New Kia Sorento review

Category: 7-seater

The 2024 Sorento is not the cheapest seven-seat SUV but it is very practical and a great all-rounder

Kia Sorento front left driving
  • Kia Sorento front left driving
  • Kia Sorento rear left driving
  • Kia Sorento interior dashboard
  • Kia Sorento boot open
  • Kia Sorento interior infotainment
  • Kia Sorento right driving
  • Kia Sorento front left driving
  • Kia Sorento rear left driving
  • Kia Sorento headlights detail
  • Kia Sorento rear lights detail
  • Kia Sorento interior front seats
  • Kia Sorento interior back seats
  • Kia Sorento interior steering wheel detail
  • Kia Sorento interior air-con controls
  • Kia Sorento interior door detail
  • Kia Sorento interior seat detail
  • Kia Sorento front left driving
  • Kia Sorento rear left driving
  • Kia Sorento interior dashboard
  • Kia Sorento boot open
  • Kia Sorento interior infotainment
  • Kia Sorento right driving
  • Kia Sorento front left driving
  • Kia Sorento rear left driving
  • Kia Sorento headlights detail
  • Kia Sorento rear lights detail
  • Kia Sorento interior front seats
  • Kia Sorento interior back seats
  • Kia Sorento interior steering wheel detail
  • Kia Sorento interior air-con controls
  • Kia Sorento interior door detail
  • Kia Sorento interior seat detail
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Introduction

What Car? says...

Natural selection affects SUVs, not just animals, and seven-seaters that drink diesel are starting to look like dinosaurs. So the Kia Sorento – like a species with a strong survival instinct – has evolved.

Instead of simply slinging a petrol engine under the Sorento’s bonnet, Kia has used its expertise in the field of electrification to give the model ‘self-charging’ hybrid (HEV) and plug-in hybrid (PHEV) options. You can still get a diesel version, and every version gets four-wheel drive and an automatic gearbox as standard.

To keep the Sorento evolving and avoid extinction, a 2024 facelift to the car has updated its looks, its interior and its pricing. But it’s still up against premium rivals including the Land Rover Discovery Sport and Mercedes GLB as well as mainstream alternatives like the Peugeot 5008 and Skoda Kodiaq.

Is the Kia Sorento one of the best seven-seat SUVs you can get? Read on to find out...

Overview

The Kia Sorento is a brilliant seven-seat SUV and, while it's not a bargain, it offers truly fantastic practicality. Most buyers will be best served by the hybrid (HEV) model, although the plug-in (PHEV) will appeal to company car drivers and the diesel is the one to go for if you’re towing. We think the entry-level trim – called 2 – is the best choice.

  • Seven seats fit for adults
  • A massive boot
  • Well equipped
  • Priced above mainstream rivals
  • Hybrid engine isn't as fuel efficient as a Honda CR-V's
  • Interior quality not as good as similarly priced premium rivals
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Performance & drive

What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is

Engine, 0-60mph and gearbox

The "self-charging" hybrid (HEV) Kia Sorento certainly feels nippy enough, with 0-62mph taking 9.0 seconds. True, there's a slight delay between you pressing the accelerator pedal and the car surging forwards, but it's not pronounced enough to become irritating, and you won’t struggle when it comes to overtaking or getting up to motorway speeds.

This, so far, is the only version of the Sorento we’ve driven since its recent facelift. And Kia hasn’t actually officially announced the technical specifications for the engines. However, as there haven’t been any notable mechanical updates, and since all engines have been carried over from the previous car, we do expect the performance and battery figures quoted in this review to be the same for this new version.

The plug-in hybrid (PHEV) model has a bigger battery than the HEV and its more powerful electric motor gives the Sorento slightly quicker acceleration (0-62mph takes 8.7 seconds). It's still not as quick as the Audi Q5 or the Land Rover Discovery Sport, but it’s more than sufficient for everyday driving.

Officially, the PHEV can run for up to 35 miles on electric power alone, although in the real world you'll be lucky to get more than 25 miles. The maximum towing weight of the PHEV is 1,500kg, matching the Honda CR-V PHEV.

If towing is your thing, the 2.2 CRDi diesel will be the one for you because it can tow up to 2,500kg, and we know from this car’s many appearances at the Tow Car Awards over the years that this is an impressive option for hauling a caravan or a horsebox.

