- Comfortable ride
- High quality cabin
- Generous equipment
- High CO2 emissions
- Not the most economical
- Notchy manual gearbox
Practical 7-seater SUV
The Kia Sorento, first introduced in 2003, is the South Korean manufacturers top of the range SUV. With seven seats, a large practical interior, and generous equipment levels, the Sorento offers plenty of bang for your buck. Whilst the original Sorento was much cheaper to buy than rivals, the latest third-generation Sorento isn’t quite as good value as it once was. It’s not as fun to drive as a Land Rover Discovery Sport, nor is it as cheap to buy as a Nissan X-Trail, but it now looks and feels like a prestige SUV.
The latest update in 2015 saw a complete redesign, with a more premium feel both inside and outside.
Excellent interior quality, impressive practicality, and generous equipment
The inside of the Sorento is a classy affair that belies the Kia brand reputation. The Sportage is now a genuine rival to the more expensive Land Rover Discovery Sport, and is also one of the most practical SUVs on the market.
The cabin of the Sorento is the best the South Korean brand have ever produced. Everything looks and feels fantastic. The dashboard design is functional, attractive, and the build quality is exceptional. Soft-touch materials are used throughout the cabin, which give the Sorento a premium feel, and controls are well-damped and easy to use. Kia’s former reputation of producing functional but cheap-feeling interiors is long gone.
When it comes to practical, useable space, there are few cars that can match the Kia Sorento. Not only does it have seven seats, it also has an excellent sized boot. With all seven seats up, there’s enough room for a bit of shopping, or even a couple of cabin bags. Take down the two rear seats, and you’ll get 605 litres of space. Only the Hyundai Santa Fe is bigger, and the Sorento also features no load lip, so getting heavy items in and out is a doddle.
Equipment levels in the Sorento are generous, even on entry-level models. The cheapest KX-1 trim comes with parking sensors, cruise control, electric mirrors, electric windows, alloy wheels, and air-conditioning. That’s pretty impressive, but it’s worth upgrading to the KX-2 trim, just to get the excellent 8” touchscreen infotainment system, which is easy to use and adds sat-nav. You’ll also get heated, faux-leather seats, which adds to the Sorento’s luxury feel.
Overall the interior of the Sorento is a pretty impressive package. It’s well-built, attractive, easy to use, spacious, and features generous levels of standard equipment. It really is great value for money.
Comfortable, but not the most engaging drive
The Sorento is a car that’s built to be comfortable, rather than fun. That means that the Sorento is nowhere near as engaging as a Discovery Sport, but it’s still an easy car to drive. There’s plenty of grip through the corners, and steering is light enough around town to make it easy to weave through traffic, and to make parking simple. For such a big car it’s impressive, but it’s let down by vague steering, and excessive body roll, especially out on the open road.
Ride refinement in the Sorento is impressive, so it’s sure to be attractive to family buyers. The soft suspension irons out even the worst of loose road surfaces, potholes, and speed humps without too much of a fuss. The Sorento is also a reasonably good motorway cruiser, as there’s very little in the way of road and engine noise, though wind noise can be a little intrusive at high speeds.
Gearbox options in the Sorento come in two guises. The standard throughout the range is a six speed manual transmission, that feels quite clunky, and it also struggles to accelerate in the lower rev range. The optional six-speed automatic is better suited to the Sorento, though it’s also unresponsive to quick bursts of acceleration.
Only one diesel engine available
When it comes to deciding how you want to power your Sorento, you’ve only got one option: diesel. There’s also only one diesel engine, but it has enough grunt for most, and it’s reasonably economical.
Petrolheads don’t usually go for a 7-seater SUV as their car of choice, and the Sorento isn’t a car that’s going to break this trend. The 2.2 litre diesel engine produces 197bhp and 311 lb ft of torque, so whilst it’s not the quickest off the mark (it has a 0-62mph time of 9 seconds), it’s perfectly suited to towing, and still has enough power to comfortably overtake on motorways.
The Sorento isn’t the greenest car in its class, so it’ll struggle to attract eco-friendly buyers. With 149g/km of CO2 emissions for the manual version, and 177g/km for automatics, it’s not only not particularly good for the environment, it’s also quite expensive to tax. The Sorento isn’t the best car for money savers either then, especially when you consider the 47.6mpg on offer, a figure way below the Nissan X-Trail’s 57.6mpg.
The diesel engine in the Sorento is solid, if unspectacular. It has enough power to cope with day-to-day driving, and it performs pretty well on the motorway. Money savers and green-conscious buyers will find better value elsewhere though.
Full marks in NCAP safety tests, good standard safety kit
Like nearly every car in its class, the Kia Sorento easily achieved the highest possible 5-star NCAP safety rating. With scores of 90% in adult safety, 83% in child safety, and 67% in pedestrian safety, the Sorento isn’t quite as safe as the Hyundai Santa Fe, or the Land Rover Discovery Sport, but it’s still an impressively safe family car. There’s also plenty of safety kit as standard. Even on entry-level models you’re going to get traction control, a brake assist system, stability control, hill-start assist, a tyre-pressure monitoring system, and the usual array of airbags.
Reasonably good value for money, if you avoid the cost of new-car depreciation
The Kia Sorento represents good value for money for drivers. It’s not the most economical car in its class, but it’ll still return reasonably good MPG figures, though CO2 emissions are quite high, so road tax will be more expensive than in some rivals. The Sorento is cheaper to buy though, and with a class-leading 7-year warranty, you won’t be spending money on repair bills.
Insurance costs in the Sorento are reasonable for the class. This depend on which model you go for, but you will pay less than you would for an equivalent rival. The cheapest Sorento to insure is the 2.2 CRDi KX-1, which is in group 24, whilst the most expensive is the top of the range 2.2 CRDi KX-4, which is in group 28.
Depreciation is a large factor with the Kia Sorento, but only if you choose to buy from new. With first year depreciation as high as 40%, you’re better off opting for an inspected used equivalent.
The Kia Sorento is an impressively solid 7-seater SUV. Kia may once have been considered a budget-only brand, but the Sorento bucks the trend. It feels genuinely prestigious both inside and out, and whilst it’s not the most economical, it is extremely spacious, which makes it a great option for large family buyers.
Buying a used Kia Sorento online with Carspring
If you’re after a used Kia Sorento for sale, it can all feel like a bit of an ordeal. What, with long days spent around gigantic car supermarkets, or time spent trawling through classified websites, looking for that ideal used Sorento. Carspring makes it simple. Buy your next used Kia Sorento online with the touch of a button. Simply decide on the model you want and choose how you want to pay.
Looking to finance your used Kia? Not a problem, we work with our carefully selected finance partners to ensure that, if you’re paying monthly for your used Kia Sorento, you know you’re getting the best rates. What’s more, with any Carspring used Sorento, you also get our 14-day money-back guarantee and 6 months’ free Carspring Warranty. Plus, you don’t have to leave your home. We’ll deliver your used Kia to you at a time and place of your choice.
*This is an approximate figure based on the range of the car’s list price and the AA’s average 1st-year depreciation cost of 40%.