3 2.2 CRDi DCT8 AWD
things, they say, come in
threes. Bearing this out is Kias
new 7-seat SUV, the Sorento, which
offers three different powerplant
saving plug-in hybrid;
and a torquey
WE RECENTLY REVIEWED the self-charging
petrol-electric hybrid, and it is certainly very persuasive. That noted,
there are still many drivers reluctant to give up the pulling power of a torque-rich
diesel and for them Kia offer a 2.2-litre turbodiesel that's well endowed with
'grunt', serving up a very muscular 324lb ft allowing it to haul an impressive
The 'rule of three' also applies to the roles the Sorento can play: with three
rows of seats, all-wheel drive and a smooth-shifting 8-speed automatic transmission,
the turbodiesel Sorento not only makes an excellent tow-car for horseboxes,
boats and caravans but it will also move seven in comfort or transport an impressive
2,011 litres of cargo in its cavernous loadbay.
Given its across-the-board repertoire you might expect its body to be more utilitarian
than dreamboat. Think again park this all-new fourth generation Sorento
next to a German-blooded prestige SUV and the Kia holds its head high. Standing
1.7 metres tall and measuring 1.9 metres wide, its well-crafted lines make it
appear sleek and deceptively smaller than its 4.8-metre footprint.
befits its place at the top of Kia's SUV line-up (which also includes the Niro,
Stonic and Sportage) this latest Sorento is a tasty bit of kit. Fronted by a
classy reworking of the brand's trademark 'tiger nose' grille and short front
and rear overhangs, the Sorento gives off an assertive premium class air that
benefits from some 'tough' visual nods to the SUV breed such as the front skid
plate and wheelarch protection mouldings. The distinctive D-pillar treatment
and light clusters cut into the rear haunches highlight the muscular rear-end
treatment while five-arm 19-inch alloy wheels keep the Sorento's silhouette
smart and sassy.
you sit at a height
that is commanding,
surprisingly you dont
feel that youve
up to get there.
The driving position is
first-rate and even with
the seat jacked up
hat-wearers will feel
totally at home.
The heated and smartly
upholstered black leather
accommodate XXL body
sizes and their well-
profiled bolstering will
keep you in place both
off the beaten track or
when pressing on
through the twisties...
But there is way more to this new Kia seven-seater than just some stylish power
dressing: under the skin there's much to impress including generous accommodation
for adults in all three rows. Starting with the front cabin pull open
a door and your first impression will be of a striking and inviting interior
packed with high-tech gear and sporty leather-upholstered seats.
While you sit at a height that is commanding, surprisingly you don't feel that
you've climbed up to get there; entry and exit is easy-peasy. The cabin is welcomingly
spacious and the feeling of roominess easily matches what you'd find inside
'full-fat' SUVs from the likes of Audi, BMW and Volvo.
The driving position is first-rate and even with the seat jacked up the generous
headroom will make hat-wearers feel totally at home. The seats themselves are
smartly upholstered in tactile black leather and will comfortably accommodate
XXL body sizes; they also benefit from quick-to-warm three-stage heating and
serve up plenty of support in all the right places, plus their well-profiled
bolstering will keep you in place both off the beaten track or when pressing
on through the twisties. The passenger gets electric seat adjustment but the
driver goes one better, with full 8-way power as well as power-adjustable lumbar
Behind the heated wheel is a very nice place to be thanks to excellent visibility
that lets you see what's happening at all four corners and a clear view down
the bonnet that makes placing the Sorento a no-brainer in traffic and when you're
off-road. The 2.2 turbodiesel model is comprehensively kitted out with an easy-to-use
10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment and navigation display sited top dead centre
of the fascia plus, ahead of the driver, a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster
that's easy on the eyes day and night.
Drivers will also give the 'proper' climate controls they don't need
to be operated by stabbing the main screen with your fingertip the thumbs-up.
Commendably, and unlike some carmakers, Kia hasn't gone overboard with 'digital'
and the foolproof heating and ventilation controls are so much easier and far
less distracting to adjust on the move than having to take your eyes off the
road to finger-dance on a touchscreen. Particularly easy to use are the neat,
high-level rocker switches; a quick nudge changes the temperature in either
are plenty of other items to make your life easier including a smart entry system,
engine Start/Stop button, rotary gear selector, dual-zone (plus 3rd-row) automatic
AirCon, reversing camera with dynamic guidelines and front and rear parking
sensors, electric parking brake with autohold, wireless smartphone charging,
powerfolding and heated door mirrors (on demand and automatically activated
on locking and leaving), one-shot up/down electric windows all round, auto-dimming
rearview mirror, auto lights and wipes plus auto-switching dip/main beam.
comprehensive and easy
to use with crisp
graphics, foolproof menus and quick
responses. The large
fronts an infotainment
system as well as a
so no faffing around
with your smartphone
for directions, although
you can if you want to
courtesy of Apple
CarPlay and Android
There's a worrying trend emerging: the bigger cars get, the less in-cabin storage
room there seems to be. Kia have, thankfully, bucked this trend so you'll find
plenty of storage solutions spread throughout the interior including a decent-size
lockable glovebox, a huge storage bin with a sizeable lift-out upper tray capped
by a broad armrest 'lid' separating the front seats, drop-down holder for your
shades, large bottle-holding door bins, dual-use siamesed cupholders, and a
deep, lidded tray at the base of the centre stack with three USB slots (two
of which are fast-charging) along with a bed to park your mobile where it can
also be wirelessly charged.
