Kia Sorento (2015-present)

Seven seats and four-wheel drive for under £30,000 with the Kia Sorento

Strengths & Weaknesses

Strengths 

Class-leading reliability and quality
Smooth and comfortable
Seven-year warranty

Weaknesses 

Cramped rear row of seats
More expensive models are poor value
Only two Isofix child seat mounts

With space for seven, an enormous boot (when you fold the rear seats) and four-wheel drive with trailer stability assist as standard, the Kia Sorento is four vehicles in one: mini-bus, van, off-roader and tow car.

It's a popular formula for families, and there are plenty of other seven-seat sport utility vehicles (SUVs), including the Hyundai Santa Fe, Nissan X-Trail and Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace. All feature a rugged design and a high driving position but these are cars that are designed for school runs and motorway trips, rather than off-road expeditions.

Despite the competition, there's a lot going for the big Kia Sorento, particularly when it comes to value. New car prices start at under £30,000, and two-year-old models are around £10,000 cheaper. There's a lengthy seven-year warranty, as well as air conditioning, digital radio and parking sensors across the range.

Value doesn't mean cheap: the Sorento may not quite match the Volkswagen or the slightly more expensive Land Rover Discovery Sport, but the controls are robust, the interior is covered in soft-touch materials and there are plenty of high-end options including seats that heat or cool, a panoramic sunroof, adaptive cruise control and all-round camera.

Owners speak highly of the car: in the latest Driver Power new car satisfaction survey, the Sorento was ranked as the best SUV to own, and the second best new car in Britain for reliability.

The Sorento was updated in 2018 with a more efficient automatic gearbox, some minor styling tweaks and some additional trim options, but no major changes to the car that first appeared in 2015, so you're not missing out on much if you opt for a used model.

The Sorento is a safe vehicle with the maximum five stars from Euro NCAP. There are only two sets of Isofix points - in the middle row of seats - for securing a child seat. 

Visibility is good, with the driver enjoying a great view of the road. The middle row of seats can easily accommodate three adults. They get their own USB charging point, too. The rearmost row is a bit of a squeeze but passengers here have their own ventilation controls, which make things more bearable.  

There’s not a lot of boot space behind that third row but you can always fold it down to create more. Fold down the middle row and you’ll be thinking you bought a van, there’s so much of it.

Fortunately, the Sorento is far from van-like on the road. It’s quiet, smooth and comfortable over most roads. Being a tall vehicle, it will lean noticeably in corners if driven with any enthusiasm. The light steering makes a doddle of low-speed manoeuvres such as parking but makes it difficult to judge precisely where the wheels are pointing at higher speeds. There’s a choice of manual or eight-speed automatic gearboxes. The latter suits the Sorento’s relaxed style but adds £2,000 to the price.

As a used car it makes a lot of sense, but in the past two years the competition has intensified and the Sorento has now been overtaken by rivals, which are even cheaper. The new Peugeot 5008 is more comfortable, arguably more stylish and comes with a flashy two-screen dashboard; Skoda's Kodiaq offers exceptional value with the nimble driving feel of a much smaller car; there's a new and improved Hyundai Santa Fe on the way; while the Land Rover Discovery Sport is surprisingly competitive when compared with a top-specification Kia Sportage - and much more capable off road.

If you don't need seven seats, consider smaller and cheaper SUVs including the Peugeot 3008 and Kia’s own very popular Sportage, as well as the big-booted Renault Koleos.

If you all you want is seven-seat versatility without the bulk of an SUV, then check out people carriers such as the seven-seat Kia Carens, which costs £10,000 less than the Sorento. Other large MPVs worth looking at are the Ford Galaxy and Citroen Grand C4 Picasso.

  

Last Updated 

Friday, April 20, 2018 - 16:45

Key facts 

Warranty: 
7 years / 100,000 miles
Boot size: 
116 litres
Width: 
1885mm
Height: 
4685mm
Height: 
1735mm
Tax (min to max): 
£500 to £800 (in first year), £140 thereafter

Best KIA Sorento for... 

Kia Sorento 2.2 CRDi KX-1
Smaller wheels generally offer the best fuel economy, so a Kia Sorento in basic KX-1 trim with 17in wheels is more efficient than other models in the range which have larger wheels.
Kia Sorento 2.2 CRDi KX-3 auto
At list price, this is expensive, but if you get a good Kia Sorento deal for a KX-3 model, you'll have a great family car with a panoramic sunroof for more light in the back seats, and a powered bootlid that’s handy when your hands are full.
Kia Sorento 2.2 CRDi GT-Line Auto
There’s only one engine in the Sorento range, so there’s no extra power on the sporty GT-Line. It does have bigger 19in wheels that offer a little more grip, though.
Kia Sorento 2.2 CRDi GT-Line S
This top-of-the range Sorento wants for little. However, its £41,995 list price means you pay a £310 road tax surcharge in years two to five, on top of the new first-year diesel surcharge. Not only that but its high price puts it within touching distance of a Land Rover Discovery.  

