Kia Sorento Review & Prices

The Kia Sorento is a large, spacious seven-seat SUV that’s comfortable and well equipped. Hybrid versions won’t make great tow cars, though, and badge snobs may scoff at the price

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RRP £41,995 - £57,025 Avg. Carwow saving £3,125 off RRP
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Reviewed by Carwow after extensive testing of the vehicle.

What's good

  • Spacious, practical interior
  • Well-equipped
  • Easy seat-folding mechanism

What's not so good

  • Four-wheel drive and auto only
  • Hybrid engine is a bit noisy
  • Pretty expensive

Find out more about the Kia Sorento

Is the Kia Sorento a good car?

The Kia Sorento is the seven-seat SUV for when you really need seven seats. Some seven-seat SUVs are fine if you only plan to use them for the occasional journey. But if you regularly carry up to six passengers you’ll want a car that doesn’t require the flexibility of a contortionist to get into the third row.

Sound like you? Then the Kia Sorento should definitely be on your shortlist along with alternatives such as the Skoda Kodiaq and Peugeot 5008. However with Kia pushing the starting price of the new Sorento to nearly £50,000 you might also be looking at the Land Rover Discovery Sport or Mercedes GLB.

A cliche is to talk about cars being Tardis-like in terms of interior space, but we’ll not use that analogy. Instead, for a Doctor Who reference, we’ll say the Kia Sorento is like the recent Doctor, Jodie Whittaker. It’s smart, stylish and the right seven-seater for our times.

You see, for this latest Sorento, the mainstay of the range is now a so-called self-charging hybrid. A plug-in hybrid is also available, and Kia continues to offer diesel power too.

While the design for the new car has been updated, it still looks like a rough, tough SUV, just a bit sharper. The grille has a new shape and comes with integrated LED headlights.

At the rear, there are new vertical rear lights and the Sorento nameplate is now across the bottom of the bootlid.

Step inside and you’ll find an equally stylish interior. All around there are lots of nice, soft-touch materials and chrome-looking trims. The seats are comfortable and there’s a decent amount of adjustment for the driver’s seat and steering wheel. Lumbar adjustment is standard, which is welcome news for back-pain sufferers.

Every car gets a large digital driver’s display and a touchscreen infotainment system. It’s not quite as slick as the system you get in a Mercedes GLB, but at least Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are standard, so you can use your phone’s navigation apps instead. Speaking of phones – there are USB ports next to every seat, so everyone should be able to charge their phone or hook up their tablet.

The Sorento lives up to the ‘U’ in Sports Utility Vehicle better than most family seven seaters – it’s roomy and relaxing. The Sports part? Hmmm, not so much

But the Kia Sorento’s party trick is its seats. The latest car is longer and wider than the model it replaced and that translated into extra space for the interior.

Three adults should be comfortable across all three seats in the middle row. They aren’t separate like you get in a Peugeot 5008 but they can move backwards and forwards and recline.

Adults in seats six and seven will be reasonably comfortable too. Sure, it’s not quite as roomy and as flexible as the middle row, but tall folk will be happier here than they would in a Land Rover Discovery Sport. Unlike in the old Sorento, you can get into the back seats from both sides of the car.

Folding the seats down is simple and when you do, you get a huge, flat boot – 2011 litres in all – although a Skoda Kodiaq’s is bigger again. With all seven seats in place, the boot is pretty small and annoyingly the luggage cover can’t be stowed away under the boot floor, but on top of it.

There are three flavours of engine to choose between. There’s a 1.6-litre 226hp petrol-electric hybrid or a 2.2-litre turbo diesel with 200hp. If you want to be able to travel a reasonable distance on electric power alone there’s also a 265hp plug-in hybrid. All three come with four-wheel drive and an automatic gearbox.

The hybrid and plug-in hybrid feel good to drive around town. The initial spurt of electric power is handy coming out of junctions. Both have the same 1.6-litre petrol engine, which does sound a bit noisy when you rev hard. And while you can pull a mid-sized caravan behind either hybrid, if you regularly pull something bigger or do lots of motorway miles, you might want to go with the diesel. Official fuel economy figures are around 40mpg for both, but these figures will fall to mid-30s in the real world.

On a twisty road, the Sorento does what you’d want it to do, which is mainly not swaying about too much and making your passengers car sick. You won’t be setting lap times in the Sorento, but then why would you in a seven-seat SUV?

You might baulk at parting with the best part of £50k for a Kia Sorento, but if you use seven seats regularly, it really is one of the best of its kind. And you should be able to get the price down, without haggling, when you buy through carwow.

Check out our latest Kia Sorento deals. You can also find some great deals on a used Kia Sorento as well as other used Kia models. And when it's time to sell your car, carwow can help with that as well.

How much is the Kia Sorento?

