Kia Sorento 2.2 CRDi an attractive and very versatile package

In Car Reviews by Tom Scanlan

Difficult choice isn’t it?. You’re prepared to go more than £40K for a big family SUV. Kia Sorento? Yes, it could well be.

The latest Kia Sorento was examined by its design and engineering team from every possible aspect to improve a car that was already very competitive in terms of what it offered for the money.

The latest Kia Sorento was examined by its design and engineering team from every possible aspect to improve a car that was already very competitive in terms of what it offered for the money.

The list of improvements is fulsome. From the wheels upwards, Kia’s current big SUV, at £42,180 in the particular model tested, is more than just an evolution of its predecessor.

The basic performance stats include 199 bhp from its 2.2-litre Diesel engine, along with 440Nm torque. The official combined fuel consumption is 42.2mpg; yet, if the test car’s indicated figures weren’t wrong, the 433 miles covered during in the week with the vehicle, the official figure is pessimistic: I registered 49.3 mpg, while the overall figure for the Sorento’s 2885 miles from new showed up at 45.0 mpg.

As to its actual performance, this type of vehicle is not meant to challenge Lewis Hamilton or Max Verstappen away from the lights, yet 0-62 mph in 9.1 seconds is a very healthy figure. More important is the overtaking muscle up to motorway speeds.

Put the foot down hard in whatever of the eight gears you happen to be in and off you go.

The diesel engine is audible at lower hard-working speeds, especially if you have the window open; at 70mph, around 1800rpm, windows shut, there is only a little road noise (The test car was on Continental tyres); no discernible wind noise; no engine sound. This makes for easy, relaxing longer distance driving.

Kia displays a long list of updated features in the Sorento. The owner’s manual must be one of the longest from any manufacturer.

The first thing I looked for was how to switch off the LFA (Lane Following Assist) alert system. This is different from other such systems in that it deploys from zero mph; at first you feel a nudge on the steering wheel, along with, if you notice, a visual aid in the instrument panel, followed by a warning alarm if you actually stray across that white line without indicating. OK, so far, but we can (can we not?) do without this most of the time. So: switch it off…the handbook illustrates switch number 11 to do so.

Unfortunately, the test car was not fitted with this particular switch. And so this slight irritation was, well, a slight irritation! Along with, while we’re at it, the speed limit sign detector flashes whenever you exceed 30, 40, 50, 60, 70. If you stay over that limit, at least it then stops flashing while still displaying the limit, which is obviously a good thing. Now all this is meant to be helpful to the driver. Perhaps we do need all the help we can get…but I found it distracting.

Probably more to the point is that the Sorento has had a massive amount of thought put into its design. Setting aside the exterior, getting inside and looking around the interior reveals a splendid assembly of materials and design features. There is not a square inch of dull straightforwardness. Whether it’s the dashboard, the central console, the door panels, the seats, or anywhere else, there must have been a team of artists enjoying themselves. Not to mention the sheer practicality of such a variety of storage options.

The car is a full seven-seater; it’s not just a case of ‘OK, we’ve got two in the front and three across the bench. The middle 3/4/5 can be slid back and forth and folded (the last even via a switch at the side of the rearmost 6/7 seats to aid egress); by the way, those back two easily fold forwards to create a massive luggage area if needs be and the rearmost seats are not just an afterthought: occupants here have their own charging points. A space-saver spare wheel is stowed under the boot.

Adult passengers at the back had good headroom, although one did not have enough middle row legroom. Kids will love it at the back as their own special space. All the various adaptations were very easily made.

Driving the Sorento was easy; outward visibility is good; the steering is accurate and the brakes work really well; riding in it was comfortable, with the suspension being nice and supple and the seats well-designed and cushioned.

As to the impressive infotainment set-up – as usual, a study of the handbook is necessary. The visual presentation is fine. How to get exactly what you want, including getting the voice command system to understand you, takes a little practice and patience. The Satellite Navigation System appears to be particularly sophisticated: you can even get this extended to an app on your phone that will guide you on foot to your exact ultimate destination if you have had to park some distance away.

The Kia Sorento is undoubtedly a very impressive vehicle with an almost bewildering amount of technology in an attractive and very versatile package, not to forget Kia’s 7-year warranty. That takes some beating.

Car reviewed: Kia Sorento ‘3’ 2.2 CRDi

on the road price as tested £32,440

  • 0-62mph 9.4secs
  • Top speed 126mph
  • Mechanical 2151cc 4-cylinder turbo-diesel engine
  • Fuel Economy WLTP Combined 42.2mpg
  • Power 199bhp@3800rpm
  • Torque 440Nm@1750-2750rpm
  • Dimensions MM 4800 L / 1900 W / 1695 H
  • CO2 emissions WLTP 176g/km
  • Transmission 8-speed DCT Auto AWD
  • Bootspace 616 litres / 2011 litres seats down

Tom Scanlan

Motoring Journalist

Tom Scanlan has written for a wide variety of magazines and newspapers, particularly the Reading Evening Post for ten years, having got into motoring journalism in 1973 via the somewhat unlikely back door of the British Forces Broadcasting Service. BFBS produced a weekly radio motoring show for the services overseas and Tom produced it, as well as interviewing experts and eventually reporting on cars.
He is into classic cars and has owned Porsche, Ferrari, pre-war Alvis and Rileys and currently owns his fifth old Alfa Romeo, a 1984 GTV 2.0.
In his spare time, Tom is a professional cricket coach.