aptly named Smart setting monitors your driving style to deliver the best acceleration, gear changes and braking suited to your driving.
The grip on fast-moving country lanes is confident and there is minimal body movement into sharper bends. It’s a car that effortlessly cruises on motorways yet, for its dimensions that stretch 4.8 metres in length, is agile and easy to manoeuvre in busy town centre settings.
The ride can be a little firm at times so expect to feel the odd bump and dip along the way, but generally the suspension system does a worthy job of smoothing out the road surfaces and the car is well insulated against road surface, wind and engine noise for a nicely refined cabin environment.
On the practicality front, as you would expect, the Sorento is exceptionally spacious, with a pair of third row seats that are easily raised and lowered when required. The boot, which is accessed via a powered tailgate, can swallow 175 litres of kit with all seven seats in use, increasing to 809 litres with five seats upright. These storage limits are only a few litres less than standard models despite housing a battery pack. This is due to the car having a slightly smaller fuel tank.
And there are plenty of practical storage compartments scattered throughout the cabin too, including a really deep central cubby box, cup holders and practical door bins.
When tested for its Euro NCAP safety rating, the new Sorento was awarded the maximum five stars and is fitted with a comprehensive number of features. These include multi-collision brake assist, forward collision avoidance assist, trailer stability assist, lane follow assist, highway driving assist, intelligent speed limit assist, driver attention warning, Isofix fittings in rows two and three, plus a full suite of airbags.
The Sorento is also all-wheel drive offering added grip in mud, snow and sand with a towing limit of 2.5-tonnes.
Charging the vehicle takes three hours, 25 minutes from zero to 100 per cent via a 3kW wallbox or five hours using a standard domestic socket.
All in all, the addition of this plug-in hybrid model to the Sorento line-up is a wise move by Kia and will certainly make very sound financial sense to business drivers, as well as private owners who can make full use of the EV-only driving range.
Kia Sorento 4th Generation – first drive (2020)
The bar in the seven-seater segment has been raised considerably by Kia with the launch of its all-new rather special fourth generation flagship Sorento model.
The five-door SUV is taller, wider and features a longer wheelbase than its predecessor which means extra space inside the cabin. It also has a wealth of new kit and, perhaps the headline grabbing news, the arrival of electrified powertrains.
Buyers can choose from three generously-equipped trim levels called 2, 3 and 4, along with the powertrain options of either a 2.2-litre CRDi Smartstream diesel engine with 199bhp or a 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine with self-charging hybrid technology producing 226bhp.
The petrol/hybrid set-up is offered across the full line-up but the diesel engine is only available on the Sorento 3. Four-wheel drive is fitted as standard on all models as is the snazzy digital cockpit that changes its appearance as you flick through the various drive modes.
In all honesty, the Sorento has always been a class act, but this latest generation model oozes style and elegance with upmarket fixtures and fittings that would be not be frowned upon in any premium SUV model.
The entry-level Sorento 2 is packed to bursting with kit and it’s easy to see why Kia believes this is the model that will account for the most sales in both the retail and fleet sectors. With prices starting from £38,845 it features an eight-inch touchscreen, full smartphone connectivity via Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, a six-speaker sound system and five USB ports to keep everyone happy.
The Sorento 3 and 4 models, costing £41,245 and £46,945 respectively, gain a 10.25 touchscreen navigation system, multi-device Bluetooth connection, wireless phone charger, and the range-topper also gets a 10-speaker Bose audio system, head-up display and panoramic sunroof.
From a design viewpoint, the 2020 Sorento looks more mature than the previous version with elongated proportions and sharper lines. The traditional ‘tiger nose’ grille is wider, there are new light clusters, air intakes and a refreshed bumper design. At the back there are vertical wrap-around tail lamps, a sporty lower rear bumper and twin exhaust pipes.
Moving inside, the interior is pure class with a modern, upmarket and clutter-free layout. There’s the likes of mood lighting, high-end upholstery throughout with either leather or cloth seats, and neatly crafted dash and door trims to give the car a truly premium appearance.
We had the opportunity to test drive three Sorento models – the 2 and 4 powered by the new hybrid system and the 3 with the diesel engine. And all three versions had their own individual appeal.
The Sorento 2 HEV is packed with kit and I actually questioned if it was really just a 2 model – it was that good. The Hybrid technology which mates the 1.6-litre petrol engine with a 44.2kW electric motor and 149kWh lithium-ion battery powers the car to 60mph from a standing start in 8.7 seconds, maxes out at 119mph and it can deliver a combined 40.9mpg with carbon emissions of 158g/km.
It is very smooth and the handling in all settings impressed with good acceleration through the six-speed auto gearbox on country lanes, along with confident grip, ample power to overtake slower vehicles, a balanced ride on fast moving motorways and all the agility necessary for city centre driving – especially if, like me, you ignore so many sat nav instructions!