As you would expect when spending around £40K, the comms are comprehensive and
easy to use with crisp graphics, foolproof menus and quick responses. The large
central touchscreen fronts an infotainment system as well as a fully-fledged
SatNav so no faffing around with your smartphone for directions, although
you can if you want to courtesy of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto mirroring.
Other standard items include a 6-speaker audio system, DAB radio, multi-device
Bluetooth connection with voice recognition and music streaming, and Ecall that,
in the event of an accident, takes care of summoning the emergency services.
Better still, Kia has guaranteed social harmony by the simple act of fitting
a USB socket for every passenger in all three rows (why doesn't every carmaker
do this?) so everybody can charge up their device without any squabbling.
And it gets better: the widescreen 12-inch digital instrument display's virtual
dials co-exist happily with the multi-configurable information panel between
them that's controlled via the steering wheel's buttons and shows everything
you might want in a glance; including the two most important numbers
a large digital readout of your road speed shown, sensibly, alongside the posted
speed limit (that also appears on the active 3D mapping).
Sorento's cabin manages to indulge you with acres of space while at the same
time wrapping you in a reassuring feeling of safety. Just sitting in this big
SUV makes you feel very safe indeed. But it's more than just a feeling because
under the skin there's a wealth of active safety tech and assists such as Forward
Collision Avoidance which incorporates city, pedestrian, cyclist and the new
junction detection feature this tracks an oncoming vehicle from the other
side of the road when turning at a junction; if a collision appears likely,
it applies your brakes to avoid an accident.
weeks hard driving,
that took in a long trek
back to Kent from Devon,
validated the accuracy
of the official combined
cycle figure (42.2mpg)
we recorded a test
average of 42.9mpg.
Performance is also
a top speed of 127mph
and the benchmark
0-60mph clocked in 9.1
Its very nice to drive
too with unruffled punch,
especially so in Sport
mode. Pootling around
the houses and in rush
hour traffic is genuinely
cruising on faster roads
And when it comes to a
fast overtake, the 2.2-litre
gets it done without
there's loads more safety stuff; a long list of it, actually: lane-following
assistance, trailer stability assist, blind-spot collision avoidance with rear-cross
traffic assist, driver attention warning, hill-start assist, multi-collision
brake assist, electronic stability control, smart cruise control with Stop &
Go functionality, Highway Driving Assist (controls the steering, throttle and
brakes to maintain a safe speed/distance from the car in front on motorways),
downhill brake control, the full LED treatment (headlights, daytime running
lights, rear combination lights, and front and rear fogs), seven airbags/curtain
airbags including a front centre airbag between the driver and front passenger
to protect both in a side impact, ISOFIX child seat fixings for rows two and
three, and a five-star Euro NCAP safety rating.
Any passenger not invited to ride shotgun will not be offended; in fact, they
are more likely to be elated because not only are the middle-row seats comfy
but there's masses of room to spread out in. Seat adjustability is extensive:
the 60:40-split second row backrests individually recline; each section also
slides fore and aft so the limousine-grade legroom can be personalised to suit.
Headroom is equally plentiful (a fist-and-a-half of it) and there's ample width
for three to travel companionably side by side.
You also get heated outer seats, large side windows providing great views out
(there is privacy glass and built-in, pull-up mesh sunblinds for when privacy
matters more), a wide made-for-sharing central armrest with built-in siamesed
cupholders, dedicated central air vents, a cupholder incorporated into each
door, practical door bins, three fast-charge USB ports (one in the centre plus
one built into each front seat backrest), and netted seatback pouches.
As seven-seaters go, this Sorento delivers in spades and nowhere is this more
evident that in the third row. Accessing seats six and seven is not a problem:
press the button on either side's second row outer seat and it tilts and glides
forward, opening up a big space for hassle-free entry to the rearmost pair.
And you'll find the Sorento's third row is far more liveable than the token
items provided by some rivals in the Kia you get properly padded seats
with backrests set at a comfortable angle along with real-world room for knees
in the rearmost seats is pleasant enough even for grown-ups although youngsters
will have the most fun. It helps that the views out are great courtesy of the
sizeable third windows that also keep it nicely airy inside.
to the easy-going ambiance are directional air vents with fan speed control,
along with a USB slot, armrest-cum-smartphone tray and cupholder for each seat
and acceptable headroom. All-in-all a likeable spot even for adults if,
that is, they're quick enough to beat the kids to them! When not in use the
50:50-split seats can be folded away, together or individually, into the boot
the near five-
metre-long Sorento is
easy courtesy of the
quick and direct steering
and the well-mannered
roadholding; through the
bends its composed
and planted and the grip
is always there for you.
