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Car group tests

Kia Sorento vs Land Rover Discovery Sport

Kia’s new Sorento aims to mix off-road ability with the premium feel of cars like the Land Rover Discovery Sport. Does it deliver?

The best SUVs on the market need to be fantastic all-rounders to make an impact in such a highly competitive class. They have to deliver the versatility of an MPV and be as comfortable as an executive car while still having decent off-road ability. And the latest arrival in the sector is the all-new Kia Sorento.

Best SUVs to buy now

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This third-generation model, as you’d expect, is bigger than ever, and it comes with seven seats as standard. In typical Kia fashion, the Sorento features plenty of kit; but with prices ranging from £29,000 to £41,000, this is one Kia that’s closing in on premium brand territory. 

The question is, can it compete in this rarefied atmosphere? To find out, we’ve lined the Sorento up against a car that will test its credentials to the max: the Land Rover Discovery Sport

Best family cars

The Disco also has seven seats and an upmarket interior, plus it carries a similar price tag. But unlike the Kia, it’s classed as a compact SUV – indeed, it was crowned best in the category at our New Car Awards 2015.

Can the Sorento’s larger dimensions give it the edge in this contest? Or is the Discovery Sport enough of a class act to make up for its lack of stature? We tested both models in town, on the motorway and even off-road to see how they measured up.

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Kia Sorento review

Land Rover Discovery Sport review

Click the links above to read individual reviews, and scroll down to see which car comes out on top...

Head-to-head

Practicality

If you often carry seven adults, the Sorento is the car to go for. Its back seats (above) are easier to access, have more head and legroom and are easy to fold. The Disco’s rearmost seats are smaller, as is its boot. Land Rover quotes a 981-litre capacity to the roof, but according to our measurements it has less space under the load cover than the Kia.

Off-road

While the Sorento is the seven-seat choice, the Discovery Sport is the off-road champ. Its Terrain Response system (above) adapts the traction control, engine and box to suit road conditions, while hill descent control is standard. On the Kia, you get hill start assist, but the 4WD system is automatic.

Equipment

Kia doesn’t offer any options aside from metallic paint (£575), but Land Rover allows for a lot of personalisation. There are contrast roof colours and different wheels, while inside you can add plush leather and upgrade the sound system, too.

Verdict

1st place: Land Rover Discovery Sport

It was close, but the Discovery Sport takes victory here with its combination of a high-quality cabin, first-class road manners and decent practicality. Sure, the back seats aren’t the roomiest around, but they’re good enough for most trips, while its off-road ability gives it an advantage. And if you order one now, you’ll benefit from Land Rover’s efficient new diesel (below).

2nd place: Kia Sorento

There’s no doubt that if you want a seven-seater but don’t want to buy an MPV, the Sorento is a great choice due to its roomy back row. It has a spacious boot and is reasonably comfortable, too. Still, while this is the most upmarket Kia yet, it still doesn’t quite match the Land Rover for desirability or quality. We’d recommend one of the lower-spec models instead.

Coming soon... Is it worth waiting for this model? 

Land Rover Discovery Sport TD4

Due: September  Price: £35,700Engine: 2.0-litre 4cyl, 178bhp

Land Rover Discovery Sport - front cornering

Order a Discovery Sport now, and your car will feature the new TD4 engine, which emits 139g/km of CO2. That means a 25 per cent Benefit in Kind rate and annual road tax of £130, while fuel economy improves to 53.3mpg.

Key specs:

 Land Rover Discovery Sport 2.2 SD4 SE TechKia Sorento 2.2 CRDi KX-3
On the road price/total as tested£35,700/£35,700£35,845/£36,420
Residual value (after 3yrs/36,000)£20,171/56.5%£17,564/49.0%
Depreciation£15,530£18,281
Annual tax liability std/higher rate£2,131/£4,262£2,137/£4,273
Annual fuel cost (12k/20k miles)£1,877/£3,128£1,412/£2,354
Ins. group/quote/road tax band/cost34/£571/H/£20526/£598/G/£180
Servicing costs£499 (5yrs/50k)£349 (3yrs/30k)
   
Length/wheelbase4,599/2,741mm4,780/2,780mm
Height/width1,724/2,069mm1,685/1,890mm
Engine4cyl in-line/2,179cc4cyl in-line/2,199cc
Peak power/revs187/3,500 bhp/rpm197/3,800 bhp/rpm
Peak torque/revs420/1,750 Nm/rpm422/1,800 Nm/rpm
Transmission9-spd auto/4WD6-spd man/4WD
Fuel tank capacity/spare wheel65 litres/£15071 litres/full alloy
Boot capacity (7/5/2 seats)N/A/981**/1,698 litres142/605/1,662 litres
Kerbweight/payload/towing weight1,863/737/2,200kg1,932/658/2,500kg
Turning circle/drag coefficient11.6 metres/N/A10.9 metres/N/A
Basic warranty (miles)/recovery3yrs (unltd)/3yrs7yrs (100,000)/1yr
Service intervals/UK dealers16,000 miles (1yr)/13020,000 miles (1yr)/170
Driver Power manufacturer/dealer pos.29th/28th*19th/10th*
Euro NCAP: Adult/child/ped./stars93/83/69/590/83/67/5
   
0-60/30-70mph9.0/9.2 seconds9.0/9.5 seconds
30-50mph in 3rd/4th3.3/3.6 seconds3.7/5.0 seconds
50-70mph in 5th/6th/7th/8th5.5/7.1/8.6/11.0 secs7.5/9.7 secs/N/A/N/A
Top speed/rpm at 70mph117mph/1,600rpm124mph/2,000rpm
Braking 70-0/60-0/30-0mph63.1/45.3/12.8m (wet)48.4/34.8/8.9m
Noise outside/idle/30/70mph69/42/59/68dB67/45/62/70dB
Auto Express econ (mpg/mpl)/range35.0/7.7/500 miles46.5/10.2/726 miles
Govt urban/extra-urban/combined38.2/49.6/44.8mpg37.2/53.3/46.3mpg
Govt urban/extra-urban/combined8.4/10.9/9.9mpl8.2/11.7/10.2mpl
Actual/claimed CO2/tax bracket216/166g/km/30%163/161g/km/30%
   
Airbags/Isofix/park sensors/cameraSeven/yes/yes/£330Six/yes/yes/yes
Auto gearbox/stability/cruise controlYes/yes/yes£1,755/yes/yes
Clim ctrl/heated leather/elec tailgateYes/part/yesYes/yes/yes
Metallic paint/xenons/panoramic glass£600/£950/£950£575/yes/yes
Sat-nav/USB/DAB radio/BluetoothYes/yes/yes/yesYes/yes/yes/yes
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