Kia Sorento review 2019

Find out more about the Kia Sorento in the latest MOTORS Review

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Out of 5


  • Practical seven-seater
  • Lots of equipment for the price
  • Comfortable cruiser


  • Top-spec cars are expensive
  • Vague steering
  • Unrefined diesel engine
Model Review

The Sorento has long been Kia’s largest model in the UK, and has become known for its practical cabin and dependable reliability. It’s always been rather rough around the edges. It has a strong no-frills attitude, although it’s proven to be a popular choice with families and also those who need to tow large loads with their cars, thanks to its impressive towing capacity.

The Sorento helped Kia to change its brand perception in the UK, and while it’s never been a particularly popular model, Kia recently celebrated 50,000 sales with its SUV.

The second-generation model entered showrooms in 2010, and five years later the third-generation version came along, which is the one on sale today.

This model represented a shift upmarket for the model, with vastly-improved refinement and quality being particular highlights. It was also not the off-roader that past versions were. Four-wheel-drive is still fitted to all models, though.

Increased dimensions also allowed for more interior space and a larger boot than before, as well as a sleeker profile to give the Sorento a more luxurious image. Kia didn’t forget about the importance of being good value for money, though.

Latest model

A revised Sorento was unveiled in September 2017, with the updated version going on sale at the start of 2018.

While it was a small facelift, the Sorento featured new front and rear bumpers, new front and rear lights and a new dark finish to Kia’s trademark tiger-nose front grille. A couple of new colours were also available.

The interior benefited from further tech improvements to the touchscreen, as well as a greater use of soft touch plastics to help make the Sorento to feel like a more upmarket model.

Alongside a new eight-speed automatic transmission, Kia also launched a new GT-Line trim for the Sorento. GT-Line models can be distinguished from their ‘ice-cube’ LED fog lights, red brake callipers, painted side sills and a chrome twin exhaust tip at the rear.

Value for money

The Sorento is no longer the SUV bargain it once was, with prices starting from £30,225 and rising to £43,000 for top spec models. Entry-level models make more financial sense than the top versions – particularly as the Sorento is a model known for depreciating heavily.

Standard equipment is good, although not especially generous. The base-spec KX-1 features 17-inch alloy wheels, rear parking sensors, a seven-inch touchscreen with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, although a few more luxuries wouldn’t go amiss for the price.

But that said, when you compare it to more premium small models from the likes of Audi, Land Rover and BMW, it can look quite good value.

Early Sorentos can be picked up for under £1,000, although we’re looking at the latest generation here. Examples from 2015 can be picked up for just £16,000, which is around half the original list price in three years, making the Sorento a fantastic used buy. There are also some fantastic discounts on the facelifted model, too. We saw a six-month-old Sorento in mid-spec KX-2 trim, and with less than 1,000 miles on the clock for £25,000.

Looks and image

The latest Sorento is certainly the smartest it has ever been. The new bumpers, revised chrome grille and smarter lights have made the SUV look far fresher than it did before. The addition of GT-Line trim has also added another addition to the Sorento, and appeals to those wanting a bit more glam and sporty looks.

The interior has also been stepped up a notch—as it should be as the Sorento is Kia’s flagship model. There are plenty of soft-touch plastics used throughout the cabin, with higher spec versions getting leather and other luxuries such as heated rear seats. A standard-fit seven-inch touchscreen is fitted to KX-1 models, with all other versions benefiting from a larger eight-inch touchscreen. However, there are certain areas of the interior which feel cheap, though these are few and far between.

Unsurprisingly for something as chunky as the Sorento, you can feel its weight when driving. There’s plenty of roll in the corners so it’s not a very dynamic machine to drive. The steering is also more vague than you would hope for, which certainly doesn’t inspire any confidence behind the wheel. However, the Sorento will not be driven by those who want something hugely involving to drive — rather a comfortable cruiser. This it excels at, thanks to comfy seats and a soft, cushioned ride. The 2.2-litre diesel engine delivers an excellent amount of punch, though, which is useful when overtaking

Video review

Space and practicality

The Sorento has kept growing and growing over the years, but at least this allows for plenty of interior space.

The Sorento comes as standard with seven seats (rivals such as the Skoda Kodiaq do not get this privilege) and it feels every inch as practical inside as some of the larger MPVs. The third row of seats is really best left for children, but there’s more room in the third row than other models in the same class. Though second-row seat space is impressive with enough room for three adults to sit in comfort, given its hefty width and also generous headroom and legroom. The rear pair of seats can also slide and fold to allow for easy access into the rear-most two seats. Around the cabin, there’s also plenty of storage spaces.

With all seven seats in place, the boot space is quite measly, with just 142 litres of storage space, with 605 litres with five seats in place. The second row of seats can also be folded flat as well, which reveals a van-rivalling 1,662 litres of storage space.

Euro NCAP awarded the Sorento a five-star safety rating, with high scores recorded across the board. However, since then safety advancements have moved on significantly, which leaves the Sorento somewhat lagging behind newer rivals. You have to spend £37,000 on the mid-spec KX-3 before you get any driving aids such as high beam assist, lane-keep assist, speed limit information and a driver attention alert. In addition, it’s not until top spec models are accessed that you get autonomous emergency braking, which is disappointing when you consider that some superminis offer it as a standard feature.


Just one engine is offered on the Sorento – a 2.2-litre diesel unit. It produces 197bhp and 441Nm of torque, which delivers quite strong performance. The engine propels the Sorento from 0-60mph in 8.7 seconds, and on to a top speed of 127mph.

It’s offered with either a six-speed manual or an eight-speed automatic transmission. The latter being slightly slower and thirstier.

While the diesel engine suits the Sorento well, it’s a relatively old engine and doesn’t feel particularly refined.

Running costs

As you might expect from a big diesel engine, the Sorento could be quite a thirsty run. You can get between 46.3mpg and 47.1mpg (the automatic being the least efficient), with CO2 emissions ranging between 157g/km and 161g/km.

Another thing to be conscious of with the Sorento is that models over £40,000 (which are essentially the top-spec GT-Line S) will have to pay an additional £310 in road tax between years two and six of the car’s first registration.

Insurance groups are quite low for a model of this size, though, and range between 24 and 27.

Things to look out for

One of Kia’s star features is the manufacturer’s seven-year-100,000-mile warranty, which is one of the best offered across all carmakers. Kia has a lot of faith in its models and has offered such warranty for over 10 years now. There were no known issues with the latest model at the time of writing.


The Sorento’s closest rival is a model it shares some components with—the Hyundai Santa Fe, although this model is newer than the Sorento is. Other excellent models worth considering include the Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace, Skoda Kodiaq, Land Rover Discovery Sport, the Seat Tarraco or the Nissan X-Trail. If you don’t need seven seats, you could also look at the Mazda CX-5.


As we’ve mentioned earlier, the Sorento doesn’t have the best reputation for holding its value, which means you can find three-year-old examples for less than half the model’s original list price, and savings of over £5,000 off nearly-new examples. This makes the Sorento a great used buy.


  1. Good value seven-seater
  2. Lots of interior space
  3. Well-priced for the kit on offer…
  4. Although top-spec versions are too expensive
  5. Powerful, but unrefined 2.2-litre diesel engine
  6. Very comfortable
  7. Lack of standard safety kit
  8. Stylish look
  9. Interior feels classy and well-built
  10. A very commendable family seven-seat SUV

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