Having driven many of the 7 seat SUV options on the market today I was very interested to see how Kia Sorento stacked up against the rest and if my first impressions were anything to go by the week was going to be good.
The Sorento looks great the Chrome ‘Schreyer’ radiator grille surround contrasts well with the dark grille, and the 18 inch alloy wheels a good accompaniment to the Pearl White paint.
On the inside and the Sorento continued to impress me, the leather clad front seats are not only comfortable but the electric adjustment for the drivers eat made it easy to find the correct driving position.
The leather bound steering wheel is comfortable to hold and contains buttons to for the cruise control, audio system and hands free for your which mean you don’t have to take your hand off the wheel while driving.
I loved the 7″ colour TFT instrument cluster which was easy to see in any light, the centre of which could not only display a digital speedo but also a myriad of info from the trip computer.
The dash is shapely and the centre stack which is home to the 7″ full colour LCD touch screen
for the multimedia system and the aircon controls.
The Multi media system was extremely easy to use and only took moments to connect my phone to it. The Sli comes standard with satnav which again is extremely easy to use and the sound from the 10 speaker premium sound system was pretty damn good.
Front and back legroom was good and access to the 3rd row of seating was just a flick of lever away, boot space was great at 900L which expands to 1700L with the back seats folded.
Under the bonnet the Sorento is powered by a 2.2L turbo diesel engine developing 147kW and 440Nm of torque.
Which means the Sorento has more than enough power to keep up with traffic, with peak torque low in the rev range not even the steepest hill bothered the Sorento.
The Sorento also comes with 3 drive modes Eco, Normal and Sport all of which give the car a different attitude. The Eco mode not only strives to give you best economy but will also give the steering it’s lightest setting. The only problem with the Eco mode and I have had the same thing happen with other cars I’ve driven, is that it can feel a bit sluggish off the mark.
My fuel economy during the week while in Eco mode hovered around the 9.5L/100 mark.
While I didn’t really measure fuel economy in normal mode the pedal response was slightly better and the steering a touch firmer.
Sport mode gives the steering it’s firmest setting, the engine does feel more responsive and there is a marked difference between Sport and Eco. But that extra responsiveness does effect your fuel economy. My economy is sport mode jumped to 10.3L/100 but part of that could be attributed to me exercising my right foot enjoying the added responsiveness.
The turbo diesel engine paired to a 6 speed auto which I found rather good the shifts were good and there was no hesitation when using the sport shift.
On the road the Sorento was great the ride was comfortable and compliant absorbing any bump with harshness being transmitted into the cabin, there is a touch of lean going into some of the tighter corners but no more then you would expect from an SUV.
The steering was precise and well weighed in any of the drive modes, the Sorento like other cars in the Kia table has benefitted greatly from their program to tune the suspension to local conditions.
Safety wise the Sorento has received a 5 star safety rating and comes with a long list of safety features including ABS with EBD & BA, Driver and passenger SRS airbags, Curtain SRS airbags, ESC, VSM, HAC (Hill-start Assist Control), Electrochromic rear view mirror (auto dimming), LED positioning lamps, Dusk-sensing automatic headlamps.
The Sorento gets bonus points for having not rear parking sensors front ones as well and scores full marks from me for the standard fit rear view camera.
After a week with the Sorento I could not come away more impressed, not only was it a comfortable to drive and ride in, It is full of safety features, comes with a list of standard features and has plenty of room for the whole family.
Plus you have the added peace of mind that comes with Kia’s best in the business 7 year warranty and fixed priced servicing.
If your looking for a 7 seat SUV for the family then you should have the Sorento on your list, for more info on the Kia Sorento check out their website http://www.kia.com.au
Kia Sorento SLi
Engine: 2.2L turbo diesel 147kW 441Nm
Transmission: 6 speed auto, 4wd
Electric power steering, 18″ alloys, TPMS (Tyre Pressure Monitoring System), Front & reverse parking sensors with dash display, Rear view camera with in-audio screen display & parking guidelines, Leather† trim seats, 8-way power driver’s seat with 2-way lumbar support, Rear spoiler, 7″ colour TFT supervision instrument cluster, Digital speedometer, Power windows (front & rear) with auto up & down, Alloy sports pedals, 10 speaker premium sound system (6 speakers, 2 tweeters, centre speaker & subwoofer powered by external amplifier) – Infinity® brand, Satellite navigation multimedia system with traffic information (SUNA™), 7″ full touch colour LCD screen, Bluetooth® functionality, Dual-zone climate control air-conditioning, 2nd row vents (behind centre console), 3rd row fan control & vent.