Clumsy handling and a jiggly ride make it awkward in everyday situations
Dash is easy enough to use but it all feels pretty cheap
Side airbags along the whole cabin, and a top Euro NCAP rating
Seven-year warranty brings peace of mind
It's as big on the inside as it is on the outside, and the boot is huge
Basic cars are decently specced, including front and rear electric windows
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.
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.
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.
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.