Gareth Butterfield reviews the Kia Sorento
YOU might think ownership of a seven-seater, feature-laden SUV is the preserve of the Volvo XC90 driver, or the Range Rover Sport or, if you really have to, the SsangYong Rexton.
But there’s also the Kia Sorento. Not to suggest for one moment that Kia is a budget brand any more – those days are long gone, if you want a people carrier on a budget and your commute involves some muddy fields, you’d be daft not to give it some serious thought.
It’s longer, lower and wider, thanks to a revolutionised platform, while an extended wheelbase serves up more space in all three rows of seats.
There are six models to choose from, all powered by a 2.2-litre turbodiesel engine, with either a six-speed manual or an automatic gearbox. All have permanent, all-wheel drive and you can choose from the well-specced entry level KX-1, to the range-topping, everything-thrown-in KX-4.
The standard instrument cluster features clear white-on-black graphics but in the KX-3 version this is replaced by a seven-inch TFT display which adds an even more premium look to the dashboard.
Fuel consumption is very good. You’ll not find it hard to stay in the 40s and CO2 emissions are a thoroughly reasonable 161g/km.
There’s actually little to dislike about the Sorento. It does its job of carrying plenty of people and their luggage in comfort and it has a surprisingly rewarding driving experience, thanks to that excellent, punchy engine.
Dig deep enough and you’ll find a few cheap materials, but it’s not enough to put you off opting for what is actually a very sensible and very appealing car.