The diesel powertrain on the Sorento 3 model also proved nicely refined and this car can offer a combined 42.2mpg with emissions of 176g/km. It completes the 0- 60mph sprint in 9.1 seconds and tops out at 127mph. This version has an eight-speed DCT automatic transmission, which was very responsive with beautifully timed gear changes.
Finally, the range-topping Sorento 4 with the petrol HEV system and the six-speed auto gearbox. The performance figures are the same as the Sorento 2 model we tested apart from a slight drop in fuel efficiency and a higher 168g/km emissions output due to larger 19-inch alloy wheels.
But this is the car with the true wow factor. From the moment you settle into the luxurious Nappa leather seats with 10-way power adjustment, the depth of technology at your disposal is outstanding. Everything is so driver orientated and all the systems are simple to operate on the fly. If Kia still needed to put themselves on the map or has any doubters out there, this is the model that will silence them.
The various drive modes include settings called Comfort, Eco, Sport and Smart – the final setting rather cleverly monitors your driving style to deliver the best acceleration, gear changes and braking suited to your driving.
Space levels are excellent, as they have been for the last 18 years of Sorento production, with a pair of third row seats that are easily raised and lowered when needed. The boot can accommodate 187 litres (189 on diesel versions) of kit with all seven seats in use – a limit that increases to a whopping 1,996 litres (2,011 on diesel version) with the second and third rows of seats dropped flat and there are plenty of practical storage compartments scattered throughout the cabin.
Safety systems are thoroughly comprehensive on new Sorento and the car also has an advanced blind spot monitoring system that displays a high-resolution video feed in the driver’s instrument cluster if they indicate to change lane and a vehicle is hidden in the blind spot. Other safety kit includes forward collision avoidance assist, intelligent speed limit assist, trailer stability assist, hill start assist, lane follow assist, downhill brake control, a full suite of airbags and lots more besides.
There is a new Terrain mode for improved all-wheel drive capability with better performance in mud, snow and sand settings and the towing ability on the diesel model has been increased from a 2.0-tonne limit on the outgoing car to 2.5-tonnes.
The Sorento is on sale now and it’s just worth reminding potential customers that, as is the Kia way, the car comes with a seven-year, 100,000-mile warranty.
Kia Sorento 2.2 CRDi GT-Line S Auto AWD (2020)
WITH room for seven people and all the on-board techno treats you could dream of these days, the Kia Sorento is certainly worthy of its flagship status in the Korean car maker’s line-up.
Despite its versatility and clever use of space, the Sorento doesn’t compromise on its classic good looks unlike some rival models that resemble box-like, bulky people movers.
Approach from any angle and the Sorento looks impressive thanks to its eye-catching profile, chequered grille, ‘ice cube’ LED front fog lights, LED daytime running lights, stainless steel side steps, panoramic sunroof, twin exhaust pipes, 19-inch alloy wheels and red brake calipers to complete the styling.
Step inside and the bright, spacious cabin has an upmarket, premium feel to it with black leather upholstery and neat light grey contrast stitching. There are soft touch surfaces and the seats, which are power operated, can be heated or cooled. Passengers in rows two and three also get their own climate control.
Creature comforts are plentiful and include the likes of a 10-speaker harmon kardon sound system, an eight-inch touchscreen with navigation, smartphone connectivity via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, smart park assist, a heated steering wheel, a wireless mobile phone charger, Bluetooth with music streaming and plenty more besides.
Our car was priced at £42,925, which is quite pricey for a Kia, but this is a car that can compete with high-end models from more premium manufacturers and they would carry a far heftier price-tag.
The car was powered by a 2.2-litre diesel engine matched to an eight-speed automatic gearbox and it could sprint from 0-60mph in 9.1 seconds, maxing out at 127mph. According to official figures, it can deliver 37.7mpg (WLTP) on a combined run with carbon emissions of 161g/km. And, of course, it comes with Kia’s excellent seven-year, 100,000-mile warranty.
With four-wheel drive as standard across the range, the Sorento is a practical family car that is also very capable when towing a trailer or caravan weighing up to two tonnes. The interior is well laid out and there is ample room for a trio of adults in the second row. The duo of third row seats are easily raised or lowered by pulling on a tethered strap and, when folded down, they are completely flat to the boot floor. The 60:40 split-folding second row seats can be lowered remotely thanks to levers in the boot which makes accessing the rear seats simpler.
Despite stretching 4.8 metres in length, the Sorento is well balanced and agile when faced with the open country road. The road holding is assured and there is ample feedback through the nicely weighted steering wheel.
The acceleration through the gears is smooth and there is a constant stream of power on tap from the punchy engine, which helps make light work of overtaking.
Noise levels do increase considerably on fast-moving motorways with the diesel engine kicking out some volume, but that pitch perfect sound system easily addresses that issue.
The chunky grab handle gear lever is a neat touch and the driver can also select from drive modes called Eco, Sport, Smart and Comfort on the move, and these alter the manner in which the car behaves. In addition, there are steering wheel mounted paddles for added driver engagement.
With its elevated seating position, the driver benefits from great all-round visibility and the smart park assist system will help you identify a suitable space to squeeze into and aid with the actual parking too.
