Kia Sorento

With a reputation for making inexpensive but competent and practical cars, it came as quite a shock to most when Kia launched the Sorento. The Sorento is undoubtedly one of the best 4x4s on the market today.

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The Sorento’s attractive exterior styling will be very appealing to 4X4 enthusiasts. The design strikes an effective balance between rugged 4X4 charm and sleek modern lines.  It manages to look durable without delivering a rough ride.

Inside, the cabin is well-equipped and provides excellent space. Kia’s cost cutting is more noticeable in some of the more inaccessible plastics but mostly these minor flaws will go unnoticed.

The Sorento has plenty to back up its claim as a serious off-roader. The 2.5 diesel is the better everyday workhorse, and while the 3.5-litre V6 petrol unit is more expensive to run. The car’s frame delivers a solid off-road ride even if it tends to feel a little sluggish occasionally on the road.

The Sorento’s sluggish four-speed automatic gearbox has been replaced with a five-speed unit. Manual transmission comes as standard, but automatics make more sense.

The Kia Sorento delivers a smooth enjoyable on-road experience, but it is an excellent off-road vehicle as well. It is capable of easily coping with less than desirable terrain and weather conditions.

Practicality

The Sorento has a high purchase price compared to other Kia’s. Running costs are lessened with the diesel engine. The diesel engine option provides fuel economy of around 22mpg and is the best choice. The Sorento is an inexpensive 4X4 (compared to rival brand prices) that provides exceptional value for the money.

Cabin space is in abundance in the Sorento. Seating and cargo versatility makes the Sorento all that much more practical. It is the ideal vehicle for any outdoor enthusiast. The Sorento’s large size and on-road demeanour make it somewhat more difficult to drive in the city.

The car’s controls and displays seem cheap and of lesser quality than rival brands. Dials are large and easy enough to read but lack a modern feel or any uniqueness. The controls give the cabin an outdated feel.

The cabin does a good job of filtering our road and wind noise. The engine is fairly quiet too unless it’s being worked hard. The car’s seats are large and supportive. Five adults passengers can fit and ride comfortably. A variety of storage areas provide additional practicality. Most passengers should find the cabin quite comfortable.

Accessibility to the cabin is good, but it is necessary to step up to gain access. The step up is the only issue that might even remotely hinder access to the Sorento. The tailgate is heavy even by 4×4 standards. The vehicles rear window opens as well to add versatile access to the car’s boot.

Parking the Sorento may be challenging if for no other reason than the large size of the vehicle. Everything else considered, the extra-large Kia is easy to park. An elevated driving position provides great visibility and the steering is light at low speeds. The XS comes with powered mirrors which is a plus when parallel parking.

Life Style

The Sorento delivers a better off-road experience than on. Off-roading the Sorento seems unstoppable and at ease. On the road the vehicle struggles a little more to deliver a decent ride. Power steering is light and helps to make the Sorento an easy vehicle to drive.

This would be an excellent family vehicle. It is heavy and comes with a high safety rating. The Sorento’s cabin space, versatile seating arrangements, and cargo carrying capacity make it ideally suited to carrying out family oriented tasks.

This would not be an ideal first car for novice drivers. The car’s sheer size would make it an unlikely choice.

Security and Safety

The Sorento comes standard with deadlocks and an engine immobiliser as well as a driver-operated switch to lock windows and doors. Buyers may want to purchase a security alarm for added protection.

The Sorento has not overlooked safety. It comes equipped standard with ABS (with EBD), twin front airbags and side airbags front and rear. The Sorento’s side impact bars and a heavy-duty roll bar help keep the passenger compartment safe, and seatbelts feature pre-tensioners and load limiters.

The Finishing Touches

The vehicle comes standard with a single-slot CD player with an RDS radio, eight speakers and a detachable security panel. Satellite navigation is offered as a dealer option.

Metallic or mica paint is offered as a cost option on all variants. The range is divided into entry level XE and higher-spec XS. Even XE models have alloy wheels, roof rack, air conditioning, and a ‘multimeter’ comprising compass, barometer and altimeter. XS models come standard with permanent four-wheel drive and leather upholstery.

Summary

The Sorento offers 4X4 lovers a lot of 4X4 action for a fraction of the price of well known competitors. The Sorento will do much to boost Kia’s already rising image for quality vehicles and great value for the money.

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