Kia Sorento Review 2015.
For – practical, rugged, all-rounder with unbeatable guaranty.
Against – why isn’t it cuter?
MARBELA, Spain – Kia’s relentless move upmarket continues and the new big Sorento SUV reminds us that if you are offered an improving product, you won’t get away with paying rock-bottom, bargain prices.
If you want value for money these days, you’ll have to look at Dacia, or even mainstream brands like Renault or Fiat. Kia is now playing in the more rarefied atmosphere of Volkswagen, with pretensions of messing with BMW, Audi and Mercedes one day.
On the face of it, the new Sorento, described by Kia as making big strides in engineering, refinement and quality, and longer, lower, wider roomier and more practical than its predecessor, is a big disappointment. Remember the splash caused by the sensational looking and smaller Sportage SUV when it was first unveiled. Handsome, daring, eye-catching were some of the compliments flying around. The current range of Kia cars are also very good to look at. But the new Sorento is worthy but dull. It resembles just about every other big SUV on the market today. Certainly, the quality seems top-class, inside and out, almost German. But the Sorento has none of the pulse-quickening presence of the Sportage. Given that Kia has based its success on daring styling, allied with value for money and cast-iron guarantees, this is clearly a conscious decision to downplay the looks. I suppose when the top of the range Sorento costs just over £40,000, styling becomes less of an issue, although I can’t figure out why that should be.
To be fair to Kia, prices do start at a more reasonable-sounding £28,795, and you get seven seats, and all-wheel drive as standard on this third-generation model. All versions are powered by a 2.2-litre turbo-diesel engine. There are four trim levels, KX-1, KX-2, KX-3 and KX-4. Depending on model, buyers have the choice of six-speed manual or automatic transmission.
Safety and convenience technologies new to the Sorento include Advanced Smart Cruise Control, Blind Spot Detection, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Lane Departure Warning, Around View Monitoring, Adaptive Front Lighting and Speed Limit Information. It is 95mm longer than the second-generation Sorento, has an 80mm greater wheelbase, is 15mm lower and 5mm wider. The significance of these dimensions is that headroom and legroom have been improved in all three rows of seats, and there is up to 90 litres more luggage capacity.
The standard instrument cluster features clear, stylish, white-on-black graphics which deliver essential information at a glance, but in KX-3 and KX-4 versions this is replaced by a seven-inch display which adds an even more premium look to the dashboard and allows greater personalisation of the information provided. For the first time in a Kia, automatic models as well as manuals feature the company’s stop/start system.
The new Sorento features the Dynamax all-wheel-drive system first seen in the Sportage. All versions have Trailer Stability Assist to make towing safer.
Kia said its engineers have also striven to ensure the new model delivers more of a luxury-car ride and more engaging and precise on-road handling. Drive Mode Select is also fitted to versions with automatic transmission. This allows the driver to select three steering modes, from a more comfort-oriented to a firmer, more sporty feel, according to preference. It also modifies the automatic transmission shift pattern. A six-speed automatic gearbox is optional in place of the six-speed manual on KX-2 and KX-3 and standard with KX-4. From KX-2 upwards, buyers have the choice of ordering the car without the self-levelling suspension feature at a saving of £500.
The range-topping KX-4 has a 10-way power-adjustable driver’s seat and an eight-way adjustable front passenger seat, Adaptive Cruise Control, the 360-degree Around View Monitor, the Smart Park Assist System, Blind Spot Detection and Rear Cross Traffic Alert. That should be enough technology for you.
Prices are getting a bit steep over at Kia these days, but given that the company has moved itself from bargain-basement wannabe to German pretender solely on its own ambition and mission capability, that shouldn’t be surprising. Given that most of its products are now noticeable by their great looks, and if that’s not enough, a deal-making guarantee, its success looks guaranteed. It seems a bit out of character that Kia has bottled the chance to make the Sorento appealing to look at as well.
|2.2 CRDi 6-speed manual KX-1||£28,795|
|2.2 CRDi 6-speed manual KX-2||£31,995|
|2.2 CRDi 6-speed auto KX-2||£33,745|
|2.2 CRDi 6-speed manual KX-3||£35,845|
|2.2 CRDi 6-speed auto KX-3||£37,595|
|2.2 CRDi 6-speed auto KX-4||£40,995|
(Kia provided flights, hotels)
|Kia Sorento KX-4|
|Engine:||2.2 litre, 4-cylinder diesel|
|Power:||194 hp @ 3,800|
|Torque:||441 Nm @ 1,750-2,750|
|Acceleration:||0-60 mph-100 km/h 9.6 seconds|
|Top Speed:||124 mph-200 km/h|
|Fuel Consumption:||42.2 mpg-6.7 l/km|
|Suspension:||MacPherson/double wishbones, coil springs|
|Boot capacity:||142/1,662 litres|
|Competition:||Land Rover Discovery Sport, VW Touareg, Mercedes GLA, Hyundai Santa Fe, BMW X3, Honda CR-V, Ford Edge, Audi Q5, Volvo XC-60, Lexus NX|
|For:||practical, rugged, all-rounder with unbeatable guaranty|
|Against:||why isn’t it cuter?|