Really rather good. This is a big and roomy vehicle, which makes an immediate case for itself in terms of sheer space and interior utility.
The boot is huge in five-seat form and the human space in the third row impressive. With the second row of seats folded, the (flat) loadbay is really vast.
The version we drove in Korea was upmarket and leather trimmed, but the front seats were excellent with a good headrest design that has them right up against the back of the driver’s head. The driving position in this left-hand drive car was also top-notch.
The new-generation Sorento shows Kia’s new efforts in interior quality well, with a cabin that not too many notches below the perceived quality of the latest VWs (especially in the flat-black finish used on much of the plastics) while being likely to match VW in real-world usage quality over time.
Overall, it feels very well made and well screwed together, and Kia’s engineers have done a good job of refining the diesel engine, which, even at lower speeds and wide throttle openings, remains decently subdued.
At high speeds it is pretty hushed and the 6-speed automatic ‘box manages to meld well with the turbodiesel, something that’s not always guaranteed with this combination.
On the road, the Sorento benefits from the improved ride. A combination of slightly softer springs and more aggressive damping control worked very well on the undulating roads of Jeju Island. The restrained body roll and quite positive steering feel (the electric assistance motor is now on the rack, rather than the column) in long bends were also welcome.
Indeed, if the driver is prepared to look ahead and make sensible use of the motor’s reasonable urge, the Sorento can be hustled along with unexpected competence.
The only real chassis downside was some town-speed bump-thump and shudders from the rear wheels over imperfections. Although the test car was on 19-inch wheels, we suspect minor rigidity issues thanks to the vast rear cabin and huge panoramic sunroof.