The latest seven-seat, four-wheel-drive Sorento SUV is Kia’s top-of-the-line offering. The new Kia Sorento is a step change over its previous incarnation when it comes to quality and driving dynamics. With the Land Rover Discovery and the Nissan X-Trail set firmly in its sights, the Sorento embodies Kia’s drive towards producing desirable premium vehicles.
Unlike its predecessor, this third-generation Sorento is a striking vehicle. With its newly-designed, effortlessly stylish silhouette and premium-looking chrome-studded grille, the Sorento is leagues ahead of the old model, which was far less distinctive.
High-spec GT-Line S versions display Kia’s premium intent even more strongly. They add luxurious diamond-cut 19-inch alloy wheels and swish LED lighting all around. It’s a pretty special-looking vehicle.
The Sorento is leagues ahead of the old model.
What’s it like to drive?
Thanks to the Sorento's elevated driving position there’s a great view out the front, which inspires confidence from the off. When it comes to handling, the Kia’s big tyres offer plenty of grip, meaning the Sorento can take quick corners with minimal amounts of body roll – something of a surprise considering it’s such a big beast. The steering and brakes lack a bit of feel. It’s worth remembering that this is a large SUV and not a sports car.
Ride quality is good, with the Sorento making light work of rough, rutted surfaces. In-town manoeuvrability is easier on top-spec models, thanks to an all-around camera display and an automatic parking system that takes the stress out of squeezing this beast into tight spaces.
The Sorento’s 2.2-litre diesel has plenty of power for safe and speedy A-road overtaking, while it can handle quiet, refined motorway cruising with similar aplomb. Thanks to extra sound insulation, the cabin is also largely free of wind and noise while you’re on the go, making the Sorento ideal for long-distance road trips.
Thanks to the Sorento's elevated driving position there’s a great view out the front.
The interior of the Kia Sorento is a very nice place to be. There’s that high-up driving position for starters. And you’ll be more comfortable than in most cars with a large range of adjustability for both the driver's seat and steering wheel.
All boast impressive levels of standard kit, with the entry-level KX-1 version featuring a seven-inch infotainment screen with a DAB radio and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard, as well as a reversing camera. That’s a pretty decent kit for starters.
The KX-2 model adds leather upholstery, heated seats, dual-zone air-conditioning and an upgraded eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system with built-in sat-nav. Go higher to the KX-3 and GT-Line S, and you’ll be wowed with eight-way power-adjustable seats with ventilation, a panoramic sunroof with blinds, a power-operated tailgate, wireless phone charging and a 360-degree camera system, along with a host of other high-tech goodies. Nice.
The Sorento’s cabin, which is markedly better than that of previous models, is trimmed with an array of soft-touch plastics and high-quality materials that wouldn’t seem out of place in pricier premium German SUVs. Kia has worked hard to get in line with the European competition - and it shows.
Space is generous in the Kia Sorento. The latest model is even bigger than its predecessor, offering plenty of front and rear head- and leg-room for all occupants, although the third row of seats is probably best reserved for small children.
There‘s a host of storage areas dotted around the cabin, including a decent-sized glovebox, a couple of large compartments, cup-holders in the front and fairly big door pockets in the rear.
With the third row of seats in place, the Sorento’s boot space is reasonably large. Folding them down flat into the floor gets enough room to comfortably swallow enough luggage for a family holiday. With the second row of seats folded away, the Sorento can rival some commercial vans for load capacity.
Running costs and reliability
Considering its size, the Kia Sorento is fairly efficient when it comes to fuel economy. The 2.2-litre diesel can return up to 41.5mpg when matched to a six-speed manual gearbox. The automatic version is slightly less frugal. CO2 emissions for both are generally in line with the competition.
What we love
We love the Kia Sorento’s premium looks - both outside and inside - and its acres of interior space. For a family car, it’s got all the safety features you need as well, including six airbags, electronic stability control, a Vehicle Stability Management system and an active bonnet to protect pedestrians in the event of an impact.
And, of course, the Sorento has a maximum five-star Euro NCAP crash-test score.
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Who’d have thought that the Kia Sorento would ever be a serious contender in the premium SUV market? The last model was certainly a long way off. This version’s refined ride, luxuriously appointed cabin and sharp, contemporary looks have made the Sorento a serious player in its class.
This review was