Currently reading: Nearly new buying guide: Kia Sorento
The practicality and versatility of Kia's largest offering makes it a 'yes we can' sort of SUV

You can count on a Kia Sorento as roomy, capable and practical family transport – but never more so than in its current, fourth-generation guise. To quote our 2021 road test: “It is a spacious, well-made, well-equipped and impressively versatile seven-seat SUV that’s handsomely formed and strategically priced.” 

But before we talk about pricing – and it’s cheaper in nearly new form, of course – you should know that there are two hybrid versions on offer, one you can’t plug in and one you can. The first, the HEV, uses a 1.6-litre petrol engine and an electric motor for a total of 226bhp, meaning it has good performance to go with its 40.9mpg official average. 

The PHEV has the same engine but a more powerful motor for 261bhp overall. Its official 176.6mpg average is unrealistic unless you charge it often and do nearly all of your driving under electric power alone. The official range electric range, incidentally, is 35 miles. 

Kia sorento front right

But if you’re after a tow car, these electrified Sorento’s are no match for the diesel version. Its 199bhp 2.2-litre unit allows you to haul an impressive 2500kg. It’s also the only version with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic. The hybrids have simpler six-speed autos. 

All three versions have seven seats as standard – and the third row is remarkably capacious. There’s more space back there than in the Land Rover Discovery Sport, Toyota Highlander and Peugeot 5008. Even adults will fit. 

The second row is also very accommodating, made even more so by seats that slide and recline. Sitting three adults across the middle row is easy because the Sorento has one of the broadest interiors in its class, plus the hump in the middle of the floor is minimal. 

Nearly new prices, then. Big cars often demand big prices, although the Sorento isn’t as expensive as you might think. The diesel and HEV start at around £35,000 and the PHEV comes in at around £46,000. (It’s still relatively new, remember.) 

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Kia sorento rear three quarter

That £35,000 outlay is likely to net you an entry-level 2 example, which has a digital driver’s display and an 8.0in touchscreen. This trim doesn’t have a built-in sat-nav, but you can use the available Apple CarPlay and Android Auto to hook up your phone’s sat-nav instead. 

Going for 3 or 4 trim gives you leather seats and a 10.0in touchscreen with built-in sat-nav. With 4, you also get an excellent Bose sound system with 12 speakers. For this top-spec trim, you can expect to pay at least £40,000, give or take. 

Whichever Sorento you opt for, big wheels are the order of the day. With HEV and PHEV versions, 19in alloy wheels are standard, while diesel cars get 20in ones. The ride can fidget somewhat around town but it remains comfortable and it’s even more so on the motorway. The car is easy to drive in both scenarios, aided by polished steering that’s light at low speeds and reassuringly direct at higher speeds.

Our top spec

3 - The extra few thousand quid over 2 trim is worth it. You get better infotainment and added creature comforts such as keyless entry, a powered tailgate and heating for middle-row outer seats.

Need to know

In 2022, the Edition trim replaced all existing trim levels. It’s based on the outgoing 4 and has dual-zone climate control, a heated steering wheel, adaptive cruise control, heated and ventilated front seats and automatic LED headlights, among other features.

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Kia sorento front headlamps

Diesel Sorentos attract a yearly road tax fee of £165, HEV and PHEV models £155. If the car cost more than £40,000 when new, you’ll pay an extra £355 per year as well until the car is six years old.

The PHEV takes around 3.5 hours to charge from 0-100% using a home wallbox.

Buyer beware

Insurance: The Sorento’s insurance groups range from 32 to 34. This will make it cheaper to insure than premium rivals, such as the current BMW X5, whose insurance groups go only as low as 45. The Sorento will be pricier than smaller alternatives, mind. For reference, the latest Kia Sportage has a variant in group 15.

Bodywork and wheels: While all Sorentos have front and rear parking sensors as standard, it’s still a large car. So check the bodywork for any dents or scrapes it has accumulated during its life, and the wheels for kerbing.

Kia sorento rear bumper

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Our pick

1.6 T- GDI HEV: Unless you are a heavy motorway user or need the towing capacity of the diesel, go for the regular hybrid. It’s almost as good on fuel, plus it’s more powerful and refined. It’s cheaper than the PHEV, too.

Wild card

1.6 T-GDI PHEV 4: You’ll need close to £50,000 to buy one, but this will get you an abundance of kit. Being the PHEV, it’s also quicker and, if you charge it often enough, more fuel efficient than the diesel and HEV.

Oliver Young

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