2.2 CRDI KX-3
seven-seat Sorento SUV
is big and bold and, as youd
of a brands
flagship, an imposing-
looking and very polished machine
good enough, in fact, to be named
the winner of the Large
category in The Sunday Times
Top 100 Cars of 2016...
NOW IN ITS THIRD GENERATION, the latest Sorento sports a 2.2-litre turbodiesel
under its bonnet and comes with a new, 'intelligent' all-wheel drive system.
And, of course, like its Kia kin, it's guaranteed by Kia's much-praised warranty
that covers it for seven years and 100,000 miles.
Four trim levels fit into the Sorento line-up and all use the same powerplant
a 197bhp 2.2-litre four-cylinder turbodiesel with intercooler
that serves up a muscular 325lb ft of torque from 1,750rpm. Top speed is 124mph
and the benchmark 60mph takes just 9 seconds from standstill pretty
good for a large two-tonne SUV.
need less money than you think to put a Sorento on your drive
as little as £28,795, although the range-topping KX-4 model costs £41,575. While
that might sound a lot to some, bear in mind that even at £41K the very comprehensively
equipped top trim Sorento will still cost you several thousand pounds less than
an entry-level X5 from BMW.
need less money
than you think to put a
Sorento on your drive
as little as £28,795.
And while the
KX-4 model costs
£41,575, thats still
several thousand less
Reflecting this, sales are already ahead of projections with the Sorento now
expected to sell almost double of what was originally forecast. And, not really
so surprisingly, it's the higher-spec versions that are proving to be the most
For your money you get a handsome SUV. Fronting the Sorento is a more upright
version of Kia's trademark 'tiger-nose' grille finished in a distinctive dark
metallic with a 3D diamond pattern and flanked by stretched wraparound Xenon
headlamps and underscored by a silver skid plate beneath the lower air intake.
At the end of the bonnet its swept-back profile subtly disguises the Sorento's
increased size while at the sides a high belt-line and deeply sculpted door
panels lead to pronounced rear shoulders and sweeping D-pillars. Privacy glass
on the rear side windows and tailgate enhance the glasshouse while a wide rear
skid plate, LED tail lamps, an integrated tailgate spoiler and a 'shark-fin'
antenna finish off the tail.
The new Sorento is 95mm longer, a tad wider and a smidgen lower (by 15mm) than
its second-generation predecessor; it now measures 4,780mm from nose-to-tail
and its wheelbase is 80mm longer (now 2,780mm) to inject more passenger space.
There's now more headroom and legroom for passengers in all three rows; plus
there's an extra 90 litres in the large, square boot. With the seats in their
conventional five-seat configuration there's room behind for a substantial 605
litres of luggage. Even in seven-seat mode there's 142 litres for some squashy
bags. With the second row being split 40:20:40 and the third row 50:50, there's
plenty of versatility when it comes to who or what goes where.
the whole kit and caboodle, fold down both the third row (the two individual
seats fold flat into the floor) and middle row seating (conveniently this can
also be done from the boot) and you'll have a long, totally flat cargo bay with
1,662 litres at your disposal. Loading is easy-peasy a huge tailgate
gives easy access to the hold and the loading sill is level with the loadbay
floor so cargo can just be slid in or out.
sure you don't get your hands dirty is a power-operated (opening and closing)
tailgate. More good news: beneath the boot floor is a large undertray as well
as a full-size spare alloy wheel, and the luggage cover stores neatly out of
the way in its own dedicated compartment.
down the third and
middle row seating
and youll have a long,
totally flat cargo hold
with 1,662 litres at your
A huge tailgate gives
easy access and
the loading sill
is level with the loadbay
floor so cargo can just
be slid in or out...
Finally, and more than handy if your passenger rota is maxed-out, is the 2,500kg
braked trailer or caravan that manual versions can haul. Trailer Stability Assist
helps keep it all shipshape and safe.
really good news is that whatever you stuff your Sorento with
bodies or boxes it remains responsive to drive thanks to the hearty
torque which also keeps the gear-changing to a minimum. The turbodiesel is lighter,
more powerful, more fuel-efficient and cleaner it's a refined
and willing engine and pulls strongly in the midrange and when accelerating.
In addition to a particulate filter, an NOx trap is also fitted to reduce harmful
nitrogen emissions to negligible levels. Intelligent Stop & Go engine stop/start
is also standard and not only makes sure no fuel is used but, more importantly,
that no emissions are created whenever the car comes to a halt.
Over 500 test miles on mixed roads and in some pretty rum weather our six-speed
manual version averaged 37.7mpg. Bearing in mind it's a seven-seating 4x4, few
would quibble with that and Forty+ (the official combined cycle
figure is 46.3mpg) should be achievable for real-life John and Jane Doe.
Before checking out the cabin architecture it's worth noting all the kit you
get. Go for the penultimate KX-3 and it's a long list that includes intelligent
all-wheel drive, black leather upholstery, heated front seats, heated steering
wheel, dual-zone automatic AirCon with ioniser, 8-way powered driver's seat
(including lumbar), heated outer rear seats in row two, multifunction leather-trimmed
steering wheel, cruise control and speed limiter, and engine Start/Stop button
and keyless entry.
list continues with tinted glass, panoramic sunroof, privacy glass (rear side
windows and tailgate), 10-speaker Infinity premium hi-fi system with DAB RDS
radio (MP3 compatible), USB and AUX ports, Bluetooth with voice recognition
and music streaming, reversing camera system plus front and rear parking sensors,
an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment and SatNav screen, a 7-inch TFT instrument
display, heated powerfold door mirrors, all one-shot auto up/down windows, auto-dimming
rearview mirror, ambient lighting, auto lights and wipes, driver's trip computer,
Flex steer (Normal, Comfort and Sport steering modes), drive-away automatic
door locking, alloy pedal set, roof rails and 18-inch alloy wheels.
