Theoretically, the Kia Sorento ticks all the right boxes as a family car.
It is perhaps the safest SUV in Australia.
It can seat seven comfortably and delivers incredible value for money!
But how does all this translate into real world ability?
Find out in this exclusive review.
The Kia Sorento strikes the right balance between butch and sophisticated.
The high bonnet, groovy fog lamps, rear spoiler and roof rails lend it a touch of aggressiveness while the neat honey-comb grill, clean shoulder lines and intelligent looking headlamps give it an air of calm.
The Sorento appears somewhat similar to the Carnival – which is not a bad thing at all.
The big alloys make it look just a wee bit intimidating – enough to scare off naughty hatchbacks and over-eager low slung sedans!
Overall, the Kia Sorento is quite handsome, dignified and proportionate. It is very easy on the eye, although maybe not outright stunning.
It has individuality but does not scream for attention – exactly what family car buyers are looking for!
The Sorento has an absolutely fantastic interior! The first thing that you notice after getting into the car is how quiet it is!
The quality of materials and the fit and finish is top notch.
OK, do not expect a Rolls Royce or Bentley like cabin – but the interior of this very capable South Korean SUV will definitely give its German and Japanese rivals a run for their money.
Ergonomics are phenomenal and the front and middle seats offer colossal comfort. The last two seats are very usable too.
And no, the people sitting in these two seats do not have to be anorexic to feel comfortable. Third row passengers get a decent amount of head and knee room and even AC vents and a bit of storage space.
The only problem is that getting in and out of the third row is a tad cumbersome, but once you get there, it is a pretty good place to be in, even on moderately long drives.
The massive sunroof makes the already large cabin feel even roomier and airier. The top end models feature electrically adjustable seats with memory function.
The seats can also be cooled or heated. The cabin console features a 7 inch touchscreen with satellite navigation.
The infotainment system is pretty fast and easy to use – although we would have appreciated anti-reflective screens as the visibility goes down in bright sunlight.
The instrument cluster also includes a 7 inch screen which displays various functions like speed, fuel meter, engine temperature, odometer and so on.
The interior includes 2 USB ports and three 12 Volt power outlets – this will ensure that kids and teenagers will remain glued to their smartphones throughout the journey. In other words, they will be quite happy!
You can either have the Sorento with a black or a dual tone interior. The middle and last rows can be folded down completely.
With so much space, the Sorento can double up as a Studio apartment if required! Obviously, the boot space decreases with all seven seats up.
Still, it can definitely handle your weekend shopping.
What’s it cost?
|Variant||Series||Engine & Body Type||RRP Price|
|SLi (4x2)||UM MY16||3.3L MULTI POINT F/INJ --- 6 SP AUTOMATIC --- UNLEADED PETROL --- 4D WAGON||$45,990|
|SLi (4x4)||UM MY16||2.2L DIESEL TURBO F/INJ --- 6 SP AUTOMATIC --- Diesel --- 4D WAGON||$45,990|
|PLATINUM (4x4)||UM MY16||2.2L DIESEL TURBO F/INJ --- 6 SP AUTOMATIC --- DIESEL --- 4D Wagon||$55,990|
|Si (4x2)||UM MY16||3.3L MULTI POINT F/INJ ---6 SP AUTOMATIC --- UNLEADED PETROL --- 4D Wagon||$40,990|
|Si (4x4)||UM MY16||2.2L DIESEL TURBO F/INJ ---6 SP AUTOMATIC --- DIESEL ---4D Wagon||$44,490|
|SLi (4x2)||XM MY14||3.5L MULTI POINT F/INJ ---6 SP AUTOMATIC ---UNLEADED PETROL --4D WAGON||$33,120 - $39,380|
|SLi (4x2)||UM||3.3L MULTI POINT F/INJ --- 6 SP AUTOMATIC ---UNLEADED PETROL --- 4D Wagon||$38,300 - $45,540|
