For all of its reconfiguring underneath, the Sorento’s dynamic attributes remain essentially uncomplicated. This is a large car and the unconcealed pride in that fact belies the primary importance of its positioning in North American and Asian markets.
Its handling identity seems, for the most part, inextricably linked. The big Kia feels predominantly like a tool forged to convey seven in reasonable comfort – sympathetically tuned and stoutly competent, but not a product invested with the sophisticated manners of a Discovery Sport or the high-grade proficiency of a BMW X3, the cars its maker is evidently gunning for.
With its size taken into account, the Sorento resists well any sensation that it is unwieldy, but a sustained stretch of British B-road traversed at the national limit isn’t an experience to particularly savour. Its long-wave body undulations, those that give the Sorento its archetypal large-SUV lope in wide, open spaces, tend to become slightly more plodding when the pace and frequency of the surfacing disturbances begin to mount up.
Again, this isn’t an unreasonable compromise between control and comfort; it merely confirms the absence of that final layer of polish that a handful of premium European rivals apply so well. Elsewhere, most evidently on roads a little more conducive to the Kia’s size and disposition, it proves likeable and easy-going.
There’s a credible weightiness to the electrically powered steering rack, although it builds a little unpredictably with vehicle speed and steering angle. As for comfort, the body rarely ruminates over bumps for long, and although its isolation of the cabin isn’t exemplary, the ride is generally respectable. Unsurprisingly, long motorway trips are dismissed most deftly of all.
This is a large, confident crossover in the most modern sense, then – if short on driver reward then at least admirably long on amenability.