From £22,180
Great value for a big, comfortable 4x4. We'd still have the diesel over this 3.5-litre V6 petrol derivative though

Our Verdict

Kia Sorento 2010-2014

An almost class-leading family 4x4, if a little pricey given its workmanlike flavour

  • First Drive

    2013 Kia Sorento

    The 2013 Kia Sorento isn't a thrill a minute to drive, but it is refined, long-striding and likely to broaden your motoring horizons
  • First Drive

    Kia Sorento 2.0 CRDi

    Front-wheel drive Sorento makes a convincing case if you want space and practicality at a good price
2 September 2003

I must admit I didn’t pay much attention to our Kia Sorento CRDi road test (April 16, 2003). I merely skimmed over the text and noted the verdict (six stars), while thinking that the styling looked quite appealing.

But a week in the V6 model put this victim of brand snobbery straight; the big Kia revealed ability far outweighing expectations and price. This is a fine vehicle by any standard.

The Sorento is priced at RAV4/ Freelander level, but takes careful aim at the Jeep Grand Cherokee, Toyota Land Cruiser, Mitsubishi Shogun, Mercedes ML et al for size and road presence.

And that’s before you look at the spec: the XS is loaded, with leather trim, heated front seats, side airbags, climate control and CD player to go with its generous proportions. It’s no accident the Sorento is a big seller in the USA.

In this company, the Kia makes a lot of sense. A 4.0-litre Grand Cherokee costs £27,995, a base Land Cruiser V6 £29,195, and a Merc ML 350 £32,680. The Kia feels more solidly made, more eager and just as well mannered on the road as the Merc, for 10 grand less.

The engine is smooth and revs easily with a silky howl, giving the Sorento more than enough poke to beat brisk traffic, and it will hold an easy 90mph cruise on the motorway. It’s also a comfortable place to be: the front seats are large and easily adjusted, and there’s plenty of space front and rear.

The overwhelming impression is of a car that is exceptionally well put together, with dynamic qualities by no means disgraced by more coveted brands.

It drives well in town, with surprising precision given its weight and height. The steering is light and positive, and the auto ’box smooth and vice-free.

The conclusion is simple: if you’re looking for a vehicle in this class, don’t be biased against the Sorento just because it’s good value. It’s also a cracking SUV.

Bill Thomas

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Ford Mustang
    First Drive
    24 March 2018
    Sixth-generation Mustang gets a leaner face, revised suspension, improved safety equipment and a more power V8. We see how it fares on southern French roads
  • First Drive
    23 March 2018
    Fully-loaded, big-hitting diesel CLS shows the potential perils of ticking too many options boxes on your order form. A good car with a bad suspension combination.
  • BMW M5
    First Drive
    22 March 2018
    Super saloon deploys four-wheel drive to improve every facet of its driving experience. Faster and more capable than any, and more exciting than most, of its celebrated predecessors
  • Range Rover Sport SVR
    First Drive
    22 March 2018
    More power and an intoxicating soundtrack have breathed new life into our love affair with the biggest, baddest Range Rover Sport variant
  • First Drive
    21 March 2018
    The new Vantage has been developed as a Porsche 911 beater, and our first taste on UK roads suggests it can live up to that bold claim