In-depth reviews

Kia Sorento review

The Kia Sorento is a top-class family SUV with plenty of kit and space as well as a varied, efficient engine range

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.5 out of 5

Price
£28,745 to £41,445
  • Practical, spacious interior
  • High equipment levels
  • Solid engine range
  • Firm ride
  • Cabin materials could be better
  • No longer cheap to buy

Over the years Kia’s Sorento has evolved from being a large, practical and cheap family SUV into a large, practical and classy one. The price has shifted in line with the upturn in quality, design and technology, but it still feels like you’re getting a lot for your money with this big Kia. The difference is that now the top seven-seat SUV contenders are direct rivals for the Sorento.

The ride is firm, and you can pick holes with some of the interior materials, but with a wide range of engine options, loads of space and impressive equipment levels – even at the bottom of the range – Kia’s effort has a lot going for it. 

About the Kia Sorento

Car buyers with big families naturally gravitate towards big vehicles with plenty of space. In today’s market, with the fortunes of the purpose-built MPV on the wane, that largely limits those with a lot of children or luggage to a van with windows and seats, or a large SUV.

The Kia Sorento has been a force in the large-SUV market since the first-generation model launched in 2002. Today, we’re on the Mk4 Sorento, and it’s a model that clearly shows how Kia has matured as a car brand in the intervening years. The original Sorento was a budget option, a large seven-seat SUV for the price of a mid-size five-seater from one of the leading mainstream brands at the time. Today Kia is one of those mainstream brands, offering products that stand comparison with models from the Fords, Volkswagens, Renaults and Peugeots of this world in terms of style, build quality and technology. Indeed, with this Sorento, Kia has designs on surpassing these rivals and pushing further upmarket still. 

The fourth-generation Kia Sorento was revealed to the public early in 2020 and went on sale in the UK later that year. It’s a seven-seat SUV in all its guises, with Kia saying there are no plans for a five-seat model, and it sits at the top of a crowded Kia SUV range. Below the Sorento are the mid-size Sportage and smaller Stonic but Kia also offers the XCeed crossover as well as the Soul EV and the e-Niro electric SUVs.

In terms of direct rivals, the Sorento is in the mix with a clutch of desirable full-size seven-seat SUV options. The Skoda Kodiaq and SEAT Tarraco from the Volkswagen Group share technology, while the Peugeot 5008 is another worthy candidate. Land Rover has the Discovery Sport or the larger Discovery, and the Sorento splits these models in terms of price starting at around £40,000.

What you pay for your Kia Sorento will depend on your choice of powertrain and spec. Kia keeps the trim-level side of things relatively simple with three equipment bands, named 2, 3 and 4. Under the bonnet you have a further three options: the standard 2.2-litre CRDi diesel with an eight-speed DCT dual-clutch automatic gearbox, a full hybrid with an electrically assisted 1.6-litre T-GDi petrol engine and a six-speed auto gearbox, or a plug-in hybrid that uses the same petrol engine and gearbox but increases the battery size to 13.8kWh, enabling up to 35 miles of electric-only travel. All models are four-wheel drive.

In terms of standard equipment, the entry-level 2 models get 17-inch alloy wheels, digital instruments and an eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system. The seats are cloth rather than leather, but the front ones are heated and so is the steering wheel. There’s also a reversing camera, smart cruise control with Stop and Go functionality, LED headlights and a lot of safety aids. 

The Sorento 3 models have 19-inch wheels and the more impressive 10.25-inch touchscreen, plus leather trim, keyless entry and start, a powered tailgate, wireless phone charging and ambient lighting in the cabin. The top-spec 4 cars have higher-grade Nappa leather trim, a panoramic sunroof, head-up display, Bose 12-speaker stereo, ventilated front seats and a 360-degree Around View Monitor to help when parking or venturing off-road. As tends to be the way with Kias, you get a lot of kit for your money with the Sorento, at every level.

Used and nearly new

The history of the Kia Sorento dates back to 2002, with the Korean SUV evolving from a budget seven-seater into a more refined, mainstream model, able to compete with the class best. It's no longer a cheap option, but improvements in styling, interior quality and onboard tech reflect how much the Sorento has matured. Reliability has always been a plus point of Sorento ownership, and well cared for used examples should still prove dependable.

