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Road tests

New Kia Sorento Edition 2023 review

The seven-seat Kia Sorento SUV goes all posh, but is it worth the £50k price tag?

Overall Auto Express Rating

3.5 out of 5

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Verdict

There’s no denying that, at more than £50,000, the Sorento Edition in hybrid form is a pricey machine, and it’s this that limits its appeal when compared with more affordable and similarly talented rivals. It’s an economical, spacious and desirable seven-seat SUV, but this fourth-generation Sorento always was. Here’s hoping Kia recalls some more affordable trim levels to bring the model back to its best.

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Kia might be heading even further upmarket with its forthcoming EV9 large electric seven-seater, but it was the Sorento that really started the Korean firm’s push to become more premium.

Once a value-focused large SUV, the firm’s current flagship high-rider is now only offered in top-of-the-range ‘Edition’ guise. Every option box has been pre-ticked for you, and the Sorento comes with luxury-car features such as heated and ventilated front seats in quilted Nappa leather.

But with a starting price of more than £50,000, the Sorento costs around £7,000 more than its sibling from sister firm Hyundai, the Santa Fe, and almost £15,000 more than an entry-level Nissan X-Trail. The same money could get you a well equipped Land Rover Discovery Sport, or a lightly used full-size Discovery. So is the Edition worth it?

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Putting the gadgets aside, the Sorento’s interior is pleasant and spacious. Plenty of metal-effect trim helps it feel suitably upmarket, while all of the main touchpoints feel equally as plush and solid.

All Sorentos have seven seats as standard, so it’s clear it was designed primarily to be a family load-lugger. There’s lots of storage, USB ports for every passenger, and a clever ‘Quiet Mode’ for the infotainment – which turns off the rearmost speakers to avoid disturbing a sleeping toddler – is fitted.

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We’re less keen on the amount of gloss-black plastic. Our test car was almost brand new and you could already see scratches in the shiny trim, so we’d question how this will stand up to years of family life.

The Sorento is offered with three distinct powertrain options: there’s a 2.2-litre diesel (plenty of Sorento owners tow, so it will be welcome for some), a regular 1.6-litre hybrid and a plug-in hybrid with an electric range of up to 35 miles. We drove the regular ‘self-charging’ hybrid, which offers a good blend of performance and low running costs.

With 226bhp sent to all four wheels, the hybrid version will reach 0-62mph in nine seconds. This should be more than quick enough for most buyers, but we did notice the six-speed automatic gearbox can be rather slow to react, with the split-second gap between putting your foot down and drive moving you forward feeling a little like waiting for a sneeze.

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But it’s smooth, and the slight electric assistance helps progress, especially in town, where the Sorento is fairly easy to manoeuvre for such a big car. The steering is light and there’s plenty of visibility.

We were pleasantly surprised by how easily the Sorento could get close to its claimed 39.7mpg fuel economy figure (we averaged around 37mpg). But we did find the overactive lane-keep assist system (one of a whole suite of driver aids included) a tad annoying.

This is also true of the Sorento’s suspension, which feels surprisingly firm, given the kind of use most buyers will subject the car to. It’s by no means uncomfortable and does make the big Kia feel composed when driving at higher speeds, but we would prefer just a little more compliance.

We can’t argue with the Sorento’s big 608-litre boot in five-seat form, though, its impressive 10.25-inch infotainment screen that features Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, or the seven-year warranty. But at 50 grand, it’s a big price to pay.

Model:Kia Sorento 1.6 Gdi Hybrid Edition
Price:£51,055
Engine:1.6-litre 4cyl petrol + e-motor
Power/torque:226bhp/350Nm
Transmission:Six-speed automatic, four-wheel drive 
0-62mph:9.0 seconds
Top speed:127mph
Economy/CO2:39.7mpg/168g/km
On sale:Now
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Consumer reporter

Tom is Auto Express' Consumer reporter, meaning he spends his time investigating the stories that matter to all motorists - enthusiasts or otherwise. An ex-BBC journalist and Multimedia Journalism graduate, Tom previously wrote for partner sites Carbuyer and DrivingElectric and you may also spot him throwing away his dignity by filming videos for the Auto Express social media channels.

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