Kia Sorento image
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Even when you're not towing, there’s plenty of torque on offer and that makes up for the fact it has less outright power than the other versions, making it perfect if you regularly need to haul a full complement of passengers or luggage around.

Suspension and ride comfort

The Sorento gets 17in alloys come as standard on entry-level diesel and HEV versions, while the PHEV and higher trim levels get 19in alloys as standard (the biggest 20in alloys are reserved for the diesel in range-topping 4 trim).

We’ve only driven the 19in wheels so far, and they cause the Sorento to fidget a bit over surface imperfections and thud harder over potholes, although the motorway ride is very good. It’s certainly a comfortable seven-seat SUV. You also get self-levelling rear suspension on everything apart from the entry-level trim, which is handy if you’re planning to tow or carry heavy loads.

The PHEV is the least agreeable model in the range, but even that's not uncomfortable – it's just a bit more jarring over sharper imperfections and its ride is not quite as settled, largely because of its heavy battery pack.

Kia Sorento rear left driving

Handling

The Sorento’s reassuringly weighted steering allows you to place the car confidently on twisty rural roads and also makes it easy to track straight and true on motorways. In town, you’ll find the wheel becomes light enough to twirl easily.

As you might expect, though, this tall and heavy car wasn’t made with sports car handling in mind. Not many seven-seaters offer driving thrills, but if you’re after keen handling you might want to look at the more expensive BMW X5.

Body lean is most pronounced in the heavier PHEV model, but it's still less roly-poly than PHEV versions of the Discovery Sport. The self-levelling rear suspension helps improve the Sorento's stability and handling when it's being used for towing though.

Noise and vibration

If you're driving either the HEV or the PHEV in pure electric mode then, rather predictably, you won't hear any engine noise. In fact, even when the petrol engine is being used, it frequently shuts off as you slow down and remains fairly quiet when you’re accelerating gently. Hard acceleration reveals a coarser edge to its timbre, but it’s not so bad that it’s a nuisance.

Unlike some hybrid cars the Sorento switches smoothly from electric to petrol power. The automatic gearbox shifts smoothly and the brakes are well judged and progressive – even in the PHEV, which has more aggressive regenerative braking

There's some suspension noise over bumps in the road, and a bit more tyre and wind noise at 70mph compared with the best cars in the class, but it never becomes tiring. The Sorento's diesel engine is rather grumbly and sends a few vibrations up through the steering wheel.

Driving overview 

Strengths Diesel engine good for towing; well-weighted steering; impressive motorway ride

Weaknesses Rival PHEVs ride better; not as refined as rivals

Interior

The interior layout, fit and finish

Driving position and dashboard

If you like a lofty driving position, you'll love the high Kia Sorento. It’s a shame the entry-level trim only has manual adjustment for the driver’s seat and no lumbar support, but electric adjustment and lumbar support is added from 3 trim, and range-topping 4 models come with a memory function. The steering wheel lines up neatly with the seat and pedals, and there’s a footrest with plenty of room for your left foot.

Entry-level 2 trim gets a 4.2in digital driver display and analogue dials, while all trims above that get a sharp 12.3in fully digital display. Changing what the screen shows is easy using the buttons on the steering wheel, but it's not as versatile as the ones in the Audi Q5, the Seat Tarraco and the Skoda Kodiaq.

Mercifully, Kia has avoided the temptation to bury all the heater and stereo controls within the centrally mounted touchscreen (as they are in the Peugeot 5008).

There’s still a good old-fashioned knob to control the volume and you can tweak the interior temperature using conveniently positioned rocker switches. There are a few fiddly touch-sensitive buttons for controlling some of the other functions.

Visibility, parking sensors and cameras

Perched up in the Sorento’s driving seat, you’re treated to a good view of the road ahead. The windscreen pillars don’t get in the way too much at roundabouts, and while the rear pillars are quite chunky, there are small side windows at the back of the car to help improve over-the-shoulder vision. Nevertheless, the Honda CR-V is still an easier car to see out of.

To help make parking a doddle, every Sorento comes with front and rear parking sensors and a rear-view camera. That camera is upgraded to a 360-degree bird’s eye view camera on everything apart from the entry-level trim. 

