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Kia Sorento

HARD BARGAIN? (some text hidden)

With June Neary

Introductionword count: 33

Kia's much improved third generation Sorento is a big 4x4 priced like a smaller one. If you fancy getting extra off-roader for your money, it could be worth a look. June Neary investigates.

Will It Suit Me?word count: 211

For quite a while now, buyers looking for value for money from their next 4x4 have done well to remember the name of Kia's Sorento. Originally launched in 2003, it was always priced like a compact 4x4 but had the bulk and, more crucially, the carrying capacity of a larger family-sized model. Of course, back then value for money was Kia's speciality. These days the Korean brand has improved on virtually every aspect of its vehicles and is charging a little more for them to reflect the upturn in quality. We're looking here at the third generation model announced early in 2015. In this guise, the Sorento still has the size to impress and in line with so many of its rival 4x4 models, steps have been taken to improve its ride and handling on the road at the expense of some off-road ruggedness. Kia is also claiming that the Sorento is now a 'crossover' which is a trendy term for 4x4s which place more emphasis on tarmac driving than getting their tyres dirty. It makes sense for most people when they tot-up how many times they really test their 4x4 vehicle's off-road and as someone who hates cleaning the car quite intensely, I certainly avoid the mud at all costs.

Practicalitiesword count: 233

Cars that tout themselves as crossovers tend to be lower and sleeker in appearance than their more rough and ready 4x4 counterparts. The Sorento follows this convention with an elongated shape, a large front overhang and a steeply raked windscreen. My family liked the look of it. The cabin follows a 'modern and wide' theme, providing the interior with a stable, horizontal layout and appearance. A higher proportion of soft-touch materials and leather aims to create a luxury feel. One of the most distinctive interior styling features is the Swiss watch-inspired centre-console, although to this eye it still looks more Casio than Rado. There's a stack of room inside though, with five or seven seat models offered. The extra 80mm of wheelbase means greater legroom throughout. Cargo space is also increased over the previous version, and capacity with the third row seats folded flat is up 17.5 percent, from 515 to 605-litres. The Sorento also features a neat under-floor tonneau cover storage compartment. The third row seating is just about comfortable enough for a couple of adults on long trips - but only just. It'll probably be OK for taking granny to the garden centre though and a couple of kids will be fine here. All occupants benefit from more luxurious surroundings, with notable improvements in the soft-touch materials used to trim the cabin and higher levels of equipment for all trim grades.

Behind the Wheelword count: 249

It's a diesel-only format for Sorento buyers these days, with all versions powered by a revised version of Kia's 2.2-litre CRDi turbodiesel engine, driving all four wheels via a six-speed manual gearbox or a six-speed automatic. This powerplant makes 202PS, giving the Sorento the ability to sprint to 62mph in just 9.0 seconds and then on to a top end of 124mph. That was enough performance for me. A great deal of work has gone into improving refinement, with a stiffer bodyshell, additional soundproofing, acoustic shields built into the engine bay and a thicker dashboard. Depending on speed, ambient noise within the cabin is claimed to be between three and six per cent quieter than the previous car. It certainly felt refined. As before, this car lacks the low range gearbox that would mark it out as a serious off road tool. Still, all models have 4WD (by no means a given these days with family SUVs), a layout that sees 100 per cent of torque is directed to the front wheels under normal driving conditions with drive directed rearwards as slippage is detected by the computer. There is, however, a Lock Mode which will split power equally between the front and rear axles to help in slippery conditions at speeds of up to 40km/h. The vehicle also comes with DBC, Kia's version of hill descent control, which controls speed on steep descents and HAC hill start assist which prevents the Sorento rolling back when pulling away up hill.

To see the full road test text contact us on 0330 0020 227

Pictures (high res disabled)

Statistics (subset of data only)

Min

Max

0-60 mph (s):

9

9.6

Combined mpg:

42.2

49.6

Extra urban mpg:

46.3

57.6

Height (mm):

1685

Length (mm):

4780

Max Speed (mph):

124

... and 5 other stats available

Scoring (subset of scores)

Category: 4x4s

Performance
70%
Handling
70%
Comfort
70%
Space
90%
Styling, Build, Value, Equipment, Depreciation, Handling, Insurance and Total scores are available with our full data feed.

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