By Alexi Falson, 26 Jul, 2021
Review - Kia Sorento
AF By Alexi Falson June 29, 2021
The key to success, for almost every manufacturer around the globe, is having an SUV in its lineup that provides exceptional space and comfort for families. The problem with a number of these large, seven-seat SUVs, though, is that they can get extremely expensive. This is where the Kia Sorento introduces itself to consumers, as a budget-friendly family mover that has come leaps and bounds in recent years.
The Kia Sorento has received a recent update, with the latest generation promising more space, technology and better driving dynamics than ever before. Even better for Australian consumers is the fact that Kia has actually cut prices across the range, meaning it’s never been more affordable to step into a Sorento. Our question is, how much have these changes improved the Sorento as an all-round value proposition, and is it beginning to step on the toes of its more premium competitors?
Let’s find out.
Starting Price: $46,990
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How Much Does It Cost?
The Kia Sorento lineup kicks off at $46,990 (before on-road costs) for the entry-level S, with prices rising to $49,990 for the mid-range Sorento Sport variant. Stepping up to the Sorento Sport+ comes with a $54,390 price tag, while the range-topping Sorento GT-Line is priced from $61,990 before on-road costs. Kia offers two choices of engines for the Sorento lineup, with the cheapest option found in the 3.5-litre V6 petrol unit offered in the front-wheel drive variants, alongside the option of a more economical diesel engine for the all-wheel drive models. On average, the diesel-powered, all-wheel drive variants add $3,000 to the price tag on any given trim level.
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What Features Does the Kia Sorento Have?
Kia has packed a wide range of features into the Sorento lineup, with even the entry-level S variant receiving a number of key features to keep its owners - and occupants - happy. The entry-level S comes packed with 17-inch alloys with a full-sized spare tyre, autonomous emergency braking, LED headlights, daytime running lamps and fog lamps, advanced smart cruise control, 8-inch infotainment system with bluetooth, DAB radio, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support as well as USB inputs, front and rear parking sensors, digital instrument cluster, reversing camera, sliding and reclining second-row seats, roof rails, folding mirrors, automatic wipers, as well as a host of safety equipment.
Stepping up to the Sport variant adds a larger 10.25-inch touchscreen multimedia unit with sat-nav, dual-zone climate control, eight-way power adjustable seats with lumbar support, and automatic defogger.
Opting for the Sorento Sport+ adds larger 19-inch alloys with a full-sized spare, smart key with push-button start, remote engine start, heated leather seats and steering wheel, two USBs in the rear of the cabin, as well as a height-adjustable electric tailgate.
The flagship Sorento GT-Line adds huge 20-inch dark chrome alloys, a panoramic sunroof, nappa leather seats, premium sound system provided by BOSE, wireless smartphone charging, heated and ventilated front seats with heated rear seats, 8-inch heads-up display, remote smart parking assist, as well as a number of safety technologies like blind spot view monitoring and parking collision avoidance.
- 8.0-inch infotainment system
- LED headlights, daytime running and fog lamps
- 17-inch alloys as standard
- 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment system (Sport and above)
- Heated leather seats (Sport+ and above)
- 20-inch dark chrome alloys (GT-Line)
- Panoramic sunroof (GT-Line)
- 8.0-inch heads-up display (GT-Line)
Is it Comfortable to Drive?
For a number of years now, Kia has been testing and refining its vehicles on Australian roads, making the necessary changes where and when required to make sure they offer a comfortable, compliant ride. The importance of this should not be understated, and as a result, the Sorento is an exceptionally comfortable family cruiser in both the urban, highway and country B-road environment. The greatest compliment you can give a car is that the driving dynamic feels more important than the price tag would suggest, and this can be applied to even the cheapest Sorento offering on the market. This is no easy feat in a large seven-seat SUV, and goes to show how capable the Sorento’s suspension and chassis really is.
It’s also clear to see that Kia has paid a lot of attention to the insulation of the cabin, meaning that even the noiser diesel engine option remains subdued beneath the bonnet, which provides a more relaxing drive around town and on long road trips. The dual-clutch transmission is no doubt the pick of the bunch, offering seamless shifts, however, this is reserved for the all-wheel drive, diesel variant; petrol models make do with an adequate eight-speed automatic. There’s nothing inspiring about the Serento’s performance, but having said that, it’s overall dynamics are far beyond what the sticker price would suggest.
Is it Practical and Spacious?
In the latest Sorento, Kia has increased the length of the wheelbase which means that this is by far the most spacious and practical Sorento yet. It’s a fully fledged seven-seat SUV that has no problem accommodating a family and their belongings for a school run or long road trip away. Space and comfort in the front of the cabin is exceptional, while passengers in the second row of the cabin also have an adjustable row for added legroom. The third row of seats in the rear can comfortably house a full-grown adult, which means that you’re unlikely to hear any complaints from the rear in terms of space and comfort.
Even more impressive is the fact that Kia has extracted 45L more storage capacity in the Sorento’s boot, which means that with the third row of seats, there is 187L of storage on offer. With the third row folded down, this increases to a massive 821L of cargo storage in the boot, meaning the Sorento has no problem accommodating large, bulky items. Overall, the Sorento is bullet-proof when it comes to its ability to transport seven people - and their belongings - in both style and comfort.
Is it Safe?
The Sorento has been awarded ANCAP’s maximum Five Star Safety Rating, and comes packed with safety features as standard on even the entry-level S model. Autonomous emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, rear cross-traffic and blind spot alerts, multi collision brake system, lane-keep assist, driver attention warnings and eight airbags are fitted to the Sorento as standard, meaning that it once again performs well as a safety proposition.
Is it Fuel Efficient?
One area that the Sorento fails to excel is the fuel consumption for its 3.5-litre V6 petrol engine, which is rated at 9.7L per 100km on a combined cycle. Compared to the diesel unit, which is rated at 6.1L per 100km - while simultaneously powering an all-wheel drive system - the base petrol model provides underwhelming economy figures. The petrol-powered Sorento is not unusually thirsty, but compared to some of its rivals, it’s one area that it fails to one-up its competitors, especially considering real-world driving conditions will likely see the figures rise to 11-12L per 100km.
Our Verdict: Is the Kia Sorento Worth it?
The Sorento’s overall attractive value proposition is indicative of a wider change at Kia that has been going on for a number of years now. For decades, they were chasing the competition, luring customers in with a cut-priced offering that performed well enough, but failed to excel. Now, though, in the latest Kia Sorento, there has been a noticeable changing of the guard, with the Korean now right at the front of the pack, showing its rivals just how much value can be packed into a modestly-priced full-size SUV.
It’s genuinely hard to fault the latest generation Kia Sorento, so whether it’s been on your shortlist for years now, or it’s just popping up on your radar, make sure you get a free quote and see how much Georgie can save you on your next car, or call us on 1300 719 925
Specs You Need to Know
- Remote park assist moves the Sorento out of tight spaces autonomously.
- Optional all-wheel drive variant is powered by turbo-diesel engine only
- 9.7L per 100km petrol, 6.1L per 100km diesel economy
- Class-leading practicality and space for seven occupants
- Seven year warranty with capped-price servicing
- Handsome, feature-packed and safe family offering
- Petrol variant is thirsty
- Size can prove tricky in tight spaces
- Entry-level S missing some key features reserved for more expensive variants