|SLi (4x4)||XM MY14||2.2L DIESEL TURBO F/INJ --- 6 SP AUTOMATIC ---DIESEL --- 4D Wagon||$37,090 - $44,110|
|SLi (4x4)||UM||2.2L DIESEL TURBO F/INJ --- 6 SP AUTOMATIC ---DIESEL --- 4D Wagon||$41,160 - $48,950|
|PLATINUM (4x4)||XM MY14||2.2L DIESEL TURBO F/INJ --- 6 SP AUTOMATIC ---DIESEL ---4D Wagon||$41,070 - $48,840|
|PLATINUM (4x4)||UM||2.2L DIESEL TURBO F/INJ --- 6 SP AUTOMATIC --- DIESEL ---4D WAGON||$46,620 - $55,440|
|Si (4x2)||XM MY14||3.5L MULTI POINT F/INJ --- 6 SP AUTOMATIC --- UNLEADED PETROL --- 4D Wagon||$31,080 - $36,960|
|Si (4x2)||UM||3.3L MULTI POINT F/INJ --- 6 SP AUTOMATIC --- UNLEADED PETROL --- 4D Wagon||$35,240 - $41,910|
|Si (4x4)||XM MY14||2.2L DIESEL TURBO F/INJ --- 6 SP AUTOMATIC --- DIESEL --- 4D Wagon||$33,860 - $40,260|
|Si (4x4)||XM MY14||2.2L DIESEL TURBO F/INJ --- 6 SP MANUAL --- DIESEL --- 4D Wagon||$32,280 - $38,390|
|Si (4x4)||UM||2.2L DIESEL TURBO F/INJ ---6 SP AUTOMATIC ---DIESEL --- 4D Wagon||$38,300 - $45,540|
Engines and Transmission
The Sorento is available with two choices of engines – a 3.3 litre V6 petrol and a 2.2 litre diesel.
The V6 is coupled with the front wheels while the diesel comes with an all-wheel drive system.
If you are fond of off-roading or camping, then the diesel is probably that one to buy.
Both engines are pretty capable; the V6 delivers 199 KW of power and 318 Nm of torque. The diesel mill churns out a massive 447 Nm of torque and 147 KW of power.
The extra torque makes the diesel almost addictive to drive! Both the engines are mated to a pretty slick 6 speed automatic transmissions.
The petrol and diesel models have a fuel efficiency of 9.9L/100 km and 7.6L/100 km respectively.
While these figures do not exactly qualify as frugal, they are not bad considering that the Sorento weights more than 2 tons!
Ride and Handling
Despite its sizable proportions and weight, the Sorento feels car-like to drive.
However, you can feel the weight shifting around in the corners if you push it too hard.
Drive the Sorento the way a family SUV should be driven and you will have no complaints.
However, if you drive it like a BMW X6 or a Porsche Macan, get ready to experience quite a bit of body roll.
There are 3 driving modes – normal, eco and sport.
The throttle response does get responsive in the sport mode, but do not expect anything earth shattering!
What the Kia Sorento lacks in sportiness and off-roadiness, it more than makes up for in comfort and insulation.
The cabin is as quiet as a small town chapel and the ride is extremely plush and supple.
The SUV glides over potholes and gobbles up bad roads with utmost ease.
The bottom line is that the Sorento does not like to be pushed around, although overtaking is a breeze thanks to the 447 Nm of torque!
Kia is a considered to be a manufacturer of affordable motors.
Hence, technically, the Sorento should not outclass premium German SUVs – especially in terms of safety.
But it does! ANCAP has rated it to be the safest SUV on Australian roads.
The list of safety features on this automobile could run into multiple pages, but we are obligated to mention at least a few.
The Sorento features front and rear parking sensors, reverse camera, ABS, 6 airbags as well as a traction control system.
The top end platinum version get more goodies such as intelligent cruise control (follows the speed of the vehicle in front), blind spot monitoring system, rear cross traffic alert system and a really annoying (but efficient) lane departure warning system!
The Sorento is safer than the vault of a Swiss Bank!
We are thoroughly impressed by the Kia Sorento.
The 7 year, unlimited kilometre warranty is the icing on the cake.
This family car offers the build quality of German SUVs at a mouth-watering price tag.
Kia has delivered a truly phenomenal product and if you can look past the brand bias, the Sorento is truly a fabulous proposition.