features (active and passive) are also comprehensive with twin front airbags,
twin side airbags and twin curtain airbags with a roll-over sensor, height adjustable
front seatbelts and active front headrests, Isofix child seat top tethers and
anchor fixings, child safety rear door locks, Xenon headlights with automatic
levelling, LED daytime running lights, cornering lights, self-dimming adaptive
front lighting (automatically directs the low-beam lighting according to the
amount of lock applied to the steering to improve visibility during turning
and cornering), front wiper de-icer and a tyre pressure monitoring system.
you stuff your
Sorento with bodies
or boxes it remains
responsive to drive
thanks to the hearty
torque which also keeps
to a minimum.
The turbodiesel is refined
and willing and pulls
strongly in the
midrange and when
Also standard-fit are Trailer Assist, Hill Start Assist, Speed Limit Information
(not only does this display the maximum speed permitted in both the instrument
cluster and the navigation screen but if that limit has been reduced
say because of roadworks or smart motorway gantries the onboard
camera overrules it and shows the lower limit), Lane Departure Warning, Electronic
Stability Control, an active bonnet to protect pedestrians and a five-star Euro
NCAP safety rating.
The doors open wide for easy entry into a 'clubby' cabin with well-padded black
leather chairs. The driver enjoys a commanding driving position and A1 visibility
made better by the powered seat and a smart-looking, satin black, multifunction
three-spoke wheel with a meaty leather rim that's good to grip. A left foot
rest is provided alongside the non-slip alloy pedals for 'the cruise'. It's
a very amenable cabin enhanced by a panoramic glass roof incorporating a sliding
sunroof in the front section with one-touch operation 'blackout' sunblinds.
Both front seats have cosy 3-stage heating and the big chairs are both supportive
and accommodating and great to travel in. There's loads of room in all directions
with plentiful leg and headroom and a big gap between the front seats so no
elbow clashes with your front passenger over the centre armrest; wide well-placed
outer armrests are fitted on the doors and help make you feel immediately at
ergonomics are fine and the switchgear logically placed and fit and finish is
to high levels with plush soft-touch plastics, piano black trim and satin chrome
accents boosting the ambiance. The 3D mapping on the 8-inch infotainment touchscreen
is crystal clear; its large foolproof-to-use icons are easy to finger-tap on
the move while 'hard' shortcut keys either side of the screen allow for no-messing
major menu jumps. And it's a quiet and restful place to be in heavy traffic
or when taking the 'tedious' out of long motorway journeys.
rear cabin is an equally relaxing place to travel. Headroom is fine and there's
good rear air ventilation. It's a wide cabin and three adults can sit side-by-side
with no border incursions and plentiful foot room; two will travel hedonistically
either side of the big, wide cup-holding central armrest. The reclineable seatbacks
offer multi-adjustable backrest angles and the two outer chairs are heated.
third row is home to equal-sized seats 6 and 7 and access is good through the
wide-opening rear doors the second row seats slide forwards by
270mm and they have enough head and leg room to be used by adults;
not always the case with some seven-seat SUVs. Another plus: they also get their
own AirCon controls.
a trip in the
Sorento and you wont be
palpably cocooned as
from solid rock, its road
manners are very
acceptable and it corners
well, all the time riding
compliantly with the
of all-wheel drive...
Kia have pitched their comprehensively improved Sorento (a huge amount of engineering
work under the skin and totally revised running gear has made it virtually an
all-new car) against some far more expensive competition: it beat serious competition
such as the Land Rover Discovery Sport, Mazda CX-5 and Renault's Kadjar to take
top spot in The Sunday Times Top 100 Cars of 2016 and so
you'd expect handling and ride comfort to be more than satisfactory.
Take a trip in the Sorento and you won't be disappointed its road
manners are very acceptable, straight-line stability is fine, body lean is well
controlled and it corners accurately, all the time riding compliantly with the
permanent reassurance of the Dynamax all-wheel drive system. First seen on Kia's
compact SUV, the Sportage, Dynamax continuously monitors driving conditions
and anticipates when all-wheel drive will be needed, then sends drive to the
wheels with most grip as and when necessary ensuring the Sorento is always in
the correct drive mode for the prevailing circumstances.
Sitting inside the Sorento you feel palpably cocooned as though it's been hewn
from solid rock and not put together on a production line hardly
surprising because the bodyshell now contains twice the amount of high-strength
steel with torsional rigidity up by 14%.
Under normal driving condition the all-wheel drive system delivers 100 per cent
of engine torque to the front wheels but it will automatically redistribute
the drive to a maximum of 60:40 front-to-rear to enhance cornering stability
or if road conditions deteriorate. For speeds of up to 25mph the driver can
manually select Lock mode which gives an off-road suitable 50:50 torque split
to help take advantage of the Sorento's 185mm ground clearance.
The motor-driven power steering offers three modes (Normal, Comfort and Sport)
and the Sorento always feels connected to the road while ventilated all-disc
brakes deliver smooth slowing and drama-free emergency stopping.
Kia have really nailed it with their Sorento SUV its serves up
gentrified saloon-like travel for seven in its smart and roomy cabin while being
equally adept at workhorse duties such as towing, and wholly deserves its Sunday
Kia Sorento 2.2 CRDI KX-3
Maximum speed: 124mph | 0-60mph: 9 seconds | Test Average: 37.7mpg
Power: 197bhp | Torque: 325lb ft | CO2: 161g/km