From £22,180
Great value for a big, comfortable 4x4. We'd still have the diesel over this 3.5-litre V6 petrol derivative though

Our Verdict

Kia Sorento 2010-2014
An attractive and capable SUV with slightly ambitious pricing

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

  • First Drive

    2013 Kia Sorento

    The 2013 Kia Sorento isn't a thrill a minute to drive, but it is refined, long-striding and likely to broaden your motoring horizons
  • First Drive

    Kia Sorento 2.0 CRDi

    Front-wheel drive Sorento makes a convincing case if you want space and practicality at a good price
2 September 2003

I must admit I didn’t pay much attention to our Kia Sorento CRDi road test (April 16, 2003). I merely skimmed over the text and noted the verdict (six stars), while thinking that the styling looked quite appealing.

But a week in the V6 model put this victim of brand snobbery straight; the big Kia revealed ability far outweighing expectations and price. This is a fine vehicle by any standard.

The Sorento is priced at RAV4/ Freelander level, but takes careful aim at the Jeep Grand Cherokee, Toyota Land Cruiser, Mitsubishi Shogun, Mercedes ML et al for size and road presence.

And that’s before you look at the spec: the XS is loaded, with leather trim, heated front seats, side airbags, climate control and CD player to go with its generous proportions. It’s no accident the Sorento is a big seller in the USA.

In this company, the Kia makes a lot of sense. A 4.0-litre Grand Cherokee costs £27,995, a base Land Cruiser V6 £29,195, and a Merc ML 350 £32,680. The Kia feels more solidly made, more eager and just as well mannered on the road as the Merc, for 10 grand less.

The engine is smooth and revs easily with a silky howl, giving the Sorento more than enough poke to beat brisk traffic, and it will hold an easy 90mph cruise on the motorway. It’s also a comfortable place to be: the front seats are large and easily adjusted, and there’s plenty of space front and rear.

The overwhelming impression is of a car that is exceptionally well put together, with dynamic qualities by no means disgraced by more coveted brands.

It drives well in town, with surprising precision given its weight and height. The steering is light and positive, and the auto ’box smooth and vice-free.

The conclusion is simple: if you’re looking for a vehicle in this class, don’t be biased against the Sorento just because it’s good value. It’s also a cracking SUV.

Bill Thomas

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Car review
    23 September 2016
    Aston kicks off its ‘second century plan’ with an all-new turbo V12 grand tourer
  • Ford Ka+ 1.2 Ti-VCT 85
    First Drive
    22 September 2016
    A rounded, refined and well-sorted bargain supermini – once you’re used to the confusing role redefinition imposed on the once-cheeky Ka
  •  Maserati Ghibli Diesel
    First Drive
    22 September 2016
    Maserati releases another range of updates for its range best seller, the Ghibli. We've driven the diesel version, but there's little improvement on before
  • Tipo Front
    First Drive
    21 September 2016
    New Fiat Tipo offers impressive space and practicality for a reasonable price. We try the 1.6 diesel on the demanding roads of North Wales
  • Seat Ateca 1.4 TSI 150
    First Drive
    20 September 2016
    The Seat Ateca 1.4 TSI 150 makes perfect sense: it's spacious, tidy to drive for an SUV and cheap to run