Kia Sorento Review
The Kia Sorento is a large seven-seater SUV that’s available in diesel, hybrid and plug-in hybrid forms
Strengths & weaknesses
Kia's Sorento is a supersized family car with seven seats just like it always has been, but it’s come a long way from the original budget-oriented model and it’s now one of the most upmarket, expensive and appealing models of its type.
There are two versions of the Sorento that use 1.6-litre petrol engines, but both are helped along by an electric motor as well. The hybrid model uses a small battery and the engine charges that up, while the plug-in hybrid version (PHEV) has a larger battery that can be charged up using an external plug to boost its fuel economy.
There’s also a normal diesel model that uses a 2.2-litre engine with 202hp. This model is good for towing and doing a lot of motorway trips, but many drivers will prefer one of the quiet, smooth and easy-to-drive hybrids. All models use an automatic gearbox.
The Sorento has a very large and spacious interior that’s packed with equipment no matter which version you choose. It’s a large car, but if you need space for a big family then the Sorento is an excellent choice and even though it’s a little expensive, it still feels like good value for money.
Read on to find out more about the Kia Sorento and see if it’s right for you. Here we’re talking about the fourth-generation Sorento built from 2020 onwards.
Should I get a Kia Sorento?
✔ Practical and spacious
✔ Loads of equipment
✔ Good engine range
✘ A bit uncomfortable on bumpy roads
✘ Expensive to buy
✘ Large size isn’t ideal on UK roads
If you need a large SUV with seven seats then the Kia Sorento is one of the best options around, especially as a used car. It has a long warranty like all Kias, plus there’s a good range of engines including hybrids and a diesel, so you can get the right car for your needs.
The Sorento is really spacious inside and is well built, well equipped and easy to drive. It’s not the most comfortable car of its type, and it’s a bit expensive to buy new, but it has a lot of positive attributes that should make it very appealing as a big family car.
- Models explained
- Trim levels
- Batteries and range
- Best Sorento for...
- Boot space
- Should I buy used?
The Kia Sorento is a large five-door SUV with seven seats as standard. It’s a similar size to the Skoda Kodiaq and Land Rover Discovery Sport and costs about the same as those models too. It uses a 2.2-litre diesel engine with 202hp and an eight-speed automatic gearbox.
The current Sorento went on sale in 2020 and is even more upmarket than before. It’s the largest model in the Kia range, sitting above the Sportage in the SUV lineup. Trim levels include '2', '3', and '4' models, which keeps things simple - you can see what each version includes below.
Kia Sorento hybrid models
The Kia Sorento is available in two hybrid models. The Sorento Hybrid uses a 1.6-litre petrol engine and a small 1.5kWh battery, plus an electric motor. This setup doesn’t need to be charged up, as the engine keeps the small battery topped up, and there’s a six-speed automatic gearbox.
The second petrol-electric version is the Plug-in Hybrid or PHEV, which has the same 1.6-litre petrol engine and an electric motor, but there’s a much larger 14kWh battery that can be charged up using a plug.
This version is at its best when you charge up overnight and do lots of short journeys, covering as many trips as possible using the 35 miles of electric driving range. Fail to charge the plug-in hybrid and you're likely to be better off with the standard hybrid version.
|'2'||Limited stock: All versions of the Sorento are well equipped. Even the entry-level model comes with 17-inch alloy wheels, an eight-inch touchscreen media system with smartphone connectivity, heated seats, a heated steering wheel, a reversing camera, LED headlights and lots of safety tech.|
|'3'||From £31,771: The mid-range trim level comes with everything on the lesser model plus upgrades including 19-inch wheels and a 10.3-inch media screen. There’s also keyless entry and push-button start, an electric boot door, wireless phone charging and leather seats.|
|'4'||From £34,995: The top-spec model comes with Nappa leather upholstery, a large sunroof, a Bose stereo, cooled seats and a 360-degree camera to help make parking a lot easier.|
The Kia Sorento has three engines to choose from and the great thing about this is that there’s a best choice for just about anyone. The best Kia Sorento engine differs based on what your plans for the car are.
