Kia Sorento

The Essentials

  • Price from £23,105
  • What Car? says: 2 star rating
  • Fuel economy: up to 44.0mpg
  • What is it? Big 4x4 with the option of seven seats

Great

  • There's tons of space for people and luggage, plus the option of two extra rear seats
  • The bigger diesel engine is strong
  • Safety credentials are good and comes with a seven-year warranty

Gripes

  • It's pretty poor to drive and the ride is unsettled
  • The interior feels cheap
  • It's overpriced, especially for a car of this overall standard
  • Drive

    Clumsy handling and a jiggly ride make it awkward in everyday situations

  • Inside

    Dash is easy enough to use but it all feels pretty cheap

  • Safety

    Side airbags along the whole cabin, and a top Euro NCAP rating

  • Reliability

    Seven-year warranty brings peace of mind

  • Space

    It's as big on the inside as it is on the outside, and the boot is huge

  • Standard and extras

    Basic cars are decently specced, including front and rear electric windows

  • What's it like to drive?

    The Sorento is a big car and on twisty roads it feels it its body lurches about and the steering isn't particularly responsive. Meanwhile, the ride is generally fidgety and unsettled, and things are even worse with larger alloys. The car's bluff shape creates wind noise on the motorway and the suspension is audible over bumps.

    On the plus side, the strong 2.2-litre diesel can move the car very swiftly, and it only gets clattery in the unlikely event that you need to work it really hard. (We haven't yet driven the 2.0-litre diesel). There's an optional automatic gearbox that gets clumsy if you need to put your foot down.

  • What's it like inside?

    Unlike the plusher cabins of many rivals, the plastics inside the Sorento feel unappealingly hard, although everything feels solidly built. Most of the dashboard is sensibly laid out, so it's pretty easy to use. The steering wheel adjusts for both reach and rake, which helps you get comfortable, but the system for adjusting the seat back is fiddly and imprecise.

    You can order the Sorento as a spacious five-seater or with two extra seats that fold up from the boot floor. These are fine for children and shorter adults but anyone over six foot will find headroom tight. The boot itself is cavernous, and you can create a van-like space by folding the rear seats almost completely flat.

    The entry-level Sorento is a front-wheel drive five-seater with alloy wheels, front and rear electric windows, an MP3 socket and air-con; pricier versions have four-wheel drive, seven seats, dual-zone climate control and leather upholstery.

  • How reliable is it?

    Kia's reliability record is okay (it came 11th out of 36 manufacturers in What Car?'s latest customer survey), and a seven-year warranty is reassuring. It also scored the maximum five-star rating in Euro NCAP crash tests, and includes side airbags along the length of the cabin. Deadlocks, an alarm and an immobiliser help protect against thieves.

  • Should I buy one?

    The Sorento is spacious and practical but it feels its size on the road, and it costs more to buy than many rivals; the cheap cabin makes it feel particularly overpriced. Running costs and residual values are nothing special, although the on-demand four-wheel-drive system means 4x4 versions aren't as thirsty as they might be.