  • For the latest Mk4 Kia Sorento prices check out our sister site buyacar.co.uk

Kia Sorento history

Used Kia Sorento Mk3

Kia Sorento Mk3: 2014-2020

The Mk3 Sorento came with a choice of five or seven seats, along with a strong 2.2-litre diesel engine. Buyers wanting some off road ability will probably look to the four-wheel drive versions, while there's also manual or automatic models to consider. Equipment levels are high across the range, with even entry cars including a DAB radio, Bluetooth, air-con, rear parking sensors, privacy glass and cruise control. Read our full Mk3 Kia Sorento buyer’s guide here…

Mk2 Kia Sorento

Kia Sorento Mk2: 2010-2014

As a capable seven-seat SUV with good towing capability, the Mk2 Sorento offered a reliable alternative to the agricultural Mitsubishi Shogun or Toyota Land Cruiser, while it undercut the significantly more expensive Land Rover Discovery on price. Both front- and four-wheel-drive examples are available, with petrol and diesel power featuring in the lineup. Read our full Mk3 Kia Sorento buyer’s guide here…

Kia Sorento

Kia Sorento Mk1: 2003-2010

The Mk1 Sorento was priced in a category below its size, which meant you got a lot of 4x4 for your money. It wasn't bad looking for the time and, tacky interior wooden trim aside, it was surprsingly well equipped too. Most examples came with a 2.5-litre diesel engine, although it didn't offer much pace.

If you're looking to buy a Kia Sorento, why not visit our sister site buyacar.co.uk for the latest deals...

Have you considered?

Renault Arkana vs Toyota C-HR: 2021 group test review
Renault Arkana vs Toyota C-HR
Renault Arkana

Renault Arkana vs Toyota C-HR: 2021 group test review

Toyota's C-HR is an exceedingly competent small SUV, but does the new Renault Arkana have it beat?
23 Oct 2021
Hyundai Bayon review
Hyundai Bayon - front
Hyundai Bayon

Hyundai Bayon review

The Hyundai Bayon is a fine small SUV, with striking looks, impressive levels of refinement and useful on-board tech
10 Sep 2021

More on Sorento

Show me:
Kia celebrates 30th anniversary in Britain
Kia 30th anniversary
Kia
25 Oct 2021

Kia celebrates 30th anniversary in Britain

Kia has changed a lot in the past 30 years, going from budget car brand to becoming a rival to some established premium brands - how have they done it…
Used Kia Sorento (Mk3, 2014-2020) review
Used Kia Sorento Mk3
Kia Sorento SUV
13 Oct 2021

Used Kia Sorento (Mk3, 2014-2020) review

The Mk3 Kia Sorento is a seven-seat SUV that’s a great all-rounder as spacious, dependable family transport
Toyota RAV4 vs Kia Sorento
Toyota RAV4 vs Kia Sorento
Kia Sorento
4 Sep 2021

Toyota RAV4 vs Kia Sorento

The Toyota RAV4 has been one of the best family SUVs of the past 25 years - so can the new Kia Sportage mount a challenge?
Best used large SUVs and 4x4s 2021
Best used large SUVs header
Kia Sorento
18 Aug 2021

Best used large SUVs and 4x4s 2021

The best used large SUVs and 4x4s in the business offer space, practicality, performance and low running costs
New Kia Sorento PHEV 2021 review
Kia Sorento PHEV 2021
Kia Sorento
24 Mar 2021

New Kia Sorento PHEV 2021 review

Can plug-in hybrid power increase the Kia Sorento's appeal?
New Kia Sorento recalled for eCall system update
Kia Sorento recall
News
2 Feb 2021

New Kia Sorento recalled for eCall system update

Kia has found a problem with the Sorento’s eCall SOS system, which renders it inactive in the event of an accident
Used Kia Sorento review
Kia Sorento
4 Jan 2021

Used Kia Sorento review

A full used buyer’s guide on the Kia Sorento covering the Sorento Mk2 (2010-2014) and the Sorento Mk3 (2014-2020)
New Kia Sorento plug-in hybrid models on sale from £44,995
Kia Sorento
16 Dec 2020

New Kia Sorento plug-in hybrid models on sale from £44,995

Mix of 1.6-litre petrol engine and electric motor promises 261bhp for the Kia Sorento but the lowest emissions of the range
Kia Sorento vs Skoda Kodiaq
Car group tests
14 Nov 2020