For people who just want to travel with their family for various types of journey, the hybrid model is best - it’s efficient, quiet and smooth. The plug-in hybrid is potentially best for those who do predominantly short trips and are happy to charge the car regularly, as it’s able to use no petrol at all for up to 35 miles.
The diesel model is also well worth considering, too. It’s great for long trips as it has a really long driving range and is more efficient at higher speeds, plus it’s great for towing as well.
If you can’t decide between the two hybrid models, think about how you plan to use the car, and your parking situation. If you don’t have a driveway or easy home charging then the answer is easy - choose the normal hybrid because you don’t need to plug it in to get the best out of it.
If you can park at home or work and plug in, the PHEV model could make more sense. It can drive for 35 miles on electric power, so if you don’t travel that far each day and charge the car regularly, you can make huge savings on fuel. If you drive it without plugging in, though, this model is potentially the least efficient of the bunch, so bear that in mind.
The Hybrid Sorento has a tiny 1.5kWh battery, and is only charged with the engine (plus some regenerative braking, where the car adds some charge back to the batteries when slowing down).
The plug-in hybrid version of the Sorento has a 13.8kWh battery pack and a 1.6-litre petrol engine, and can drive for up to 35 miles on electric power alone - provided you start with a fully charged battery - according to official figures.
It takes five hours to charge on a normal household three-pin plug, but if you have a home wallbox charger it can be fully charged in three hours and 25 minutes.
There are three different engines and three trim levels to choose from in the Kia Sorento range, so we’ve picked out some options below for a few different types of driver. All versions of the Sorento come with seven seats, so no matter which version you choose you are always getting the most practicality possible.
|Kia Sorento 1.6 T-GDi Hybrid '2': The entry-level model is great value because it comes with all the kit you really need plus some nice luxuries like heated seats as standard. The Hybrid model is the cheapest engine variant, but also the best for all-round use.
|Kia Sorento 1.6 T-GDi Plug-in Hybrid '3': If you have a bit more budget you can always move up to the '3' trim level, which adds some more kit. The PHEV model is great for families with a short school run as you can plug in overnight and take the kids to school - and potentially get back - on electric power alone.
|Kia Sorento 1.6 T-GDi Plug-in Hybrid: The Plug-in Hybrid model is the fastest car in the range and can go from 0-62mph in 8.4 seconds thanks to having 265hp from its petrol engine and electric motor combined.
|Kia Sorento 1.6 T-GDi Hybrid '4': Don’t bother with the top-spec model, as although it’s well equipped, the sunroof cuts into headroom and it’s rather expensive. We don’t think the huge amount of extra money this version costs is worth it for the kit you get.
The Kia Sorento has quite a few rivals to keep on your radar when looking for a large, seven-seater SUV. The Skoda Kodiaq is a top pick, as it’s really roomy, is well equipped and better to drive than the Sorento. The Seat Tarraco is another option that’s really good to drive.
If you want something with a bit more style then there’s the Peugeot 5008, while the Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace and Land Rover Discovery Sport are a bit more classy, but not as practical. The Hyundai Santa Fe is a really close rival and is comfortable, well equipped and just as well built as the Kia.
Kia Sorento practicality: dimensions and boot space
The Kia Sorento is a very big car - it’s 4.8m long, 1.7m tall and 1.9m wide (excluding the door mirrors). This means it’s longer and wider than the Skoda Kodiaq and even the Land Rover Discovery Sport, although the full-size Land Rover Discovery is longer and wider still.
It’s a seven-seater, too, so there are two extra seats behind the second row. These are a good size for kids, although adults won’t really want to be sat there for too long. However, there’s loads of space for adults in the second row, as there’s lots of legroom and headroom back there.
