It’s big, it’s bold, it’s…bravely priced!
This is the all-new fourth generation Kia Sorento 7-seater large SUV. Forget the previous editions, some of which weren’t the best looking SUVs around let’s be honest. Forget what you remember of the quality of the early models. Forget delicate tech and fragile fabrics of history past. In fact forget everything you thought you knew about the Kia Sorento. Prepared to be wowed by the Korean car company’s latest offering.
Kia has worked hard to improved the showroom appeal of what, to date, has been a sensible and solid, if not entirely exciting family hauler choice. The new car is not only sharp-suited and good-looking with rakish lines and an imposing and rather upmarket stance, but the interior is packed with neat design and thoughtful touches.
Prices start from £38,845 for the ‘2’ spec entry-level petrol version. That gets a 1.6 T-GDi four-cylinder hybrid engine producing 226bhp, which propels this two-tonne beast from rest to 62mph in 8.7 seconds and on to 119mph. Fuel consumption is about 40mpg and CO2 emissions are up to 168g/km.
There’s also a 2.2-litre diesel unit producing 200bhp and achieving 0-62mph in 9.1 seconds and 127mph. Fuel consumption is slightly improved by a couple of mpg but emissions are 176g/km. In mid-level ‘3’ spec this will set you back about £41k. Sorentos come with all-wheel drive, including a terrain-select system. The diesel gets an 8-speed dual clutch auto, while the petrol has a 6-speed automatic.
At the top end, the ‘4’-spec car comes with all the gadgets, leather upholstery, all-round cameras and a price tag to match.
Driving a ‘4’ petrol you learn three things. Firstly you want for nothing; it’s got all the kit and more. All the safety and driver’s aid features, as well as the comfort tech such as an excellent infotainment system are all present and correct. Even the dashboard screens are big and bold with great displays and interactivity.
In terms of space, the driver and front passenger can stretch out and admire the expansive view over the substantial bonnet, but the second row passengers will feel pretty well catered for too. And if you must carry adults in the third row, it is possible, but it’s ideal for children who even get their own A/C controls and USB charging ports. There remains usable luggage space even with the third row in place, fold the seats though and it’s gargantuan.
Talking of which, to my second point – this thing is big! At least by UK standards. The massive instrument panel and centre screen serve to emphasise the sensation of bigness when you climb up into this vehicle and sit behind the steering wheel.
However, if right now you’re wondering whether the size will be a bit intimidating and unwieldy on British roads, don’t. This car may not be engineered or tuned to be set up as a sports car, but Kia has rightly focussed on making it accessible, reasonably engaging and easy to pilot. It successfully employs the big-car-that-shrinks-around-you trick. On the go, the size doesn’t concern, the car feels at home in town and its impressive road presence doesn’t translate to difficult bulk. The good all-around visibility makes it easy to place and judge, and cameras help you to park it.
Finally, forget the diesel and just go for the petrol, it’s smoother, accelerates more eagerly off the line, is just as thrifty and clean, has better brakes (at least based on the experience of the back-to-back run at the UK launch event I attended) and is simply more satisfying to drive.
Overall there is no question at all that this is an awesome full-size family carry-all and if I hesitate to unreservedly recommend it, it’s for one reason alone – the price. The top spec car, which is what you want, because of all the cool stuff on it, is £47k. That sort of money is getting you into Land Rover Discovery Sport and Audi Q5 territory. Nonetheless, the Sorento is well worth a dekho and putting on the short list – take it for a test drive, because it may just surprise you.
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Big Thanks to
Mohamed Ali Humaid
Partha Srinivasan (www.parthans.com)
Isaac Bouchard (www.bespokeautos.com)
Reza Adil (@Alizarde.Cigars)
Mohammed Qasim (William E Henley Management Services www.wehms.com)
Saraj Abbasi (www.virtuosodesign.london)
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