Kia Sorento 4×4 (2010 – ) expert review

By Andy Goodwin, 25th June 2009

The verdict

The Kia Sorento offers great value for money. It’s large, spacious, well equipped and carries an impressive seven-year warranty.

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Expert rating:

3.7

Pros

  • Relaxing drive
  • Impressive interior
  • Strong warranty

Cons

  • Questionable off-road ability
  • Limited engine range
  • Conservative styling

Full Review

1. Exterior

The Kia Sorento has been brought up-to-date and has a relatively simple design, which looks classy without trying too hard. It adopts the chrome-edged Kia family grille and has angular lines with smooth edges. Black plastic mouldings at the bottom of the front and rear bumpers, and along the sills, are a practical feature which should help avoid stone chips.
Our rating: 3

2. Interior

As this is Kia’s premium off-roader, there’s plenty to enjoy inside. The wood-grain dash inserts and black interior upholstery – cream leather is available in KX-3 trim – look well-finished and expensive. Dials are housed in three large metal cowlings and glow red as you start the car. The feel isn’t of a cheap car dressed to impress, but of a quality product through and through.
Our rating: 3

3. Practicality

There’s 15 per cent more luggage space than the old Sorento, which equates to 531 litres in the boot and 1,525 with all rear seats stowed. In Sorentos with all seven seats occupied there’s only 111 litres left to play with, so you might need a roof box or trailer if you plan on using your Kia as a people carrier. Speaking of towing, the move to a monocoque body has seen the Sorento’s towing ability shrink by 1,000kgs. It can now pull a 2,500kg braked trailer, which is still enough for all but the biggest caravans.
Our rating: 3

4. Ride and handling

With fully independent suspension it’s relaxing to drive, soaking up road imperfections and keeping tyre roar to a minimum. The speed-sensitive steering is well weighted, while grip and composure are impressive. We drove it off-road on a wet and rutted track, and although it wasn’t a fully conclusive test of its abilities, it proved it can take rough terrain in its stride. Potholes can send a thud through to the cabin and the Sorento can be unsettled by speed bumps. The driving experience is a pleasant one, made easy by light controls and good road holding.
Our rating: 4

5. Performance

There’s a choice of either a petrol or diesel –the latter gets our recommendation. The 2.2-litre CRDi has 194bhp and 311lb/ft of torque, providing ample acceleration, with 0-62mph covered in 9.6 seconds in the four-wheel drive six-speed manual. The optional six-speed automatic works well, adding to the relaxed driving experience. The 2.4-litre petrol produces 172bhp and is offered only as a two-wheel drive model with six-speed manual gearbox and five seats. It accelerates from 0-62mph in 10.5 seconds. Two and four-wheel drive is offered with the diesel, the rear-wheel drive only car offering improved economy.
Our rating: 4

6. Running costs

For a seven-seat SUV, Kia has made a good job of keeping running costs down. Only the 2.4-litre petrol has economy in the low-thirties (33.2mpg combined), with the CRDi 4WD auto being the least economical diesel (38.2mpg) and the CRDi 2WD manual being the most ecomonical Sorento (43.5mpg). Emissions of 171g/km to 203g/km are all impressively low for this size of vehicle.
Our rating: 4

7. Reliability

Time will tell if the new Sorento is as reliable as we expect it to be. Owners have a seven-year or 100,000-mile warranty to rely on, so long as they stick to Kia-approved servicing (every 12 months or 12,500 miles for the petrol and 20,000 miles for the diesel) and repairs.
Our rating: 4

8. Safety

The safety spec isn’t affected by trim, so all new Sorentos are five-star EuroNCAP cars. Six airbags, active front headrests, seatbelt pre-tensioners, stability control, downhill brake control, descent control and hill-start assist are all included.
Our rating: 4

9. Equipment

Four trim grades badged Sorento 1, KX-1, KX-2 and KX-3 denotes specification, while ‘KX’ cars are four-wheel drive. Sorento 1 and KX-1 get black wood dash and door trims, manual air conditioning, six-speaker stereo with USB, aux and iPod cable, leather-trimmed steering wheel and gearshift knob. KX-2 models add metallic dash and door trim, climate and cruise control, heated front seats and reversing sensors while the KX3 gets 18-inch alloys, leather upholstery, upgraded stereo, panoramic sunroof and a rear spoiler.
Our rating: 4

10. Why buy?

The Kia Sorento is now a much more modern and accomplished car, and its low starting price is staggeringly good value for money. It’s a serious competitor to the Hyundai Santa Fe.
Our rating: 4

Expert review 3.7stars

  • Exterior3
  • Interior3
  • Practicality3
  • Ride and handling4
  • Performance4
  • Running costs4
  • Reliability4
  • Safety4
  • Equipment4
  • Why buy?4

Our recommendations

Best on a budget:
Sorento 2.4 1 2WD
The most affordable Sorento is still well-equipped
Best-seller:
Sorento 2.2 CRDi 1 2WD
Torquey diesel is the popular choice
Blow the budget:
Sorento 2.2 CRDi KX3 4WD
Four-wheel drive and impressive kit on this Sorento

With fully independent suspension it’s relaxing to drive, soaking up road imperfections and keeping tyre roar to a minimum