Kia Sorento review
The Kia Sorento is the firm's largest model, and has plenty of appeal as a seven-seat 4x4
It's fair to say that the Kia Sorento 4x4 is a very sensible choice. An all new-model was launched in 2013 with running gear from the Hyundai Santa Fe, although it looks largely identical to the car it replaces. But that's no bad thing, as it's got seven seats, a practical boot, a long standard equipment list and a reasonable price tag. What's also proving to be a big draw to Kia models is the seven-year/100,000-mile warranty, which is even transferrable if you sell the car. Aside from all that, the Sorento is fairly decent to drive. The engine pulls strongly enough, and the supple suspension is very comfortable. It's no sports car in the corners and the steering could do with a bit more weight and feel, but there's not too much you can criticise, apart from the prices, which are beginning to lose their value-for-money edge.
Our choice: Sorento KX-2 2.2 CRDi
The Kia Sorento has a very functional look that is very similar to its predecessor, and it looks chunky and utilitarian. Its looks have attracted some criticism for being a bit too American - as that is the main market for the car. The Sorento's design is also outshone by other cars in Kia's line-up, such as the Sportage SUV, but its dimensions mean it's roomy inside. The interior design is simple and well laid out, but the Hyundai Santa Fe's cabin looks more dramatic.
You haven't got much choice when it comes to engines in a Sorento. Since the car was facelifted, the 194bhp 2.2-litre diesel carried over from the previous Sorento is the only engine choice for UK buyers. It’s still a little noisy, but superbly torquey, with 422Nm available. A 0-62mph time of just over nine seconds is perfectly adequate for most people's needs. Soft suspension means the Sorento is quite comfortable on the move, but it doesn't handle very well. Unlike its sister car, the Hyundai Santa Fe, the Sorento doesn't have bespoke suspension settings for the UK, which does make quite a difference. The steering is a bit vague, and the body rolls in corners, but then that's to be expected of a tall, heavy 4x4.
When Euro NCAP tested the Sorento, it scored a full five-stars for crash safety. That's down to the standard fitment of six airbags, along with a a range of electronic gadgets like ABS, ESP and brakeforce distribution to help keep you out of trouble. The Sorento has proved itself to be very reliable, and you can see just how confident Kia is in their products thanks to that standard seven-year warranty. If anything does go wrong it'll almost certainly be covered, so you can buy with confidence.
All models come with seven seats as standard. The third row of seats will definitely be a squeeze for adults, but for children there's more than enough room. However, despite the Sorento's dimensions, the knee room in the second row of seats is acutally a little disappointing, and not helped by the fact that the front seat backs are covered in hard plastic. The good news is both the second and third rows are easy to fold away for a maximum load area of 1,530 litres. That powerful diesel does wonders for the Sorento's towing capacity, with the manual models managing to haul 2,500kg. Off road ability is good, too, with a lockable centre diff boosting its abilities.
Going for the 2.2-litre diesel will mean fuel consumption of nearly 48mpg. However, if you go for one of the six-speed automatic models, this figure worsens to about 42mpg. It's the same story when it comes to CO2 emissions, which rise from around 155g/km to 178g/km. It may not seem like much, but that moves the Sorento up into a higher tax bracket. Kia is so confident in the reliability of its cars that they all come with a standard seven-year warranty. What's more, while the list price has crept up over the years, you do get a lot of standard kit for your money. Top-spec cars come with goodies such as sat-nav and heated seats front and rear.