Kia Sorento review

Our Rating: 
4
4.0/5.0
By Auto Express Test TeamComments

The Kia Sorento is the firm's largest model, and has plenty of appeal as a seven-seat 4x4

For: 
Good value, practicality, plenty of standard kit
Against: 
Noisy engines, poor handling, interior quality

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The Kia Sorento is a practical, solidly built 7-seater 4x4 that shares many of its parts with the Hyundai Santa Fe SUV.

A rival to the Mitsubishi Outlander, the Kia Sorento may not be the sportiest car to drive, but with its seven foldable seats, spacious boot, decent build quality and reasonable price, it is a great option for families looking for a large car without wanting to spend huge amount of cash. In fact, the Kia Sorento featured in our best 7-seater cars to buy in 2014 feature.

The outstanding seven-year or 100,000-mile warranty from Kia is a big selling point, and gives buyers of the Kia Sorento a fair amount of piece of mind for the future.

The Kia Sorento is only available with a 2.2-litre CRDi diesel engine, but it does come in four trim levels, the entry level KX-1, mid-range KX-2 and range-topping KX-3 and KX-4 models. It beats the Hyundai Santa Fe for bootspace, too.

Despite comfortable suspension and powerful engines, the Kia Sorento isn't the most inspiring car to drive. The steering lacks feel and weight and the interior may be a bit gloomy for some tastes. In general though, for a big car, you could do a lot worse than the Kia Sorento.

Our choice: Sorento KX-2 2.2 CRDi

Styling

3.1

The Kia Sorento has obviously been designed with practicality rather than outright looks in mind. Nonetheless, it gets a simple and rugged design that sets it apart from the Hyundai Santa Fe.

The simple looks of the Kia Sorento carry over into the interior, and it's pretty easy to use. However, the dark colours may be a turn off for some buyers, and the cabin isn't as good as that in the Hyundai Santa Fe. Stil

Driving

3

A 194bhp 2.2-litre diesel with either a six-speed manual or automatic gearbox is the only engine and transmission choice available throughout the Kia Sorento range. However, the lack of engine choice isn't a bad thing as the unit is very torquey and powerful. The Kia Sorento will also crack 0-62mph in around nine-seconds; a respectable figure for any large SUV.

The driving experience in the Kia Sorento can't be described as nimble as a result of soft suspension that compromises cornering ability and agility. The steering could also feel weightier but the car is very comfortable and body roll doesn’t go too far beyond that found in other tall 4X4s.

Kia Sorento 2.2 CRDi KX-2 interior

All models of the Kia Sorento range come with permanent 4x4, and while its 4WD lock helps it on rough ground, there's no hill descent control and it's not as capable as a Mitsubishi Outlander in the rough stuff.

Reliability

4.6

The Kia Sorento scored the maximum five-stars in the Euro NCAP crash tests, and every models gets six-airbags, stability control and brake force distribution tech as standard.

Kia also gives the Sorento a seven-year warranty, which indicates the level of confidence Kia has in its reliability. If anything does go wrong, the excellent warranty should have it covered, too.

Practicality

4.5

In 2012, the Kia Sorento received a facelift that included Kia adding more interior space, which now makes it bigger than the Hyundai Santa Fe. Despite there being seven seats, though, the final row of seats is only still really suitable for children as they're pretty small. At least they do have decent headroom and fold down easily via a pull cord in the back.

Given the Kia Sorento's size, it shouldn't come as a surprise that it's a practical car. With the rear seats up, the boot space is 116-litres, but fold them down and it expands to 1,530-litres. On Kia Sorento models with the six-speed manual gearbox, the 2,500kg towing capacity is great for families planning certain types of holiday.

Be aware, though, that the Kia Sorento is not as good off-road as some of its rivals, so it may not be 100 per cent suited to rural owners who plan regularly to drive off the beaten track.

Running Costs

3.4

The permanent four-wheel drive found on the Kia Sorento reduces fuel economy and with a manual gearbox, it'll return 47.9mpg on a combined cycle, plus CO2 emissions of 175g/km.

Kia Sorento models specced with the automatic gearbox see combined MPG drop to 42.2, and CO2 emissions rise to 175-178g/km.

The entry-level Kia Sorento KX-1 model gets 17-inch alloy wheels as standard, plus air-conditioning and parking sensors. The mid-range KX-2 gets cruise control, leather seats and a reversing camera, while KX-2 Nav models get touchscreen sat-nav. These models, we believe, represent much better value than the Mitsubishi Outlander. The flagship Kia Sorento models, the KX-3 and KX-4, get start/stop technology and alloy pedals as part of the deal, but they weigh in at over the £30,000 mark.

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Hyundai Santa Fe - albeit a strange name - looks a lot better inside and out.
However, for a private buyer, there's no beating Kia's extraordinary 7-year warranty.

42 mpg with an auto? In your dreams.

Last updated: 28 Apr, 2014
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