Kia Sorento review

Category: Large SUV

Section: Costs & verdict

Available fuel types:hybrid, diesel
Available colours:
2021 Kia Sorento nose
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RRP £38,845What Car? Target Price from£37,715
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Costs & verdict

Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is

Costs, insurance groups, MPG and CO2

Due in part to its standard four-wheel drive, automatic gearbox and there being no weedy engine options, the Kia Sorento has a higher starting price than the Honda CR-VPeugeot 5008, Skoda Kodiaq and even the Land Rover Discovery Sport. Because of that, it's also relatively pricey on PCP finance. Its resale values are decent, but not as strong as the Discovery Sport's.

The HEV’s CO2 emissions can’t quite match the most efficient versions of the 5008, although they're still pretty low. Indeed, among four-wheel-drive large SUVs, the Sorento HEV is relatively clean. Of course, those after the cheapest possible company car tax will be best served by the upcoming plug-in hybrid model.

We managed nearly 38mpg in real-world testing on a mix of roads in the HEV, which is about what you can expect from the diesel Sorento. That's far from amazing compared with the CR-V hybrid, which will do over 45mpg, but not bad for such a hefty car and way better than the Discovery Sport P200, which returned just over 25mpg. 

Equipment, options and extras

No Sorento is badly equipped. Even 2 trim gives you 17in alloy wheels, dual-zone climate control, heated front seats, a heated steering wheel and adaptive cruise control, plus all the infotainment goodies we mentioned earlier. It’s a shame you can’t add any options apart from metallic paint, but it’s still our pick of the range.

Jumping up to 3 trim brings 19in wheels, ambient interior lighting, leather seats, keyless entry, a powered tailgate and heating for the outer seats on the second row. It’s the only trim available with the diesel engine, so, combined with the aforementioned self-levelling suspension you also get, this is the way to go if you’re planning to tow heavy loads. 

Top-of-the-range 4 trim adds window blinds for the second row, a head-up display, a panoramic sunroof and ventilated front seats, but it’s rather pricey. If you want a fuller breakdown on the trims, have a look at our versions and specs page.

2021 Kia Sorento nose

Reliability

We don’t yet have any specific reliability data on this latest generation of the Sorento, but Kia as a brand finished a strong seventh (out of 31 manufacturers) in the 2020 What Car? Reliability Survey overall league table. That was below Toyota, Skoda and Hyundai, one place above Honda, and miles ahead of Citroen, Peugeot, Seat and Volkswagen. Land Rover finished bottom in the survey. 

Even if the worst does happen, there’s Kia’s industry-leading seven-year (or 100,000-mile) warranty to fall back on.

Safety and security

Euro NCAP awarded the Sorento five stars (out of five) overall in its crash tests, and a glance at its individual scores for each category tested show it’s fairly good across the board. It isn't the best in class because the Toyota RAV4, for example, does a much better job of protecting the driver’s chest and looking after kids in the back seats.

All models come with active safety gizmos that are 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.

Move up to 4 trim and you get parking collision avoidance – in effect, very low-speed automatic emergency braking that looks to avoid silly parking mishaps – as well as blindspot monitoring, including the rear-facing camera we mentioned earlier.

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Overview

The Kia Sorento's price tag overlaps premium-badged rivals, but it's a top-notch large SUV. It's more spacious than a Discovery Sport, with seven seats as standard that are a rarity because all of them are fit for adults. Our pick is the 1.6 T-GDi HEV self-charging hybrid that offers sensible running costs, and we'd stick to the cheapest 2 trim because it is still well kitted out. Its toughest challenger is the cheaper Peugeot 5008.

  • Seven seats fit for adults
  • A massive boot
  • Well equipped
  • Mainstream rivals are cheaper to buy
  • Hybrid engine isn't as fuel efficient as a Honda CR-V's
  • No lumbar adjustment in 2 trim

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