Avoid the larger wheels fitted to top-spec cars and the Sorento is impressively comfortable over long distances. Its large size means it’s not ideal in town, though
All Kia Sorentos come with a 200hp 2.2-litre diesel engine, four-wheel drive and a six-speed manual gearbox as standard.
This engine’s punchy enough to pull a fully laden car up a steep hill without any fuss, returning claimed fuel economy of 49.6mpg. In real-world conditions you can expect it to manage around 35mpg, however. Many 2.0-litre diesel alternatives from VW, Skoda and Nissan can eke out more miles per gallon.
It’s reasonably quiet at motorway speeds and won’t have any trouble keeping up with fast-moving traffic but the engine can get a little noisy when you accelerate hard. It’ll reach 62mph from rest in nine seconds – exactly the same as the Hyundai Santa Fe and just a fraction slower than a comparable Skoda Kodiaq.
You get a great view out in the Kia Sorento but you’ll have to rely on that reversing camera when parking – it isn’t a small car by any stretch of the imagination
The standard six-speed manual gearbox is reasonably easy to use but the optional eight-speed automatic really helps take the stress out of long motorway journeys and lengthy traffic jams. It isn’t just smoother than the old car’s six-speed auto, it helps cut the Kia Sorento’s CO2 emissions down from 172g/km to 159g/km.
You also get four-wheel drive as standard on all Kia Sorentos – unlike in the Skoda Kodiaq, VW Tiguan Allspace and Nissan X-Trail. As a result, the Kia’s more than capable of dealing with an icy driveway but it’ll get left behind by the likes of the Land Rover Discovery Sport if you try tackling anything more daring than a muddy field.
The Kia Sorento’s raised ride height gives you a good view out over the road ahead, but the relatively large pillars between the front doors and the windscreen can make it a tad tricky to spot traffic approaching at junctions.
Rear visibility isn’t brilliant – the thick pillars beside the boot lid restrict your view when parking – but all models come with a reversing camera as standard. High-spec KX-4 cars even get a surround-view camera and a system that’ll steer for you into bay and parallel parking spaces.
Light steering helps make the Kia Sorento reasonably easy to manoeuvre around town – for a car this size anyway – but top-spec models struggle to iron out potholes as well as the Skoda Kodiaq or VW Tiguan Allspace thanks to their large 19-inch alloy wheels.
Head out onto a twisty country road and its body leans more than these cars too, so your passengers might start to feel a little car sick on long journeys. Thankfully, what the Kia Sorento loses out in sportiness, it claws back in comfort. It’s more relaxing to drive than the likes of the VW and Skoda and cruises along happily at motorway speeds with only a small amount of wind noise and tyre roar.
The Kia Sorento earned a five-star safety rating from Euro NCAP back in 2014 but these tests have been made significantly stricter since. As a result, you’ll want to pay extra for Kia’s optional Drive Wise package if you want the Sorento to be as safe as other more modern SUVs.
This pack includes blind spot detection and automatic emergency braking that’ll try to stop the car as quickly as possible if it detects an imminent collision. You even get traffic jam assist that’ll accelerate, brake and steer for you at slow speeds and adaptive cruise control that can match your speed to other cars before returning to your chosen speed when the road’s clear.