Three years after its launch, the Kia Sorento has had a makeover. We drove a top-spec KX-3 model, which comes laden with kit, but costs over £35,000.
Its nose has a narrower ‘tiger snout’ grille that blends into the large headlights. Squared-off bumpers get vertical fog lights, 19-inch alloys fill the arches and the ride height has been lowered 10mm to improve aerodynamics.
Inside, the kit list reads like a Range Rover’s. Highlights include a panoramic sunroof, keyless go, heated and ventilated leather seats, touchscreen sat-nav and a 10-speaker, 495W stereo.
Front-seat passengers feel like royalty in those impressive seats, but while second-row headroom is good, kneeroom back there could be better. The two third-row seats flip up from the boot floor with minimum effort and actually offer reasonable space. Those rear-most passengers get their own air-conditioning vents, too, which should make long journeys more bearable in the very back.
The 194bhp 2.2-litre diesel carried over from the old Sorento is the only engine choice for UK buyers. It’s still a little noisy, but superbly torquey, with 422Nm available to make light work of the Sorento’s hefty 1,999kg weight in KX-3 specification.
New for the facelift is exhaust gas recirculation, which boosts fuel economy by 5.7mpg to 47.9mpg. CO2 emissions fall 22g/km to 155g/km for lower-spec manual models. Sadly, the six-speed automatic in the car we drove has also been carried over unchanged – it still never quite knows what gear to be in.
Comfort and refinement on the move are impressive, aside from slight engine note intrusion and wind noise on motorways. The ride is soft and the body rolls under hard cornering, but the Sorento is incredibly sure-footed thanks to four-wheel drive that sends up to 50 per cent of torque to the rear if slip is detected.
The suspension has been revised with a wider track and tyres. This improves grip, and while you can adjust steering weight, there’s never any feel.
Overall, the Sorento is a very reassuring car that will get you to your destination in any weather.