Kia Sorento review

Category: Large SUV

Section: Costs & verdict

Available fuel types:diesel, hybrid
Available colours:
2021 Kia Sorento nose
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RRP £38,845What Car? Target Price from£38,280

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 no weedy engine options, the Sorento has a higher starting price than the Peugeot 5008, Skoda Kodiaq and even Land Rover Discovery Sport. Thankfully, it’s more appealing for those buying on PCP finance and is also likely to depreciate more slowly than many rivals.

The HEV’s CO2 emissions of 158g/km (in 2 trim at least) can’t quite match the most efficient versions of the 5008, although there isn’t much in it. 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 found little to separate the economy of the HEV and diesel in real-world driving, both managing MPG in the mid-30s on a mix of roads. That's far from amazing, but not bad for such a hefty car.

Equipment, options and extras

No Sorento is badly equipped, with even 2 models getting 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


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. The previous-generation Sorento was in the top half of its class with an impressive reliability score.

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

Safety and security

The safety experts at Euro NCAP haven’t yet put the latest Kia Sorento through its paces, so we can’t tell you how well it's likely to protect you in a crash. However, we can tell you what safety kit you get. On top of a healthy count of airbags, all trims come with 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, helping to make sure you don’t accidentally hit something when parking – as well as blind spot monitoring, including the rear-facing camera we mentioned earlier.

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Despite a price tag that overlaps premium-badged rivals, the Kia Sorento is a fine large SUV that’s more spacious than a Discovery Sport and has seven seats as standard. Its toughest challenge is the similarly spacious yet cheaper Peugeot 5008.

  • Comfortable ride
  • Loads of space inside
  • Well equipped
  • Mainstream rivals are cheaper to buy
  • Hybrid engine coarse when pushed
  • Third row head room a bit tight

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