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Expert Review

Kia Sorento SUV (2017 - 2020) review

Check out the Kia Sorento, a big, luxurious and impressively equipped seven-seat SUV ideal for families and offering a viable alternative to the Skoda Kodiaq, Land Rover Discovery Sport and more

The Auto Trader expert verdict:


The Kia Sorento operates in a fiercely competitive SUV sector packed with talented rivals but is an impressive package in its own right. It looks good, is practical and has tons of luxurious features but it won’t cost the earth to buy or run. It’s also comfortable and relaxing to drive, all of which is exactly what you’d want out of a modern family car.

Reasons to buy:

  • tickPractical, high-quality interior
  • tickHeaving standard kit list
  • tickComfortable and relaxing to drive

At a glance:

Running costs for a Kia Sorento

If you’re expecting the Sorento to be a cheap option, don’t. It’s very similar in price to many other big seven-seat SUVs, while some – most notably the excellent Skoda Kodiaq – are available for a lot less. The Kodiaq and Land Rover Discovery Sport are also available with smaller engines and without four-wheel drive, which makes them even more affordable and cheaper to run, while that’s not an option with the Sorento. That said, the big Kia comes with more standard kit than most rivals, so it’s still pretty good value for money, and resale values shouldn’t be too ruinous, either. Whichever version you choose, you’ll get an official average fuel economy figure just shy of 50mpg, and there’s less than 1mpg between the best and worst variants, and the same trend occurs with CO2 emissions. That puts it there-or-thereabouts with its rivals for efficiency.
Expert rating: 3/5

Reliability of a Kia Sorento

Look at surveys like the Warranty Direct Reliability Index, and you’ll see Kia’s products do a solid – if not mind-blowing – job of proving dependable. The brand currently ranks mid-table in the study’s manufacturer rankings. As an individual model, however, the Sorento (in previous generations) has been one of Kia’s weakest performers, with a very mediocre score. That said, there’s no arguing with the company’s very generous seven-year/100,000-mile warranty.
Expert rating: 4/5

Safety for a Kia Sorento

It’s getting rarer for cars to have a different amount of safety kit depending on which trim you go for, but that’s the case with the Sorento. All models come with the basics, including stability control, six airbags and active front headrests, but you have to upgrade if you want lane-departure warning, automatic high-beam headlamps and a speed-limit information function. And blind-spot detection, warnings if someone is crossing behind you when reversing and automatic emergency braking around town are all confined to the top of the range model and not even available as options on others. When lots of much smaller, much cheaper cars have this important feature as standard throughout the range these days, this looks a little stingy from Kia.
Expert rating: 3/5

How comfortable is the Kia Sorento

The Sorento isn’t the most polished car of its type to drive, but it does everything you want it to do with impressive ease. Most importantly, it provides a smooth, comfortable ride at any speed and on any surface. Models with bigger wheels do feel more jittery over urban lumps and bumps than those on smaller wheels, but it’s nothing that ruins the experience. Chuck in the quietness it displays on the road, and you have a car that’s very relaxing to drive long distances in. The Sorento doesn’t feel as sharp in the bends as some other big SUVs, but it always feels secure. Even when compared with other large seven-seat SUVs, the Sorento is very spacious and practical. The middle row of seats has generous head and legroom, allowing tall passengers to stretch out, and there’s even enough space in the third row to accommodate adults reasonably comfortably. What’s more, there’s still a half-decent amount of boot space with all seven seats in place, and a massive loadspace when you’re travelling five-up. To cap it all, the middle row folds down completely flush when you need to maximise your cargo-carrying capability, meaning there are no steps or slopes in the gargantuan loadbay. Criticisms? Well, the middle row is split 40/20/40, rather than having the three equally-sized individual chairs the most practical seven-seaters have, but we’re splitting hairs there. This is still a cracking family car.
Expert rating: 4/5

Features of the Kia Sorento

As with all its models Kia offers a straightforward numbered range structure, topped by sportier looking GT-Line models. Even the most basic trim has air-conditioning, electric windows, cruise control, rear parking sensors and an infotainment system including DAB, Bluetooth and connectivity to your phone viaAndroid Auto and Apple CarPlay. Going up a level gets you front parking sensors, leather, heated front seats front and back and an upgraded touch-screen infotainment with built-in navigation and a reversing camera. Things get fancier still beyond that, the Sorento offering a genuinely luxurious spec if you’re willing to pay.
Expert rating: 4/5

Power for a Kia Sorento

All Sorentos use the same 2.2-litre four-cylinder diesel and, with 200 horsepower, it’s not short of pulling power. That grunt is available across the rev range too, meaning you don’t have to work the gears or rev it hard to make progress. The six-speed manual gearbox is fine but the eight-speed automatic option probably suits the car better, shifting smoothly and seamlessly at all times for a more relaxing drive.
Expert rating: 4/5

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