Whenever you need to
scrub off speed you can
rely on drama-free
stopping from the strong
room for six passengers to accompany its driver the Sorento needs to ride well
and it does. If a smooth ride is what you crave just choose the Selectable
Drive's dedicated Comfort setting. The fully-independent suspension does an
excellent job of ironing out bumps without any sense of 'float' or jarring despite
rolling on usually ride-spoiling 19-inch alloy wheels; the 235/55 Continental
rubber's deeper sidewalls help out here too.
But it's not just good damping that contributes to the satisfying way the Sorento
covers ground and gobbles up the miles but the well managed body control that
cossets all aboard while keeping everything shipshape even when pressing on.
Kia's new 'Smartstream' turbodiesel is a 2.2-litre four-pot driving through
a new eight-speed dual-clutch autobox with selectable driving modes including
on-demand four-wheel drive. It produces 199bhp but, more importantly for those
planning to tow or make full use of its commodious loadbay, 324lb ft of torque.
Our week's hard driving, that took in a long trek back to Kent from Devon, validated
the accuracy of the official combined cycle figure (42.2mpg) we recorded
a test average of 42.9mpg. Performance is respectable too, with a top speed
of 127mph and the benchmark 0-60mph clocked in 9.1 seconds. It's very nice to
drive too, with unruffled punch, especially so in Sport mode.
Naturally the eight-speed autobox helps with its silky shifts; combined with
the wide spread of torque on tap, pootling around the houses and in rush hour
traffic is genuinely stress-free and cruising on faster roads gratifyingly hushed
(as of the you-don't-need-to-hike-up-the-stereo kind). And when it comes to
a fast overtake, the 2.2-litre gets it done without fuss.
mentioned earlier, instead of a traditional-style autobox selector lever you
get a neat rotary knob (R-N-D: respectively at 11-, 12- and 1-o'clock, with
a central press-button to engage Park). It works brilliantly plus you get paddle-shifters
on the steering wheel for those times when you would prefer to take full control.
five-seat mode the
Sorentos boot is pretty
awesome: at 616 litres,
its roomy enough to
sleep in and will have
no trouble swallowing
the entire familys
Loading is as
straightforward as it
gets courtesy of a wide,
With seats six and
seven folded into the
floor, pressing the
switches in the boot
down the second row
to create a cavernous
You also get Selectable Drive which offers Comfort, Eco, Smart, and Sport modes.
Sport mode delays upshifts, adjusts the steering effort, and injects a noticeably
determined zip into the Sorento's step. All-terrain ability is boosted by Terrain
Mode which, along with the all-wheel drive system, lets you focus the system
to tackle tricky conditions such as Snow, Mud, and Sand.
a big seven-seat SUV the Sorento is surprisingly manageable and a doddle to
drive both in town (parking is a breeze) or far from the blacktop out where
the wild things roam. The superior driving position helps, of course, but all
the sophisticated underpinnings from the 4x4 to the self-levelling rear suspension
and the range of selectable driving modes means that whatever role you want
it to play plush family carryall, cargo workhorse, or hardcore tow car
the Sorento has got it covered.
Placing the near five-metre-long Sorento accurately is easy courtesy of the
quick and direct steering and the well-mannered roadholding; through the bends
it's composed and planted and the grip is always there for you. Whenever you
need to scrub off speed you can rely on drama-free stopping from the strong
and progressive brakes thanks to vented discs at each corner.
five-seat mode the Sorento's boot is pretty awesome: at 616 litres, it's roomy
enough to sleep in and will have no trouble swallowing the entire family's self-catering
staycation luggage. Loading is as straightforward as it gets courtesy of a wide,
quick-rising powered tailgate helpfully it can be opened and closed using
either the remote key or the button on the dash. With seats six and seven folded
into the floor, pressing the switches in the boot automatically folds down the
second row to create a cavernous 2,011-litre loadbay with a flat, seamless floor.
Even with the third row of seats in use there's still 187 litres behind the
third-row backrests for some carry-ons. A proper spare is provided and is easily
accessible, externally, beneath the boot floor.
When it comes to towing, the 324lb ft turbodiesel willingly hauls a braked 2,500kg.
For the record, the new self-charging hybrid model fields 258lb ft and can manage
a braked 1,650kg. In other words, the turbodiesel not only walks the walk, but
talks the torque.
Stylish, comprehensively kitted-out with a sizeable seating arena, a comfortable
ride and confident roadholding with multi-mode all-wheel drive, and an über-practical
loadbay, the Sorento's got the lot. Sure, there are other 4WD seven-seater SUVs
out there but they don't come with an industry-leading seven-year warranty.
And if you rack up high mileages, tow a caravan, horsebox or boat, or need to
accommodate an active family, then the smooth-driving and fuel-efficient new
Sorento turbodiesel could be your new best friend. ~ MotorBar
Kia Sorento '3' 2.2 CRDi DCT8 AWD
Maximum speed: 127mph | 0-60mph: 9.1 seconds | Test Average: 42.9mpg
Power: 199bhp | Torque: 324lb ft | CO2: 176g/km