The Kia Sorento has a RRP range of £41,995 to £57,025. However, with Carwow you can save on average £3,125. Prices start at £39,158 if paying cash. Monthly payments start at £486. The price of a used Kia Sorento on Carwow starts at £27,995.

Our most popular versions of the Kia Sorento are:

Model version Carwow price from
1.6 T-GDi HEV 4 5dr Auto £48,169 Compare offers
2.2 CRDi 4 5dr DCT £47,278 Compare offers

Now, that question isn’t all that straightforward to answer. You see, Kia has recently slimmed down the Sorento range, doing away with the old ‘2’, ‘3’ and ‘4’ models and replacing them with just one trim called ‘Edition’.

With prices starting at just under £50,000 for the diesel and just over for the self-charging hybrid – or around £7,000 extra for the plug-in model – it's certainly not a cheap car. However, Edition models come absolutely loaded with kit, which makes the price easier to justify.

Performance and drive comfort

The Kia Sorento is comfortable, particularly over long distances, but the trade off is that it's not the most fun in corners

In town

The Sorento is a big car, but it doesn’t feel too clumsy around town. It helps that you can set the driver’s seat very high, even by SUV standards, for a really clear view out.

If the budget stretches to the plug-in hybrid, this is the Sorento to choose for town driving. It has an all-electric range of up to 35 miles, so you can commute or do the school run in near silence. Despite weighing more than two tonnes, the plug-in is quite lively away from the mark when running on the electric motor.

The regular hybrid won’t run on electricity alone for long, but it’s still a quiet and relaxing car to drive around down. The diesel can be a bit gruff, but the automatic gearbox makes it just as easy to drive as the hybrids, which are also automatics.

Considering the Sorento’s size, parking isn’t all that difficult. Light steering helps, as does the surround-view camera system that gives a clear view all around the car.

Ride comfort around town could be better, as the car tends to fidget over imperfect road surfaces.

On the motorway

The Sorento’s ride smoothes out at speed. On motorways and dual-carriageways, the big Kia is comfortable and controlled.

It’s reasonably quiet, too. There’s some wind noise, but not enough to really get on your nerves. At a steady cruise all three versions keep engine noise to a minimum.

There’s enough punch to accelerate quickly into any gap in the outside lane, although if you are looking for a performance SUV the likes of the BMW X3 range includes faster models than any Sorento.

If you are going to spend a lot of time on the motorway, give the diesel careful consideration. It may not be a popular type of engine any more, but you can expect better long-distance economy from the diesel than either of the hybrids.

On a twisty road

Choose ‘sport’ mode, and the Sorento’s steering adds more weight and the throttle response is sharper. Even so, it’s a competent and tidy car to drive on a country road rather than a thrilling one.

The Sorento doesn’t lean too hard if you corner enthusiastically, but you couldn’t describe it as agile. You are always aware that this is a big and heavy car, especially the plug-in hybrid which carries some extra timber compared with the other two models.

Sprint between corners in the hybrids and you’ll wake up the petrol engine, which sounds strained at high revs.

The Kia isn’t a bad car to drive on a country road, not by any means. Just don’t expect a convincing sports car impression when the road starts to twist and turn.

Space and practicality

The interior is practical and passengers get lots of space, but there are alternatives with bigger boots

Slide into the driver’s seat, and you’ll find the trademark high-up driving position of an SUV is present and correct. In fact if you raise the seat up all the way you’ll be sat higher than in most similar cars.

Electric seat adjustment is standard, including adjustable lumbar, so you should have no trouble finding a sound driving position. In an ideal world we’d like a little more adjustment from the steering wheel, but we’re being really picky.

The front seats themselves are quite wide and could be more supportive in corners. For staying fresh and relaxed on long journeys, though, they’re just the ticket.

Storage space is generally good, with a couple of quirks. The front door bins are a healthy size, but a bit oddly shaped so drinks bottles can be a bit awkward to lift in and out. Better use the cupholders instead. There are two of them just to the side of the gear selector.

The glovebox isn’t the biggest, but there’s loads of storage under the armrest.

You get USB sockets galore as well as a 12-volt socket for keeping devices charged up on the move, as well as a wireless charging pad for compatible mobile phones.

Space in the back seats

Every Sorento has seven seats. Clambering into the back row doesn’t require as much athleticism as in some seven-seaters, thanks to the way the middle row seats tilt and slide well out of the way. You sit low to the floor with your knees pushed up high in the third row, which isn’t very comfy on a long trip but is fine for short hops. Adults will fit, but children will be happier back here.

The middle row is more grown-up friendly. There’s loads of legroom, and passengers can recline the seats if they want some shuteye.

Kia has included air vents, cupholders, and USB ports for middle and rear-seat passengers – a lot of thought has gone into designing this cabin.

Boot space

With all three rows upright, there’s room for a carry-on suitcase and a soft bag. So if you plan on taking seven on a family holiday, you’ll need a big roofbox.

