Kia Sorento Road Test 2018

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MUCH IMPROVED SORENTO FROM KIA



As the demand for SUV’s continues to grow and Kia’s Sportage remains the manufacturer’s more prolific seller, it’s the larger Sorento SUV that at times tends to be overlooked. A genuine seven-seater or huge load lugger, one possible reason is because the size and price of the Sorento places it in a far more competitive market segment whilst the choice takes in some of the supposedly more desirable marques especially if the buyer is willing to consider pre-owned or as it used to be, secondhand.


As to whether this has dawned on Kia is hard to say but recent Sorento upgrades have added significantly to this large SUV’s appeal. The GT-Line model adds a more sporting appearance, the option of larger 18” and 19” alloy wheels and an 8-speed automatic transmission not only improve the Sorento’s appearance and ride quality, the extra wheel inches and gear ratios add those now vital extra mpg to the Sorento’s fuel economy. Also of note is the fact Kia are still committed to diesel power, the latest diesel engines as clean and environmentally friendly as most petrol units. And whilst it’s more or less bound to happen, there’s currently no Sorento hybrid.


Externally, LED lights now dominate the front and rear whilst the now familiar ‘Tiger Nose’ grille spreads across the entire front of what is a sizable vehicle. From the side the 4,800 length becomes apparent, the two large front doors visually shrunk by the size of the extended rears, the high waistline and physical size brought back into scale by the chromed window surrounds, tapering roofline and carefully crafted light lines, a neat roof spoiler blending the full depth electric tailgate into the physical perspective, the whole producing a commendable 0.33 drag coefficient.


At in this instance on 18” alloys and 235/60 rubber, irrespective of rim size, all Sorento ride on MacPherson struts and coils at the front and subframe mounted double wishbones and coils at the rear with an anti-roll bar at each end. Clearing the ground by 185mm, whilst the Sorento doesn’t claim to possess serious off-road aspirations, approach, departure and ramp over angles of 16.90, 210 and 180 provide this the largest of Kia’s SUV’s with passable ability.


Whilst the cabin can’t lay claim to acres of veneer, herds of leather, endless gadgets and other such paraphernalia, comfort and space is up there with the best of them. Soft textured surfaces, black piano inserts and neat brushed silver surrounds, supportive, heated leather seats, a thick leather multi-function steering wheel, simple to see and use controls and clear instrumentation complimented by a 7” central screen that incorporates the Harmon/Kardon sound system, satnav along with Bluetooth and DAB radio/media plus a contact pad to charge your smartphone. Add in the almost limousine sized head, shoulder and leg room that actually extends to passengers six and seven, the retractable sun roof, a maximum of 1,662 litres of cargo space, roof and towing capacities of 100kg and 2,000kg and the Sorento’s MPV sized space and volumes once again impresses.


Whilst there might be five specifications and two transmissions to choose from when it comes to the engine there is but one, a 2,199cc 16v Euro6 4-cylinder. Developing 197hp and 441lbs/ft of torque the engine is best described as relaxed in attitude and power delivery. Hitting 60mph in a respectable 9.1 seconds when mated to the 8-speed automatic transmission and returning a passable 36.2mpg a useful 450 miles plus can be expected from each 71 litres of diesel especially with the engine set in Eco mode.


There are Sport, Comfort and Smart modes but in the main the greenest is best since it’s highly unlikely you’ll be buying the Sorento for its performance credentials. In comparison to others with more sporting aspirations, the Sorento is undemanding, relaxing and easy to drive.


Visibility is good, the 2.75 turns lock-to-lock power steering sensibly weighted, the 11.08m turning circle useful, the overall ride comfortable. Body roll is acceptable whilst the dynamics keep the occupants well shielded from road imperfections, cabin ambiance quiet and refined.


Kia has always designed a car or SUV that provides owners with everything they need and want whilst ensuring their car to a degree demands little of them. Ease of ownership use and more especially driving means you don’t have to be ‘into cars’ to be ‘into Kia’. And with the industry leading seven year warranty still in play most buyers remain safe in the knowledge that any potential problems will be taken care of by their local Kia dealership.


Similarly the pricing of the Sorento reflects Kia’s sensible approach the KX-1 base model with a 6-speed manual transmission is on the road for £29,165 rising to £42,505 for the top of the range KX-4 along with the more sporting GT-Line variant. For most though it’s the KX-3 automatic as tested that will prove the most popular, the £38,695 price tag and generous specification providing everything most buyers will be looking for.


A model that although still more than capable but seemingly stagnating within the range, with the recent upgrades the Sorento is now back on its game. This in turn means anyone looking for a comfortable seven-seater SUV with passable off-road capabilities with a generous amount of MPV thrown in for good measure, Kia’s Sorento has once again become a genuine contender.



 By; Mark Stone