Models with that fitted also get a blind-spot camera, which is good to have, especially if you do a lot of motorway driving. It shows a feed from rear-facing cameras in the door mirrors on the digital driver's display when you use the indicators.

Kia Sorento interior dashboard

Sat nav and infotainment

You won’t be left wanting when it comes to infotainment. That’s because a 12.3in touchscreen infotainment system with DAB radio, Bluetooth, built-in sat-nav, and wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone mirroring is standard on every car. You also get wireless phone-charging on 3 trim and above.

The infotainment system itself is responsive to all of your prods and the menus are easy to fathom. In fact, we’d go as far as to say that it’s one of the best touchscreens in the class. It’s a shame, though, that the facelift has got rid of some helpful shortcut buttons either side of the screen which the old car had. And we’d still prefer it to have a rotary controller (like the BMW X5 has) to make it less distracting to use while driving.

To avoid squabbling over who’s charging what, all three rows of seats in the Sorento have USB ports (there are eight in total). You even get a powerful Bose stereo system with 12 speakers on everything apart from the entry-level trim.

Quality

For the most part, there’s little to complain about when it comes to the Sorento's interior quality. You’ll find lots of soft, appealing plastic, including on the insides of the rear doors – something that's by no means guaranteed in this class.

There is also chrome and piano-black trim throughout, all the switches operate with precision and everything feels solidly screwed together. If you want full leather seats you’ll need to go for 3 trim or above, as the entry-level trim gets a mix of cloth and faux leather for the upholstery.

Interior quality is about on par with the Peugeot 5008 and Skoda Kodiaq, but can’t match the Q5 and X5, both of which feel like true luxury vehicles (and have the price tags to match).

Interior overview 

Strengths Great infotainment system; good driving position; decent visibility 

Weaknesses Interior quality can’t match premium rivals 

Passenger & boot space

How it copes with people and clutter

Front space

We seriously doubt anyone will find a shortage of head room in the Kia Sorento, and the front seats slide back a reasonably long way to accommodate those with long legs.

There’s also plenty of space between the driver and front passenger – because this car has one of the broadest interiors in the class.

The door pockets are a good size and there’s a load of storage under the front centre armrest. You also get a handy shelf in front of the gear selector, which is an ideal size for stowing a mobile phone, some keys and a wallet. It's also where you’ll find the wireless phone-charging pad.

Rear space

Rear space is very generous. The second row seats slide and recline and, assuming you haven't slid them all the way forwards, leg room is plentiful (a six-footer will find a decent amount of fresh air between their knees and the back of the seat in front).

Head room is compromised by 4 trim’s panoramic roof – but only by a small amount. By contrast, if you buy the Peugeot 5008 with a panoramic roof, head room becomes quite tight.

Sitting three adults across the second row is made easier by the Sorento's width and the minimal hump in the middle of the floor. The outer second-row seats and both third-row seats have Isofix mounting points (for child seats).

All Sorentos – including the PHEV version – come with seven seats as standard and there's more space on the third row than there is in a Land Rover Discovery Sport, 5008 or Kodiaq. Even adults will fit, thanks to surprisingly generous head and leg room.

Kia Sorento boot open

Seat folding and flexibility

The Sorento's sliding and reclining second-row seats have seatbacks that split 60/40. That's not quite as handy as the 5008’s three individually reclining and folding rear seats. There's no ski hatch in the Sorento, either. 

What is very handy, though, is that all versions have switches in the boot to fold down the second row of seats remotely. That makes loading a piece of flatpack furniture less of a faff.

Boot space

There’s barely any lip to contend with when you're loading items into the Sorento’s cavernous boot, and the load area is a usefully square shape, with recesses for extra width right at the back of the car.

Boot space is enough to hold an impressive 10 carry-on suitcases below the tonneau cover in five-seat mode.

Even when the third row of seats is in use, there's enough boot space in the Sorento for a couple of carry-on cases. In contrast, the Discovery Sport has hardly any room for luggage at all when all seven seats are being used.

There’s a small amount of underfloor storage in the HEV Sorento, and it remains accessible when the third-row seats are in use. Unfortunately, you lose that space if you order the PHEV.

