FITTING FLAGSHIP: The previous generation Sorento was a bit of a legend amongst the caravan fraternity, thanks to its keen pricing and 3,500kg towing weight
Now, the family favourite has grown up, with a brand new monocoque chassis, better on road manners, improved quality and a still hefty 2,500kg maximum towing weight. And don’t forget the peace of mind of an unrivalled seven year, 100,000 mile warranty package. Owners of the previous generation Sorento will think they have died and gone to heaven when climbing into the new model. It truly is a world away from the previous car, with a smart fascia full of decent quality mouldings and an overall feeling of solidity and longevity about it. Things could be improved further, had Kia adopted the soft-touch plastics found in most of the Sorento’s rivals, though. There’s the versatility of seven-seats for the first time, and although strictly speaking there is room for seven adults, it would be best to restrict access to the rearmost seats to children for maximum comfort. Folding them down when not in use is simple and just requires a tug of a strap, resulting in a flat loadspace, and up to 1,525 litres of room. Supportive leather seats are standard on all models except the entry level 1 and KX-1 specification levels.
The 2.2-litre turbodiesel housed under the bonnet is a brand new unit and is similar to that found under the nose of the Sedona MPV. It’s a much more refined engine than the previous 2.5 CRDi unit, and produces 194bhp and 311lb ft of torque. It equips the Kia with sprightly performance, and feels refined and flexible right across the rev range. It’s clear that Kia has paid closer attention to its road manners and as a result the Sorento is much more accomplished machine. Grip is strong thanks to the four-wheel-drive system and handling safe and predictable. There’s considerably less lean than in many rival offroaders, while the ride comfort is smooth and supple.
For the first time, there’s the availability of entrylevel 2WD versions, for those that like the looks of an SUV without the performance and economy deficits associated with a heavy four-wheel-drive system. All models are well equipped with six airbags, air conditioning, alloy wheels, roof rails, front fog lights, four electric windows and hill start assist. KX-2 trim adds leather upholstery, heated seats, cruise control, larger 18-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone climate control, privacy glass and rear parking sensors, while KX-3 models gain xenon headlamps, rain sensor, rear spoiler, electric seats and a panoramic sunroof. Prices start at £22,495 for a seven-seat 2WD model in entry level 1 trim. A flagship 4WD Sorento in top-flight 3 trim and automatic gearbox reaches a heady £29,795. Whether or not Kia buyers will be prepared to fork out that kind of money for a top-spec Sorento, only time will tell.
RIVALS: CITROËN C-CROSSER, HYUNDAI SANTA FE, MAZDA CX-7, PEUGEOT 4007
- Engine: 2199cc, 4-cylinder, turbodiesel
- Gearbox: 6-speed manual
- Max power: 194bhp at 3,800rpm
- Max torque: 311lb ft at 1,800 to 2,500rpm
- Max towing weight: 2,500kg
- Max speed: 118mph
- 0-62mph: 9.6secs
- Combined consumption: 42.8mpg
- CO2 emissions (taxband): 174g/km (H)
- Bootspace: 111/531/1,525litres
- Insurance group: 27