KIA Sorento History 

  • 2015 New Kia Sorento goes on sale.
  • 2018 Updated Sorento goes on sale with a new, more efficient eight-speed automatic gearbox and new GT-Line and GT-Line S trims, replacing KX-4 trim.

Understanding KIA Sorento car names 

  • Sorento
  • Engine
    2.2 CRDi ISG
  • Trim
    KX-2
  • Engine
    There’s only one engine available for the Kia Sorento and its size is given in litres - 2.2. The letters CRDi stand for common rail diesel injection, which describes the way the car’s fuel system works - and indicates that it’s a diesel engine. ISG stands for idle stop & go: the engine switches off when the car is stopped - at traffic lights, for example - to save fuel.
  • Trim
    The trim level indicates what equipment is fitted as standard. There are four ranging from the cheapest KX-1 to GT-Line S.

KIA Sorento Engines 

2.2 CRDi ISG

There may only be one engine in the Sorento range but it’s well suited to the car. It’s got good pulling power and needs it, with the Sorento weighing in at 2 tonnes, and able to tow up to 2.5 tonnes (2 tonnes for the automatic).

Fuel consumption varies noticeably depending on the size of the wheels that you choose, but none of the models are particularly frugal.. The KX-1 version, with 17in alloy wheels returns 49.6mpg, according to official tests, and costs £500 to tax in the first yearm, but more expensive manual cars do 47.1mpg and cost £800 to tax. Choose an automatic and the official mpg rating is 43.5mpg, with an annual tax bill of £800.

Type

Fuel economy

Power

0 - 60

Top speed

2.2 ISG

Diesel

43.5 - 49.6mpg

197bhp

9.0 – 9.6s

124mph

KIA Sorento Trims 

KX-1, KX-2, KX-3, GT-Line, GT-Line S

The trim levels might have unimaginative names, but at least they are easy to understand.

KX-1 is the basic trim and includes air conditioning, rear parking sensors (useful in such a big car), electric mirrors and cruise control. As with all Kia Sorento models, it has seven seats and four-wheel drive. It’s the only model not available with an automatic gearbox.

Even the very best Kia Sorento deals are a hefty £2,000 more expensive for the next level up, KX-2 (the official price is almost £4,000 more) but this does bring a raft of equipment , including a 7in dashboard touchscreen with sat-nav, a reversing camera leather seats, which are heated in the front and dual-zone climate control that allows both front passengers to select their air temperature. Self-levelling suspension is fitted, which helps keep the car steady when towing.

Good deals on KX-3 cars are less common, so the cars can cost several thousands of pounds more for a panoramic sunroof, electrically-adjustable driver’s seat and an electric bootlid that opens automatically when you stand behind the car (with the key) for three seconds.

New GT-Line trim is actually £200 cheaper than KX-3. It sacrifices some of the KX-3’s luxuries for a sportier look and 19in rather than 18in wheels. With the old KX-4 trim no more, the next, and last trim level, is GT-Line S. This takes GT-Line trim and adds loads more kit including a host of driver assist features – but at a list price very close to £42,000.

KIA Sorento Reliability and warranty 

Whatever happens with your Sorento, you’ll be protected by the longest warranty in the business. It lasts last seven years - or until it’s driven 100,000 miles if that comes sooner. If you are a high-mileage driver, then consider the Hyundai Santa Fe which has a five-year warranty with an unlimited mileage limit.

The lengthy warranty is borne out by the Sorento’s performance in the latest Driver Power 2018 customer satisfaction survey, where it was it was rated the second best new car for reliability and second best for quality. Overall, it was ranked the eighth best new car to own out of 75 best-selling models.

Used KIA Sorento 

Kia’s excellent warranty remains with the vehicle when it’s sold, so if you’re buying a three-year-old model, then it will still be covered for four years - as long as the car doesn’t cover more than 100,000 miles.

Kia’s reputation hasn’t yet caught up with the quality of its cars, and so used car buyers are not yet willing to pay as much as they would for a second-hand Land Rover, for example. This means that there are some great used Kia Sorento deals. Two year-old models start at around £20,000.

The former top-of-the-range spec KX-4 was discontinued in 2018 to coincide with a minor update. This means that there are well-specified bargains out there if you don't mind having an earlier car. You're not missing out on much either: the biggest change was just in the foglights.