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 solid seven-seater SUV that is based on many of the same parts as the Hyundai Santa Fe. With seven easily foldable seats, a big boot, solid build quality and a reasonable price tag, the Kia Sorento is a great option for those looking for a large family car.

The excellent seven-year or 100,000-mile warranty is a big selling point too, giving peace of mind for a very long time to come. It's not bad to drive either - the suspension is comfortable and the engine is strong and powerful enough.

Of course, it's not very sporty to drive - the steering lacks feel and weight - but for a large family car you could do a lot worse than the Kia Sorento - it even beats the Santa Fe on boot space. However, the dark colours in the interior will put some buyers off, and the styling isn’t as eye-catching as some rivals.

Our choice: Sorento KX-2 2.2 CRDi

Styling

3.1

The Sorento has a plain and rugged design, setting it apart from its more stylish counterpart, the Hyundai Santa Fe. It doesn't quite have the charm of the chunky Chevrolet Captiva, either.

The main market for the car is the US, so the design is less appealing over here in the UK. The interior is decent wherever you are, though, with its simple design and easy-to-use layout. The dark colours might put some buyers off, though, and the interior actually isn't quite as good as the Hyundai's. All of this plain styling still appeals to family car buyers, however - it's a place that will stand up to family life well.

Driving

3

The only engine option for the Kia Sorento is a 194bhp 2.2-litre diesel, which isn't too much of a problem as the engine is rather good. It's very torquey and powerful on the road, with 422Nm available. This means 0-62mph takes just over nine seconds - good enough for any large SUV.

The soft suspension means that it's a comfortable place to be, but the cornering and agility is compromised. The steering feel isn't great either, and the steering weight could be improved. There's a lot of body roll in the corners as well, but that's normal for a tall 4x4 like the Kia Sorento.

The Sorento's 4WD lock helps on rough ground, but it's not really a proper off-roader: there’s no hill descent control, and it’s not as capable as the Mitsubishi Outlander off-road.

Reliability

4.6

Thanks to the standard safety equipment - six airbags, stability control and brake force distribution tech - the Kia Sorento scored the full five stars in the Euro NCAP crash safety tests.

The Kia Sorento comes with a seven-year warranty, which indicates how confident Kia is about the reliability of the car. The Sorento didn't appear in the top 150 cars in the 2013 Driver Power customer satisfaction survey's results, but its sister car, the Hyundai Santa Fe, came in at a respectable 74th place. If anything does go wrong, the excellent warranty should have it covered, too.

Practicality

4.5

A facelift added some extra interior space to the Sorento, meaning it's bigger inside than the Santa Fe, but the final row of seats is still only really suitable for children as it's quite small. They do have decent headroom, however, and fold down easily via a pull cord in the seatback.

Folding the seats down gives a load area of 1,530 litres (up from 116 litres with the seats in place). Plus, the 2,500kg towing capacity for manual models is great for families planning certain types of holiday. It's not as good off-road as some of its rivals, however, so it may be less suited to rural owners planning to drive off the beaten track.

Running Costs

3.4

All models come with four-wheel drive, which reduces fuel economy a bit - in the manual model the Kia will return 48mpg. That drops to 42mpg with the automatic gearbox, with the CO2 emissions, which rise from around 155g/km to 178g/km. That moves the car into a higher tax bracket, so you'll be paying more in the long term for an auto model.

Standard accessories include 17-inch alloy wheels, air-conditioning and parking sensors. Move up to the KX-2 model to get cruise control, leather seats and a reversing camera, too. KX-2 Nav models get a neat clear sat-nav touchscreen as standard, which is a great feature - and these models are much better value than the Mitsubishi Outlander. Top-spec cars come with goodies such as sat-nav and heated seats front and rear.

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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: 8 Jan, 2014

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