Only one engine is available on the new Sorento - a 2.2-litre turbodiesel four-cylinder motor developing 197bhp at 3800rpm and 311lb ft of torque from 1800 to 2500rpm.

For anyone expecting the diesel four-pot engine to have emerged from its makeover as a more whispery or dulcet-toned item, their introduction to it will likely prove disappointing. At idle, there is much the same hard-edged, sharply audible voice.

The Sorento's mid-range heave is generally obliging enough for the drivetrain not to downshift needlessly

Its vibrations have been sanded away to leave only the slightest buzz underfoot, but the clatter remains distinguishable when accelerating at slow speeds. While it is not particularly intrusive or irksome – or even unusual among its mainstream rivals – the continuous accompaniment around town does negate a certain level of polish that one might reasonably have expected for the sort of money that gets you close to a BMW straight six.

Otherwise, it is very obliging. The unit’s burliness makes it encouraging at low revs, aided no end by the swift lock-up of the torque converter and a prompt step-off. Such responsiveness is important in a car of this size because it makes it seem like a manageable prospect at roundabouts and junctions.

An absence of hesitancy – of the sort that dulled the Land Rover Discovery Sport’s get-away – helps establish a likeable easy-to-drive vibe, which the big Kia largely continues to live up to.

The power on offer, tempered by the car’s weight, hardly feels bountiful in the manner of a big-capacity modern oil-burner but, for the most part, it keeps the Sorento barrelling along with a gravel-throated enthusiasm. Predictably, the flat-out 9.3sec sprint to 60mph isn’t particularly memorable.

It’s far easier to appreciate the well-matched combination of torque delivery and gear ratios while under way, and the mid-range heave is generally obliging enough for the drivetrain not to downshift needlessly.

Only by merging aggressively with the outside lane of a motorway are Sorento owners likely to find themselves triggering a kickdown manually – and we’re willing to bet that, too, will be well within their expectations.


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