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

What is it?

We know that the new Kia Sorento is one of the best cars out there if you’re looking for a big, road-bias four-wheel drive SUV. It impressed us with the usefulness of its seven-seat interior, torquey 2.2-litre diesel engine and general fitness for purpose. So how does this two-wheel drive, 2.0-litre diesel model, that can be had only in the most basic trim and with five rather than seven seats work out?

See pics of the Kia Sorento in action

What’s it like?

Surprisingly well, actually. Slotting into the bottom of the range, the 2.0 CRDi Sorento 1 makes for a convincing prospect as an affordable, spacious and practical soft roader. The 147bhp 2.0-litre turbodiesel motor does its job well, pulling strongly and smoothly even from very low revs. Ride quality is decent if not without fault. Body control is a little disorderly due to the soft springs, but it’s nothing out of the ordinary for a big soft-roader such as this and the correspondingly spongey bump absorption has its appeal.

Handling is equally suitable, with decent grip and pleasingly linear steering response. It doesn’t excite, but it is a pleasant and undemanding drive despite the lack of all-wheel drive. Just as importantly for many, this model retains the same 2500kg maximum braked towing capacity as every other Sorento, yet list price is £2k cheaper than the lowest priced 4WD model.

Should I buy one?

The trickiest question is whether the marginal savings that the 2.0 CRDi offers over the more powerful seven-seat 2.2-litre CRDi front-wheel drive Sorento, which costs only £765 more, are worth it.

We’d be tempted to opt for the latter as it is the better engine and more flexible interior, or if cost is the absolute priority then the cheaper Hyundai Santa Fe is worth considering. But for many the Kia’s sharper looks, longer warranty, more modern platform and better interior finish will be plenty to justify the small premium it commands over the Hyundai, and by any standards the 2wd Sorento is a very competitively priced and well-judged package.

Kia Sorento 1 2.0 CRDi

Price: £22,990; Top speed: 113mph; 0-62mph: 10.5sec; Economy: 44.1mpg; Co2: 169g/km; Kerbweight: 1795kg; Engine type: 4cyl, 1995cc, turbodiesel; Power: 147bhp at 4000rpm; Torque: 282lb ft at 2000-2500rpm; Gearbox: 6-spd manual

Join the debate

Add a comment…
tannedbaldhead 30 March 2011

Re: Kia Sorento 2.0 CRDi


My partner has the original Sorento, a 2.5 diesel. It can pull 2 and a half tons of horses and their transporter out of muddy fields and can cope with terrain that would impress a Defender driver. What has Kia replaced it with? A soft, fashionvictim-mobile that can just about mount a kerb whilst parking on the pavement to pick the kids up on the school run. If you are looking for a proper reasonably priced 4x4 with a degree of on road comfort the choice is now limited to two cars the Jeep Cherokee and the Nissan Pathfinder. Was shocked to see Jeep selling their soul and are going to go soft with an SUV now.

Like I said before boooooooooooooooooo!

theonlydt 30 March 2011

Re: Kia Sorento 2.0 CRDi

Punted one of these around for a while 6 months ago - we were out with my wife's friend and she hurt her ankle - couldn't drive so I got to fark about with it for the rest of the day to get her home!

Anyway, I get distracted... I was seriously impressed. The engine was terrible (North American spec - 2.4 petrol), but the rest of the car was exceptionally good for the price.

For £765 I'd take the 2.2, then add another £2k for 4wd