Matt Prior
9 January 2013

What is it?

Well, this is unusual: a mid-life facelift, barely three years into a car’s life, which leaves the bodywork mostly alone but completely reconfigures the mechanicals. The 2013 Kia Sorento has a new platform and sits 10mm lower than its immediate predecessor, from which it looks only mildly changed, around the nose and tailgate. The front and rear suspension are all new and the body is 18 per cent torsionally stiffer than last month’s Sorento. Yet Kia says the life cycle of the car is unchanged, not extended, as a result.

I’ll admit that it’s a new one on me, but there’s sense to this move, says Kia. It brings the mechanicals into line with those that underpin the Hyundai Santa Fe to take advantage of economies of scale. Also, by dropping the two-wheel-drive and five-seat variants (which hardly anybody bought), by usefully upgrading the Sorento’s interior materials and by upping the price, Kia has again put clear air between the Sorento and its smaller Sportage sibling – a car that has been doing rather well and, one suspects, had been nibbling at the lower end of the Sorento range.

What is it like?

It's slightly bigger inside, although you wouldn’t notice unless you stepped from the old version to the new. The reconfigured suspension has allowed more space for the (now standard) in-boot third-row seats. The Sorento is as roomy as a 4.7m-long SUV ought to be, with a respectably if unexcitingly finished interior for about £30,000, the price point around which the simplified range sits.

It drives well enough, too. There’s no particular sparkle here, but none should be expected. The ride is mostly acceptable, if a touch brittle over poor surfaces, and noise levels are low (the drag coefficient has improved to 0.34 from 0.38). The 194bhp 2.2-litre diesel is muted once warm, although it pulls with no more vigour than you’d expect. There’s now electric rather than hydraulic assistance for the power steering, leaving it light and accurate, while the other control weights operate with well measured consistency.

They make driving the Sorento a choreless experience, relaxing and easy, which suits dynamics that allow significant roll in corners. A sporting 4x4 this isn’t, but that’s quite right, too.

Should I buy one?

Piloting it is as painless as you’d hope and its seven-year warranty leaves the ownership experience, which is just as the majority of Sorento buyers, most of whom are private purchasers, would want things.

Kia Sorento KX-2 Sat Nav

Price £29,995; Top speed 118mph; 0-62mph 9.4sec; Economy 47.9mpg (combined); CO2 155g/km; Kerb weight 1999kg; Engine 4 cyls, 2199cc, turbodiesel; Power 194bhp at 3800rpm; Torque 311lb ft at 1800-2500rpm; Gearbox 6-spd manual

Join the debate




1 year 45 weeks ago

Probably the only time I'd take Santa Fe over Sorento. 

Sorento's only saving grace is...

1 year 45 weeks ago

If I were in the market for an affordable-to-buy and run 7-seat 4WD juggernaut I would prefer Hyundai Santa Fe over Kia Sorento not only because I see more of the former pulling horse-trailers but also because its easier on the eye and looks more car-like. The only thing in Sorento's favour is longer warranty.

Makes no sense

1 year 45 weeks ago

This looks way too expensive.  The cheapest 7 seat 4x4 Santa Fe is almost £2K less at list price.  A 4x2 Santa Fe with 7 seats can be got for £26695 list.

A broker will sell you a Volvo XC90 for £27204... & that has an auto gearbox.

Looks better than the Santa Fe in my view though.


1 year 45 weeks ago

Lots going for it but the price has got way too high. Yes, there's plenty of kit and the engine is a stonker but the Koreans are beginning to lose their value USP. I nearly bought one a couple of years ago but found the 2nd row seating was too compromised because of having a 3rd row shoehorned in.

I checked the leasing costs on a new one of these yesterday and they're really high. I'll go elsewhere.

too much wonga

1 year 45 weeks ago

Objectively, looking at the interior in particular, this should be hovering around the £20K mark. 

Certainly doesn't look worth

1 year 44 weeks ago

Certainly doesn't look worth 3x the price of a Dacia Dustpan. 

it is a big car and I like it

1 year 39 weeks ago

it is a big car and I like it very much! groom speech

kia getting things right once again

1 year 38 weeks ago

there is no surprise that kia and hyundai are excelling so much in terms of gaining ground on their competitors. Their tailored car mats are also much better than their counterparts

Nice car,  but the

1 year 25 weeks ago

These maid of honor speech examples kits help you in improving your writing ability. The main idea when you are consulting the kits is not just to lift the contents that are written in those documents

Also, kia sportage is much

1 year 36 weeks ago

Also, kia sportage is much better, better performances, more power

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Our Verdict

An almost class-leading family 4x4, if a little pricey given its workmanlike flavour

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