The interior layout, fit and finish
Driving position and dashboard
Fans of lofty driving positions will love the Sorento, especially because the driver’s seat is comfortable and has a decent amount of side support. Entry-level 2 trim does without adjustable lumbar support for its manually adjusted seats – a potential problem for some on longer journeys. Move up to 3 and you get two-way lumbar adjustment for the electrically operated leather seat, while 4 brings four-way lumbar adjustment and adds a memory function.
The steering wheel lines up neatly with the pedals and there’s plenty of room to perch your left foot next to the brake pedal. Gear selection is done with a space-saving rotary controller (rather than a stick) with paddles behind the wheel if you want to take control manually.
Mercifully, Kia has avoided the temptation to bury all of the heater and stereo controls within the centrally mounted touchscreen; there’s still a good old-fashioned knob to control the volume and you can tweak the interior temperature using conveniently positioned rocker switches. All versions have a 12.3in digital display behind the steering wheel (rather than analogue instrument dials). This has sharp graphics, is able to show a variety of useful information and is easy to configure using buttons on the steering wheel. It isn't quite as impressive as similar systems found in the Audi Q5, Seat Tarraco and Skoda Kodiaq, but certainly beats the Peugeot 5008’s.
Visibility, parking sensors and cameras
Perched high in the Sorento’s driving seat, you’re treated to a good view of the road ahead and the windscreen pillars don’t get in the way too much when you’re pulling out of a junctions. The view out of the big side windows is also good, although chunky rear pillars do obscure a lot of your over-the-shoulder view.
Still, all versions get front and rear parking sensors and a reversing camera, as well as full LED headlights for better visibility at night. Top-spec 4 models add a surround-view camera and a blindspot camera. The latter displays a feed from a rear-facing camera positioned in the door mirror, although it isn't something you’ll miss if you choose a cheaper trim.
Sat nav and infotainment
You’ll have to make do without a built-in sat-nav if you go for entry-level 2 trim, but that’s no hardship, because Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring comes as standard. This allows you to run your phone’s navigation apps through the cars 8.0in touchscreen, access your music easily and do all sorts of other handy things. The graphics aren’t the sharpest, yet the screen responds quickly enough to prods and pokes, something the Peugeot 5008’s system doesn’t always do.
Move up to 3 trim and the screen grows to 10.3in and gains far sharper, more attractive graphics. It remains responsive and gets built-in sat-nav, plus a wireless charging pad as standard. As with the lesser system, the menus are easy to fathom, making it one of the best touchscreen systems in the class. Top-spec 4 cars gain a Bose stereo with twice as many speakers as lesser Sorentos.
To avoid squabbling over who’s charging what, all three rows of seats have USB ports to plug phones and tablets into.
For the most part, there’s little to complain about in the Sorento. You’ll find lots of squidgy plastic inside, including on the insides of the rear doors – no guarantee at this price – plus chrome and piano black trimmings. All the switches work with precision and everything feels solidly screwed together.
Entry-level 2 models have cloth seats and rather plain-looking door trims. Both areas are trimmed in leather on higher-spec Sorentos, making the interior look and feel a fair bit plusher. Even so, the Peugeot 5008’s interior feels slightly more upmarket and the Q5’s also has the edge on the Sorento’s.
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