On the practicality front, the boot, with its power-operated tailgate, can accommodate from 142 litres of kit with all seven seats occupied, to 660 litres with the back row folded flat and finally up to 1,732 litres with rows two and three dropped down.
Elsewhere there is a lockable glovebox, deep door pockets with bottle sections, a central cubby box, cup holders, trays, nets in the seats backs and numerous more convenient places to tuck away goodies.
The Sorento was awarded the maximum five stars when tested for its Euro NCAP safety rating and boasts a whole range of features to protect occupants, pedestrians and cyclists, as well as helping to prevent accidents happening in the first instance. Specifications include blind spot detection, autonomous emergency braking, lane departure warning, rear cross traffic alert, high beam assist and a full suite of airbags.
It’s worth noting that an all-new Sorento will be arriving in showrooms towards the latter part of this year with pricing and specifications due to be announced in due course. But in the meantime, the current model has plenty to offer with its neat styling, generous kit levels and impressive all-round handling.
Kia Sorento 2.2 CRDi GT-Line S Auto AWD
Kia has really raised the bar with its latest third generation Sorento model and proved that the Korean manufacturer can take on the big guns from the premium sector.
The latest Sorento is certainly a worthy flagship model for Kia and recently two sportier trim levels were added to the line-up making the Sorento a seven-seater with all the luxury you could wish for plus performance capabilities and styling to match.
There is a new range-topper called the Sorento GT-Line S which is powered by a punchy 2.2-litre 197bhp diesel engine mated to a new eight-speed automatic gearbox. This car can sprint from 0-60mph in just 9.1 seconds and tops out at 127mph, achieving combined fuel economy of 46.3mpg with carbon emissions of 161g/km along the way.
The five-door GT-Line S definitely looks the business with its sporty edge and dynamic styling. Stand out design cues include a 3D-effect grille, 19-inch alloys with red brake calipers, ice-cube LED fog lights, twin tail pipes, a panoramic sunroof, stainless steel side steps and LED headlights with dynamic bending function.
Step inside and it’s impossible not to be impressed with the sophisticated build quality with plush, black leather upholstery complimented by light grey stitching and the ‘GT-Line’ logo stitched into the seat backs. There are soft-touch surfaces, heated and ventilated front seats, heated outer rear seats and a heated steering wheel.
Finding the perfect driving position is quick and easy with a 10-way power-adjustable driver’s seat with lumbar support and memory settings, plus a steering wheel that is also fully adjustable. And once you’re sitting comfy, there’s a wealth of on-board technology to be explored, such as an eight-inch touchscreen navigation system, a premium harman kardon sound system with 10 speakers, Bluetooth with music streaming, full smartphone connectivity via Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, parking sensors, a reversing camera and a smart park assist system.
Admittedly all this luxury comes at a price with the latest Sorento GT-Line S tipping the scales at £42,925 which is certainly expensive for a Kia, but a clear indication that the company can compete at the highest level.
And when it comes to performance, ride and handling, the Sorento really impresses. Despite its larger-than-life dimensions, it proved agile and easy to manoeuvre in busy town centres and the great all-round visibility was a bonus too. Then when unleashed on the open road the acceleration, road holding and all-round handling was excellent. Motorway miles are eaten up with ease and the Sorento cruises effortlessly at 70mph with minimal road surface, engine or wind noise filtering into the cabin. The automatic gearbox is responsive and smooth and there are steering wheel-mounted paddles if you fancy taking charge. There are also different driving modes called Comfort, Eco, Sport and Smart that alter the manner in which the car handles and reacts.
Being a seven-seater SUV, the Sorento needs to have all the practicality bases covered and it certainly succeeds on that front. The pair of rear seats fold flat to the boot floor when not being used and can be raised or lowered in a matter of seconds. In the middle row there is ample room for two adults to stretch out in comfort or three if they don’t mind rubbing shoulders. The heated outer seats, along with window blinds in this row, are a nice touch. And up front there is oodles of space.
The boot is accessed via a powered tailgate with a wide opening and it can accommodate 660 litres of kit. Drop the 60:40 split-folding rear seats and that limit increases to 1,732 litres. In addition, there are plenty of convenient storage compartments scattered throughout the car, including a lockable glovebox that is illuminated, deep door pockets, a central bin, trays and cup holders. The Sorento can also tow a trailer or caravan weighing up to two tonnes for family getaways.
Kia has packed a raft of safety features into the Sorento which helped it achieve the maximum five stars when it was tested for its Euro NCAP safety rating. It boasts the likes of an intelligent all-wheel-drive system, high beam assist, autonomous emergency braking, blind spot detection, lane keep assist, driver attention warning, electronic stability control, rear cross traffic alert and plenty more besides.
All in all, the new sportier Kia Sorento is a fabulous family car. It looks stunning, is practical with seating for seven, it’s packed with creature comforts and it drives well too. And it’s always worth mentioning Kia’s outstanding seven-year/100,000-mile fully transferable warranty too.
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.