Kia Sorento 2.2 CRDi AWD KX-3 auto
List price £38,695
Target Price £35,550
Kia’s biggest SUV gets a new gearbox and other tweaks to keep it feeling fresh.
Peugeot 5008 2.0 BlueHDi 180 GT
List price £35,695
Target Price £33,927
We’re big fans of the 5008, but can the top-spec GT version cut the mustard?
Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace 2.0 TDI 190 4Motion SEL DSG
List price £37,730
Target Price £35,353
VW has stretched the Tiguan to squeeze in another couple of seats and improve cargo space.
What’s the best way to carry seven people? No, the answer you’re looking for isn’t three and a half Ferraris, and it probably isn’t an MPV, either. Chances are you’ll be looking for a seven-seat SUV. And we’ve lined up three of them: an award winner, an old favourite and a young pretender.
The 1.2-litre Puretech petrol version of the Peugeot 5008 is our Large SUV of the Year, but we’re sampling a pricier version in this test: the 178bhp diesel in top-spec GT trim. The old favourite is the Kia Sorento, which has just been facelifted and fitted with a new eight-speed automatic gearbox. Can it reclaim the top spot?
Not if our final contender has anything to do with it. The Allspace version of the familiar Volkswagen Tiguan has two extra seats thanks to its added length.
Performance, ride, handling, refinement
As the only one without four-wheel drive, the 5008 is not as capable off road as the other two, and it also can’t tow as much as the others (see towing panel).
Even so, the 5008 is the swiftest once you’re on the move, although it can’t match the Tiguan for acceleration away from the line. The Sorento is the slowest, but it’s still more than pokey enough. The Tiguan’s gearbox is generally the quickest-shifting, followed by the 5008’s. Mind you, the Tiguan’s ’box can be jerky around town and, like the Sorento’s, hesitant when pulling away.
The Tiguan stopped in the shortest distance from 70mph and 30mph, with the 5008 not far behind. The Sorento took the longest to stop, probably due to its extra weight. You feel the Sorento’s heft in corners, too. It has the least grip and sways the most, feeling the most cumbersome along winding country roads.
The 5008 resists body roll better and grips harder, but it can’t match the Tiguan for agility. The latter is the most enjoyable to drive briskly, thanks to relatively nimble handling and oodles of grip. It has the sweetest steering, too, allowing you to place the car accurately through corners.
The 5008’s tiny steering wheel takes some getting used to. Stick with it, though, and you’ll find its weighting consistent and precision not far behind the Tiguan’s. The Sorento’s slow steering means you need to make plenty of corrections on the motorway to stay in the centre of your lane and there’s more guesswork through tight corners.
Our Tiguan test car came with optional Dynamic Chassis Control (£810), which allows you to soften or stiffen the suspension. It certainly helped the Tiguan to be the most pliant here; it wafts along in Comfort mode, barely tripped up by potholes, expansion joints or craggy surfaces.
Even though the Sorento isn’t available with adjustable dampers, it runs the Tiguan close for comfort. On the 18in wheels of KX-3 trim, it breezes over urban ruts even more adroitly than the Tiguan, but it can’t match the Tiguan’s comfort or composure on motorway or along uneven country roads.
This variant of the 5008 impressed us far less than other versions we’ve tried. The 19in wheels transmit surface imperfections to your posterior and broken surfaces cause a violent jolt. The 5008 is also the noisiest, kicking up a fair bit of suspension noise and some engine drone. The Tiguan is the quietest, but there’s still a bit of wind roar.
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