If seats six and seven are usually stowed away, boot space is a lot more generous at 616 litres (or 608 litres in the hybrid). There’s even more room behind the second row in a Skoda Kodiaq – 630 litres in the seven-seat version, or a whopping 720 litres in the five-seat model – but we can’t see many owners being disappointed.

Fold the middle seats as well, and you get a huge space that’s easy to make the most of – just over 2,000 litres in the diesel and just under in the hybrid. The floor is almost flat with just a slight slope where the boot meets the middle row seat backs, and there’s no load lip to lift items over. Self-levelling suspension is standard, so however much clobber you throw in the back the Sorento won’t sag under the load.

Interior style, infotainment and accessories

The Sorento is stylish and well-equipped, but material quality isn't quite up to the standard of other premium SUVs at this price

Climb inside the Sorento, and you’re greeted by a solidly made cabin, built from high-quality materials.

Prod the top dashboard or push and pull at the doors and you get the impression that the Kia Sorento is built to last. There’s a bit of a mish-mash of different materials and textures, though – it’s as if Kia has thrown lots of ideas at the cabin of its range-topper. The US is a big market for the Sorento, and here and there that Stateside influence shows. Less would be more, if you see what we mean.

Really go looking for them, and you’ll find scratchy plastic on the lower doors where the very best premium SUVs are still finished to a high standard, but overall this is a good looking, upmarket cabin.

That goes double now that Kia only offers the Sorento in one specification with even more equipment than the old top-spec car. It comes with black leather upholstery, a black headlining, metal scuff plates, and metal pedals.

High-tech features include a head-up display, which shows key information directly in the driver’s line of sight. If you’ve never driven a car with a head-up display before, give it a try on the test drive. You won’t want to go back to driving a car without one.

In place of conventional dials you now get a configurable display. These days, would you expect anything else in a £50k SUV? You can tweak what’s shown to prioritise different information using buttons on the steering wheel.

High up in the centre of the dash sits the infotainment screen. It measures 10.25 inches across, and the graphics are crisp and clear. Shortcut buttons surrounding the screen make it easy to find your way around the various menus, although the screen can be a little laggy in its responses. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are included if you’d rather the screen mirrored your smartphone.

It’s good to see that air con controls have been separate from the infotainment screen, which makes them easier to use on the move.

MPG, emissions and tax

Starting with the diesel, fuel economy is 42.8mpg and emissions are 173g/km. For a large car weighing close to two tonnes those aren’t bad figures, although if you choose a lighter and less powerful SUV you’ll probably stretch each gallon that bid further.

The full hybrid will return 38.2 and emit 168g/km of carbon dioxide. So, the diesel and hybrid are fairly close on fuel economy. As a rule of thumb, the hybrid will be more economical around town, while the diesel will use less fuel on a long journey.

On paper, the plug-in hybrid is streets ahead of either with economy of around 176.6mpg and 38g/km of CO2. You’ll need to keep the battery well charged to achieve such low running costs, though. The plug-in hybrid makes a lot less financial and environmental sense if you can’t charge the car up often.

The plug-in hybrid is the smart choice for company car drivers, thanks to a very low benefit-in-kind tax banding. On the other hand, there’s not a lot in it for private buyers. First-year Vehicle Excise Duty is minimal for the plug-in, while the other two will face charges that are just above average. However, after this, all will cost the same and will face the extra cost in years two to six for vehicles priced over £40,000 at the time of purchase.

Safety and security

The Sorento scored five stars out of five when it was tested by Euro NCAP’s safety experts in 2020. It earned an 82% rating for adult occupant protection, 85% for protecting child occupants, 63% for pedestrian protection, and 87% for its safety assistance systems.

‘Edition’ spec cars come with a whole alphabet soup of safety kit, including DAW (Drive Attention Warning), FCA (Forward Collision Avoidance Assist), ISLA (Intelligent Speed Limit Assist), and LFA (Lane Follow Assist) to name just a few. There’s also TSA (Trailer Stability Assist) to help keep your caravan or horsebox rubber-side down and pointing in the right direction.

Security equipment includes an alarm, an immobiliser, and locking wheel nuts.

Reliability and problems

Kia generally performs very well in reliability and owner satisfaction surveys. There’s some variation from model to model, but the picture is typically pretty rosey.

The latest Sorento is still quite new, but there are no early signs that buyers should have anything to worry about. We’d expect the big Kia to prove reliable given the strong reputation of earlier generations.

If something does need fixing, there’s always Kia’s impressive seven-year 100,000-mile warranty to fall back on.

Buy or lease the Kia Sorento at a price you’ll love
We take the hassle and haggle out of car buying by finding you great deals from local and national dealers
RRP £41,995 - £57,025 Avg. Carwow saving £3,125 off RRP
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