The biggest problem facing this new Kia Sorento is its name. Because if it rings any bells for anyone at all, it will probably be one of warning. The old Sorento was the kind of beast only its mother would love: a slow, ugly, uncomfortable, hulking off-roader you bought because it represented probably the cheapest way of towing 3.5 tonnes.

By the starkest of contrasts, the current Sorento is a thoroughly modern seven-seat SUV styled in a chi-chi California design studio to appeal to those who care as much about how they look as where they go. Kia is quite explicit about the price paid for this approach – it openly admits the Sorento is nothing like as capable off road as the previous one and that towing capacity has been cut by an entire tonne in manual form – but claims that it has been able to design a car that will appeal to a much broader audience.

On the surface at least, Kia's success in that aim is evident, but the car underneath those slick surfaces isn't so mould-breaking. The Sorento is available with two diesel engines with prices rising through four equipment grades from £23,000 to a steep-sounding £32,500.

Save money on your car insurance

Compare quotesCompare insurance quotes

First drives

Find an Autocar car review

Explore the Kia range

Driven this week

  • Hyundai i30 N
    Standard spec is good so paint colour is our car’s only option
    First Drive
    23 April 2018
    What’s Hyundai’s first hot hatch and N-brand debutant really like? Let’s find out
  • Jaguar E-Pace 2018 review hero front
    Car review
    20 April 2018
    Can Jaguar’s compact SUV bring flair and dynamic polish to a fast-growing class?
  • Audi TT RS Coupé
    First Drive
    20 April 2018
    The Audi TT RS has the looks, a vociferous engine and the supercar-baiting performance, but is it too uncompromising to use as a daily driver?
  • Lamborghini Urus review 2018 hero front
    First Drive
    19 April 2018
    The supercar maker's new 4x4 is massively capable wherever it goes, while being extremely conspicuous and costly while it does it
  • Skoda Kodiaq
    First Drive
    19 April 2018
    High-spec seven-seater Kodiaq begins its family life with a lot to prove — for Skoda and SUVs