Kia Sorento vs Skoda Kodiaq

The Skoda Kodiaq takes on the new Kia Sorento in this family-friendly SUV twin test
New Kia Sorento HEV 2020 review
Kia Sorento
23 Sep 2020

New Kia Sorento HEV 2020 review

The new Kia Sorento HEV combines a 1.6-litre petrol engine with an electric motor for 227bhp, but is it the pick of the range?
New Kia Sorento 2020 review
Kia Sorento
21 Aug 2020

New Kia Sorento 2020 review

The all-new Kia Sorento SUV is packed with tech and looks better than ever
New 2020 Kia Sorento goes on sale as UK prices are announced
Kia Sorento
12 Aug 2020

New 2020 Kia Sorento goes on sale as UK prices are announced

The new seven-seat Kia Sorento SUV is available to buy in the UK now, with prices starting from £38,845
All-new 2020 Kia Sorento revealed in design sketches
Kia Sorrento - sketch - front 3/4 static
Kia Sorento
11 Feb 2020

All-new 2020 Kia Sorento revealed in design sketches

Next generation Kia Sorento flagship SUV will challenge premium rivals when it's revealed at the Geneva Motor Show
Kia Sorento (2015-2020) review
Kia Sorento - front cornering
Kia Sorento SUV
25 Mar 2019

Kia Sorento (2015-2020) review

The Kia Sorento SUV is a large and luxurious seven-seater that packs in plenty of tech for the price
Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace vs Kia Sorento vs Skoda Kodiaq
Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace vs Kia Sorento vs Skoda Kodiaq - header
Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace
18 Mar 2018

Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace vs Kia Sorento vs Skoda Kodiaq

VW hopes to make a big impact on the seven-seat SUV market with the Tiguan Allspace. We test it against the Kia Sorento and Skoda Kodiaq
Kia Sorento updated with new gearbox and GT-Line trims
Kia sorento GT-Line
Kia Sorento
2 Jan 2018

Kia Sorento updated with new gearbox and GT-Line trims

Two new trim levels introduced for the Kia Sorento SUV, plus a new eight-speed automatic gearbox
Facelifted Kia Sorento arrives at the Frankfurt Motor Show
Kia Sorento - Frankfurt front
Kia Sorento
12 Sep 2017

Facelifted Kia Sorento arrives at the Frankfurt Motor Show

The Kia Sorento SUV has been refreshed, bringing exterior and interior updates and the addition of a new GT Line trim
Kia Sorento - best 4x4s and SUVs
Kia Sorento - front tracking
Kia Sorento
29 Jun 2017

Kia Sorento - best 4x4s and SUVs

The Kia Sorento offers a comfortable, seven-seat interior and good 4x4 ability
Mitsubishi Outlander vs Hyundai Santa Fe vs Kia Sorento
Mitsubishi Outlander vs Hyundai Santa Fe vs Kia Sorento - header
Mitsubishi Outlander
11 Apr 2017

Mitsubishi Outlander vs Hyundai Santa Fe vs Kia Sorento

We see if the updated diesel Mitsubishi Outlander is a better all-rounder than the Hyundai Santa Fe and Kia Sorento
Skoda Kodiaq vs Land Rover Discovery Sport vs Kia Sorento
Skoda Kodiaq vs Land Rover Discovery Sport vs Kia Sorento - header
Skoda Kodiaq
16 Dec 2016

Skoda Kodiaq vs Land Rover Discovery Sport vs Kia Sorento

Skoda’s new Kodiaq SUV faces a baptism of fire as it meets Kia and Land Rover rivals
Long-term test review: Kia Sorento
Kia Sorento SUV
27 Oct 2016

Long-term test review: Kia Sorento

Final report: Our Kia Sorento SUV pays a visit to the biggest Kia dealership in Europe
Large SUV of the Year 2016: Volvo XC90
New Car Awards 2016: Large SUV of the Year - Volvo XC90
Volvo XC90
5 Jul 2016

Large SUV of the Year 2016: Volvo XC90

The Volvo XC90 is the 2016 Auto Express Large SUV of the Year, with the Audi Q7 and Kia Sorento commended
Mitsubishi Outlander vs Kia Sorento review
Mitsubishi Outlander vs Kia Sorento
Mitsubishi Outlander
1 Dec 2015

Mitsubishi Outlander vs Kia Sorento review

Tough new diesel Mitsubishi Outlander aims to build on success of the hybrid model. We head off-road to test it against Kia’s Sorento