There’s even space for someone to sit in the middle seat, and the floor is nice and flat, but the seat itself is a bit narrow for three adults to sit comfortably. It’s fine for kids, though, and space up front is very generous.
|Length 4,810mm||Width 1,900mm|
|Height 1,700mm||Weight 1,954kg - 2,099kg|
The Sorento has between 604 and 616 litres of space in the boot depending on which model you choose. The batteries in the hybrid versions take up a bit of space under the boot floor, which reduces the amount of space slightly - the PHEV has the smallest boot and the diesel has the biggest as a result of this, but there’s not too much difference overall.
This is with the two rearmost seats folded away flat, as there’s only room for a couple of bags behind them when they’re in use. Fold away the five rearmost seats and there’s up to 2,011 litres of space in the Sorento, which means there’s plenty of space for things like bicycles and paddle boards. Overall, the Sorento is really practical and spacious inside.
|Rear seats up 179-187 litres||Rear seats down 604-616 litres||All seats down 1,988-2,011 litres|
Kia Sorento reliability
The Kia Sorento has only been on sale since 2020 in its current form, so there’s no long-term data available on its reliability. We’d expect all models to be very reliable, though, and the ownership experience, in general, should be a positive one.
Kia came in second place overall in the 2021 Driver Power customer satisfaction survey, which is a very strong result and shows how highly the brand is thought of by Kia owners.
Kia Sorento warranty
The Kia Sorento comes with a seven-year or 100,000-mile warranty from the factory, the same as all Kia models. This is one of the best warranties around - just look at its rivals for comparison.
Skoda, Land Rover, Volkswagen and Seat all only offer three years or 60,000 miles of warranty cover. Hyundai’s Santa Fe comes with five years’ worth of cover, which is the closest rival in terms of warranty length, but the Kia is best-in-class here.
|7 years||100,000 miles|
Used Kia Sorento: should I buy one?
The Kia Sorento is a little too expensive new to recommend if you don’t actually need a model with seven seats, but if you are in need of a large family car then it’s very easy to recommend, especially used. It’s likely to be reliable and comes with a long warranty, so it’s easy to buy with peace of mind, plus it’s really well equipped and every engine option is good, so there aren’t really any duff versions out there.
It’s really spacious inside, easy to drive and should be efficient if you pick the right version to suit your lifestyle. The Sorento is also well built and the cabin is pleasant and full of tech. All models are automatic so it’s relaxing, plus the hybrid versions are quiet and smooth to drive around town. It even makes a good tow car in diesel form.
Best Kia Sorento deals
Choose the entry-level '2' model if you want to get the best value for money. It comes with all the kit you need and the Hybrid model is excellent for all-round use. It makes a lot of sense if you tend to stick to shorter trips, where you can make the most of the electric motor to save fuel.
The diesel version is a better buy for drivers doing more long trips, or if you do a lot of family holidays - especially if you are towing a caravan. It’s more efficient at motorway speeds, and the engine is smooth and stays quiet at a cruise. Pick a model in 3 trim if you want a bit more kit including a larger touchscreen media system.
The Plug-in hybrid version of the Sorento is best for people who have a driveway and can plug in and charge up the battery each night, and then who don’t travel much more than 35 miles per day. If this is you, the PHEV can be driven on electric power alone most of the time, saving a lot of money on fuel.
*Representative PCP finance - 2018 Ford Fiesta 1.0 ST-Line Hatchback:
|PCP representative example||APR rates available|
|Cash price £12,000||APR 7.90%||Value of loan||From|
|Fixed monthly payment £218.12||Annual mileage of 8,000pa||£25,000+||6.9%|
|Total cost of credit £2,755.55||Term 48 months||£12,000-£24,999||7.9%|
|Optional final payment £4,285.79||Loan value £12,000||£8,000-£11,999||8.9%|
|Total amount payable £14,755.55||Deposit £0||<8,000||9.9%|
BuyaCar is a credit broker, not a lender. Our rates start from 6.9% APR. The rate you are offered will depend on your individual circumstances.