Practicality overview

Strengths Lots of boot space; very generous interior space

Weaknesses Middle row seats only split-fold 60/40

Buying & owning

Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is

Costs, insurance groups, MPG and CO2

The Kia Sorento has quite a broad price range, with a big difference in cost between an entry-level diesel and a range-topping PHEV.

Even in its cheapest forms, the Sorento is priced above an equivalent Peugeot 5008 and Skoda Kodiaq – but it’s more spacious than those cars. It also still just about undercuts premium rivals like an equivalent Land Rover Discovery Sport, but it’s not exactly a bargain. To make sure you get the best price, check the latest offers on our New Car Deals pages.

Among big four-wheel-drive SUVs, the Sorento HEV's CO2 emissions are relatively low, but if you're looking for the most cost-effective company car, you will be best served by the PHEV Sorento, which emits just 38g/km and has a respectable electric-only range (both help to reduce BIK tax massively). The PHEV takes around 3.5 hours to charge from 0-100% using a home wall box.

The HEV model managed a very respectable 37.1mpg in our Real MPG tests, with the diesel model averaging 42.3mpg. That's far from amazing compared with the Honda CR-V hybrid, but not at all bad for such a hefty car, and way better than the petrol-powered Discovery Sport P250.

Equipment, options and extras

The Sorento is decently well equipped. Even entry-level 2 trim gets things like heated front seats, a heated steering wheel and wireless smartphone mirroring.

It’s quite a jump up in price between the trims. The step to 3 trim adds some safety equipment we mentioned earlier, a bigger digital driver display, heated rear seats, an upgraded sound system and side parking sensors.

Range-topping 4 trim then adds some luxuries like a system which lets you park the car remotely via a smartphone and heated rear seats but it pushes the price up very high.

Kia Sorento interior infotainment

Reliability

We don’t yet have any specific reliability data on the latest-generation Sorento, but Kia as a brand finished a strong eighth (out of 32 manufacturers) in the 2023 What Car? Reliability Survey overall league table. That was below Toyota and Hyundai, but ahead of Mazda, Honda, Skoda, Seat, and miles ahead of Volkswagen, Nissan, Peugeot and Land Rover.

The Sorento comes with Kia’s fantastic seven-year (or 100,000-mile) warranty to fall back on. The only brand that can beat that is Toyota, which gives you 10 years/100,000 miles if you service your car annually at a franchised dealership.

Safety and security

Euro NCAP awarded the Sorento five stars (out of five) for safety in 2020, and it scored reasonably well for both adult and child crash protection. Chest protection for the driver in a frontal impact could be better, though.

All models come with active safety gizmos designed to prevent you from having an accident in the first place, including lane-keeping assistance and automatic city emergency braking, which can detect pedestrians and cyclists as well as other vehicles.

On 3 trim and above you get more safety equipment than the entry-level Sorento, including parking collision avoidance – in effect, very low-speed automatic emergency braking (AEB) that aims to avoid silly parking mishaps – and the blind-spot camera system. It’s a shame that rear airbags are only standard on the most expensive 4 trim.

Costs overview 

Strengths Lots of standard equipment; great warranty; decent efficiency 

Weaknesses Honda CR-V is more efficient; entry-level trim misses out on some safety kit


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FAQs

  • Yes – much bigger, in fact. We class the 4515mm long, five-seat Kia Sportage as a family SUV whereas the 4810mm long, Sorento is seven-seat SUV.

  • The main disadvantages of the Sorento are that it’s priced above mainstream rivals and can’t match the interior quality of premium rivals like the Land Rover Discovery Sport.

  • We think so, yes. True, it’s quite expensive compared to its some seven-seaters but it does enough to justify the premium price tag – it’s very well equipped, reliable and really practical.

At a glance
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Target Price from £40,070
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RRP price range £41,995 - £57,025
Number of trims (see all)5
Number of engines (see all)6
Available fuel types (which is best for you?)diesel, petrol parallel phev, hybrid
MPG range across all versions 176.6 - 43.5
Available doors options 5
Warranty 7 years / 100000 miles
Company car tax at 20% (min/max) £1,039 / £3,729
Company car tax at 40% (min/max) £2,079 / £7,458
Available colours