- Super practical
- Plenty of tech in '4' spec
- 7-year warranty
- Very refined and comfortable
Not so very long ago, the idea of paying more than £50,000 for a Kia would have seemed, well, fanciful.
That's no longer the case, with the latest offering of the stylish, super-practical Sorento, seeming a bit of a snip when compared to the opposition.
It's the fourth generation Sorento, and for the first time offers a plug-in hybrid powertrain alongside the 2.2-litre diesel and 1.6-litre full hybrid and is available with multiple spec levels including ‘2’, ‘3’ and this test flagship ‘4’ model.
So what do you get for such a significant price tag? A whole lot is the answer, with this 7-seat, four-wheel drive SUV that scores close to a perfect 10 on the fashion catwalk. It also features the Kia 7-year warranty.
Design and Practicality
For a multipurpose vehicle, its design is more than eye-catching with a large black grille flanked by a smart headlight cluster, wing-shaped air curtains, and stylish 19-inch alloy wheels. Longer, taller, and wider than its predecessor, it has an imposing road presence.
It's a hugely practical vehicle with seven seats as standard, which split, fold or can be removed for maximum stowage. The middle row has slide, recline, and 60:40 folding functionality, while the third row split 50:50. The rearmost pair are pretty substantial as well, so longer journeys can be completed with relative comfort.
Kia has moved on exponentially over the years, but a key feature remains, the 7-year, unlimited mileage warranty for extra piece of mind.
The plug-in hybrid technology mates a 1.6-litre petrol engine with an electric motor and 13.8kWh battery to produce 261bhp.
It's also capable of up to 35 miles on battery power alone, increasing to 43 miles in city driving. The nominal mpg is 176.6mpg and with emissions of 38g/km, it's cheap to run.
Mated to a 6-speed auto box, it has plenty of power and can hit 62mph in a very respectable 8.4 seconds, making it quick away from the traffic lights, but also excellent for overtaking on the motorway.
Should the going get tough, the Terrain Mode can be deployed to select ‘Mud’, ‘Snow’, and ‘Sand’ modes. The system automatically optimises the drivetrain to best suit each scenario, adjusting engine torque output and distribution.
For normal driving, the Kia Sorento 4 is as composed and comfortable as you'd expect in a large SUV.
Interior and Technology
The interior has a premium feel as you would expect with a car of this price and some clever innovations.
It features a high-quality soft-touch finish, using metal and natural materials and soothing ambient lighting.
There's a digital cockpit fitted as standard on all models, while a 10.25-inch touchscreen is fitted on ‘3’ and ‘4’ models, which controls navigation, infotainment, and smartphone connectivity.
This range-topping '4' model also features an ear-splitting, (if you turn it up) 12-speaker BOSE premium sound system with all the extra woofer and tweeter bits and pieces.
The infotainment system also allows Bluetooth smartphone pairing for two phones concurrently.
There's also a host of kit on this model including powered tailgate, roof bars, camera, full length sunroof, heated and cooled powered seats, ambient lighting, and a clever safety innovation seen in the GENESIS where the two main binnacle dials turn into cameras when the indicators are activated.
Like many upmarket models, it features a rotary gear selector, while switchgear and general controls feel sturdy and are logically placed.
It's jam packed with safety kit including various lane departure, collision and blind spot warnings, while the full set of airbags includes for the first time a centre airbag for extra driver protection.
With competition in the SUV market hotting up, Kia has taken exponential steps in improving their quality and refinement within its cars, and the large 7-seat Sorento in 4 specification is a great example of such.
It has a significant price tag to justify, especially considering it's not from a go-to premium brand, but with a suite of technology, excellent levels of practicality, and a top build quality, don't turn your nose up at the Kia Sorento.