From £28,0007
Handsome third-gen Sorento urban crossover now has everything to tackle rivals – except a big name

Our Verdict

Here is the 2.2-litre CRDi Kia Sorento KX-4

Can the new SUV live up to the high aspirations that Kia has for it?

  • First Drive

    2015 Kia Sorento KX4 review

    Handsome third-gen Sorento urban crossover now has everything to tackle rivals – except a big name
  • First Drive

    Kia Sorento 2.2 CRDi auto first drive review

    Kia wants to take on the best of the SUV market with its third-gen Sorento, and a big lift in quality and driving refinement means it's off to a good start
Steve Cropley Autocar
20 January 2015

What is it?

When it hit the market in 2002, Kia's flagship SUV was a large and rather crude body-on-frame crossover, popular for its good looks, low price and mammoth towing ability. But, ever restless, Kia aimed to sell much more than robust cars, so it soon developed the Sorento into a more sophisticated, monocoque 'urban' model.

With this third-generation Sorento, in UK showrooms next spring, it has begun chasing sophistication in earnest while continuing to provide the previous models' space and utility. The Sorento now has a bigger and more stylish body, improved interior quality and equipment, and the promise of better dynamics than ever.

All this sophistication comes at a cost, however. There will be a price hike of about five per cent across the range, meaning that the entry-level KX1 will cost around £29,000 and the KX4 we drove, fully loaded with gadgets such as park assist, radar cruise control and lane departure warning, will break the £40,000 barrier - once an unheard of hurdle for a Kia.

Mind you, it's not all sophistication. Sorentos will be sold in the UK with just one engine - a Euro 6 version of the faithful, slow-revving, four cylinder 2.2 CRDi that develops 197bhp at just 3800rpm, plus a whopping 325lb ft between 1750 and 2750rpm.

What's it like?

For one thing, it's bigger. Kia has taken the underpinnings of the outgoing model and modified them so the Sorento has an 80mm longer wheelbase and grows by 95mm (to 4780mm) in overall length. It's also a shade wider and a little lower, but there are considerable gains in headroom and rear legroom without any other compromises.

Kia is on an all-out hunt for refinement, so the suspension parts are familiar but the subframe mountings have been enhanced. The electric power steering servo motor has been shifted from the steering column to the rack, nearer the action, in order to improve precision, and soundproofing occupies well over double the area it once did.

The result is a very quiet and smooth-riding car, as far as one can judge on the unfamiliarly smooth roads of the Sitges region in Spain. The Sorento still has to pass the bigger test of UK-spec off-camber ruts and ripples, but at first sight it is supple and quiet. The steering is certainly an improvement. Handling bias is tilted towards mild understeer (in the wet you can reach the limits of the standard ESP), but there is good dry grip and the brakes seem powerful and easy to modulate.

The engine provides smooth and flexible performance, cruising quietly on tall gearing with its engine noise very well subdued. The 0-62mph acceleration - in the heaviest KX4 model with the optional six-speed automatic gearbox - is quite decent at 9.6sec.

Should I buy one?

The new Sorento has the practicality and easy demeanour to fit easily into many a UK family. Judged against even the best standards it is comfortable and quiet, and the unique seven-year warranty provides another inducement for buyers.

It still doesn't have the name-appeal and genuine off-road ability that comes at extra cost in a Jeep or Land Rover, but if it's a hard-working and spacious urban crossover you want, it'll be hard to look past this one, even at the new (and as yet unspecified) higher prices.

Kia Sorento KX4 auto

Price £40,000 (est); Engine 4 cyls, 2199cc, turbodiesel; Power 197bhp at 3800rpm; Torque 325lb ft at 1750-2750rpm; Gearbox 6-spd automatic; Kerb weight 1849kg; Top speed 127mph; 0-62mph 9.6sec; Economy 43.5mpg (combined); CO2/tax band 172g/km, 30 per cent

Join the debate

Comments
5

20 January 2015
I'm confused, does the estimated ticket price and not having a big name result in a 3.5 star review? I'm struggling to see what else was negative here.


289

20 January 2015
"The KX4 will break the £40,000 barrier - once an unheard of hurdle for a Kia".
I think this will prove to be a step too far for Kia. The Sorento has always sold on being a worthy workhorse at a good price...at £40k+ it no longer falls within this remit and has to stand against some pretty fierce competition with only its 7 year warranty to bolster its appeal.
I understand that there is the option to buy a basic model (KX1/2), and that Kia is testing the water to see just how far its name WILL take it. But my guess is that there will be some big discount deals pretty soon on into its life cycle if they don't rethink the pricing structure.
The allure of the new Discovery Sport will prove too much for the KX4.

20 January 2015
Is it suddenly fashionable to try and lose customers by offering an inferior product, as BMW have started to do, or as Mercedes-Benz did for most of the '90s?

First, your photos reduced to a quarter of their original size, but now a third of what is left is obscured by silly advertisements.

There are folk out their doing it better. Please get a grip!

21 January 2015
I see KIA are doing the usual 'pinch other cars' design techniques as sister company Hyundai. Very much a mazda at the front, hints of peugeot, and some audi at the rear. Over-priced, over-hyped and certainly not worth 40k.

21 January 2015
I see KIA are doing the usual 'pinch other cars' design techniques as sister company Hyundai. Very much a mazda at the front, hints of peugeot, and some audi at the rear. Over-priced, over-hyped and certainly not worth 40k.

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