Out And About With The Kia Sorento

Kia SorentoThe option-packed, range-topping Kia Sorento KX-4 featured today is very spacious. I have been in smaller apartments. In fact, I’ve lived in smaller apartments; but unlike those dives, here it’s space that is used well. Kia have delivered a very complete SUV indeed. I like it very much but the elephant in the room has a big price tag pinned to its ear. This car costs a whopping £41,000 OTR in tested form. That’s quite a lot.

It is around £4k more expensive than Mitsubishi’s ceremonial barge, the Shogun, and competes on price with some of the prestige brand offerings. You don’t have to pay that of course; there are less expensive versions (See the Kia Sorento range here from around £28795) and, by buying one of those, I don’t think you’d be losing out too much on the things that really matter. For example, it’s the same 2.2L four-pot diesel engine throughout the range.Kia Sorento, DriveWrite Automotive

For a change, let’s start at the back. It’s a full seven seater with room to spare for all. As you can see in the images, with the third row of seats in position there’s room for the weekly shop. Fold those flat (a very quick and simple operation) and there’s space for family holiday luggage. The second row also folds flat for when you need to shift furniture or buy many things from Homebase. Great design – and there’s even a separate climate control function for the back along with lots of cubby space. Tools and a bit of extra storage are under the floor whilst the spare wheel clings to the underside like an escaping prisoner.

As stated, the interior is roomy and comfortable. We had leather but it’s not compulsory and those dashboard areas covered in plastic were textured and soft to the touch. The Sorento, with its intelligent four-wheel drive, rolls serenely over the ravaged roads of Britain (even with the oversized 19” alloys fitted) and, for such a big car, handling is of a high standard with very little body roll in the corners. There’s ample power (this big motor does the traffic light sprint in just over nine seconds) making overtaking the work of a moment. Our car featured the auto ‘box with manual override but there’s a regular shift available too. It’s a good drive for a vehicle in this class with three switchable modes: Normal, Sport and Eco. The latter gives a readout to help control your fuel-guzzling urges and should be useful on long, boring runs; Sport weighs up the steering and livens up progress but really the car is fine in Normal which is where it stayed most of the time.  Kia Sorento, DriveWrite Automotive

As mentioned, there was so much kit on this car that this article would read like a catalogue if I listed it all. Instead, I’ve scanned the specification and include it below, but highlights include that clever overhead 360° view technology – like having your own personal safety drone – plus rear view camera and parking sensors that make docking this leviathan an easy task. There’s a rear cross-traffic alert, lane-keeping, blind-spot detection (Note: I originally typed ‘blond-spot’ there and on balance that seems like a neat idea), heated and cooled seats, ABS, Climate, Bluetooth… goodness me, this Kia Sorento has got the lot.

Regrettably, this last week has been fraught with difficulties and irritants and I haven’t given the Sorento the workout it deserved. Instead it pottered about on local trips uncomplainingly and, as a consequence, the best fuel consumption we saw was around 29mpg which isn’t so bad for such a big motor. Kia reckon that 42mpg is achievable but in the real world on a decent run I’d be happy with mid-thirties.

As luck would have it, motoring journo Jess Shanahan, Editor of TurnEight.co.uk (thanks Jess!) took the KX-2 version of the Kia Sorento off to the Wildtracks Outdoor Activity Park to give it the beans around the slippery stuff. Watch Jess learn more about off-road driving first and then about five minutes into the video take the Sorento out solo to investigate its capabilities:

Let’s recap: The Kia Sorento is a full sized, AWD, seven-seat SUV with all the bells and whistles available either as standard or as option. Yes, the process of buying can get expensive on the premium versions but you have to remember that the Sorento comes with Kia’s now legendary warranty of seven years or 100k miles plus a year’s free KiaAssist.panoramic roof

The car has been shown to be rugged and dependable with proper off-road capability and a very comfortable on-road ride with power to spare. It has a pleasant and robust child-proof cabin with a large multi-function screen and, on the test car, a full length panoramic sunroof – a must have in my opinion. I’m impressed. I would genuinely be more critical if it warranted it, but it doesn’t. It’s a fine all-rounder, albeit a costly one in this guise. The only blot on the landscape is that it is up against some tough opposition in this price bracket. Maybe the warranty will swing your vote.Kia Sorento

Kia Sorento, driveWrite AutomotiveGeoff Maxted