Kia Sorento Review

Dan Powell

Written by

Dan Powell

Kia Sorento
Kia Sorento

1/10

1 / 10

00/10
heycar rating
"Spacious, comfortable seven-seat SUV"
  • Launched: 2020
  • SUV
  • Hybrid, Diesel, PHEV

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Quick overview

Pros

  • One of the best seven-seat SUVs for space and comfort
  • Available as diesel, petrol hybrid or PHEV
  • Well-equipped and backed by Kia's seven-year warranty 

Cons

  • Rivals from Peugeot and Skoda are cheaper to buy
  • The driving experience could be better
  • High-spec models are pricey

Overall verdict

On the inside

Driving

Cost to run

Prices and Specs

Common questions

Overall verdict on the Kia Sorento

"The Kia Sorento is a large and likeable SUV that delivers lots of space and comfort. Car badge snobs may baulk at the premium price tag but it’s difficult to deny that Kia’s seven-seat 4x4 delivers where it matters on quality and spec."

Kia Sorento exterior static front three-quarters

Kia SUV fans will be pleased to hear that the fourth-generation Sorento remains true to the values that made the first model such a hit when it blazed onto the ‘sport utility vehicle’ scene in 2002. 


The Sorento is a sturdy 4.8-metre-long SUV with four-wheel drive, three rows of seats and a huge boot. It’s a great tow-car, too, backed by strong engines and Kia’s famous seven-year/100,000-mile warranty.


That said, while the fundamentals are broadly the same,  the fourth-generation Sorento does get some important upgrades under the metal. For example, you now get the choice of diesel or electrified petrol hybrid power, while the car's wider and longer body provides better space and comfort for passengers. The fit and finish of the interior is better, too, which means Kia's large SUV doesn't feel out of place alongside its premium rivals from Land Rover, Audi and Volvo. 


Importantly, all versions of the Sorento are easy to drive, comfortable and well-equipped. The entry-level ‘2’ model is filled with lots of useful tech that includes LED headlights, touchscreen infotainment, heated front seats and ventilation controls for the occupants in all three rows of seats. You also get a space-saver spare wheel as standard on all models. 


Large SUVs are not known for their sharp or engaging road handling, and the Sorento is no exception in this respect. The steering is light and accurate but lacking in any meaningful feedback. This means the Sorento feels less engaging than the Skoda Kodiaq and Audi Q5


We doubt many Sorento drivers will care too much about the lack of sharpness in the handling department, because the Sorento is smooth and relaxing to use, with its sophisticated suspension ironing out all but the worst lumps and bumps in the road. 


When it comes to engines, we rate the Sorento's 1.6 T-GDI HEV petrol-hybrid as one of the best in the large SUV market. It pairs punchy performance with affordable fuel costs. If you yearn for a diesel, don't fret. The fourth-generation Sorento is also offered with Kia's trusty 2.2 CRDi engine. Both the petrol and diesel get a fully automatic transmission as standard.


The only real criticism that can be levelled at the fourth-gen Kia Sorento is its price.  Both the Skoda Kodiaq and Peugeot 5008 can be bought for less. However, while the Sorento may not be the used-car bargain it once was, we think it’s a very fine large family car. It’s also one of the few used seven-seater 4x4 SUVs that can be bought with a petrol hybrid or plug-in hybrid. Our guide to the best hybrid cars and best hybrid SUVs are great starting points to getting to grips with hybrid cars.


If you're looking for the older version, you need our Kia Sorento (2015-2020) review.

Is the Kia Sorento right for you?

Comfortable and well-equipped, the Kia Sorento is an easy car to recommend. We rate it as one of the most practical cars in its class, with its large interior and three rows of seats making it one of the best seven-seat SUVs for space and everyday usability. 


Unlike some of its rivals, the Sorento will carry seven full-size people. Admittedly the third row of seats is a snug fit for adults, but there is enough space for six-footers to get reasonably comfortable for a short journey. When not in use, you can fold the third row of seats flat into the boot floor.


All versions of the Sorento use four-wheel drive, and both the petrol and diesel models are strong tow-cars. We rate the 1.6 T-GDI HEV petrol hybrid as the best, owing to its impressive performance and fuel economy. However, if you cover lots of miles, the  2.2 CRDi diesel is a good choice. The four-cylinder has been carried over from the old Sorento and pairs low fuel costs with good performance and heavy-duty towing ability. 


In recent times, Kia has looked to transform itself from a budget to a premium brand. That's reflected in the pricing of the Sorento, with a shiny new 1.6 T-GDI HEV model exceeding £38,000. However, while nearly new models can be pricey, it’s easy to see where the money has been spent - we think the fourth-generation Sorento is the best large SUV Kia has ever built.

What's the best Kia Sorento model/engine to choose?

If you are in the market for a seven-seat 4x4 SUV then your engine choices have traditionally been limited to diesel. However, Kia has broken away from this oily tradition by offering this Sorento with a range of electrified petrol engines. 


The 1.6 T-GDI HEV hybrid is a real peach, developing 202PS and 350Nm of torque. This means it has lots of low-gear acceleration, while its hybrid system allows the vehicle to run in near-silence at low speeds with the electric motor driving all four-wheels on battery power.  


The hybrid Sorento is a capable tow-car, too. The 1.6 T-GDI HEV will tow up to 1650kg, while its max tow ball capacity is a caravan-friendly 100kg. Advertised fuel economy for the 1.6 T-GDI HEV hybrid is 40.9mpg


Fans of the old Sorento will be pleased to hear that Kia's trusty 2.2 CRDi engine is also available. It develops more power and torque than the hybrid - 202PS and 440Nm, but is less refined with more noise at start-up and under hard acceleration. The four-cylinder diesel is slightly better on fuel economy, though, with Kia claiming 42.2mpg. 


The Sorento is offered in three equipment trim levels - ‘2’, ‘3’ and ‘4’. We think the mid-spec ‘3’ trim level is the sweet spot in the range, it includes 10-inch touchscreen navigation, leather upholstery, electric adjustment for the front seats and self-levelling rear suspension.  

What other cars are similar to the Kia Sorento?

The Sorento rivals a wide range of seven-seat SUVs, from the popular Skoda Kodiaq - one of our favourites - to the SEAT Tarraco, Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace and the impressive Peugeot 5008. There is also its sister car, the Hyundai Santa Fe of course.


Given the price you could even say it competes with premium cars like the Audi Q5, Mercedes-Benz GLC and Land Rover Discovery Sport


Kia has improved the all-round refinement and luxury of the Sorento, which means it feels like a genuine premium car. It is also one of the few in the large SUV market to be offered as a diesel, petrol hybrid or PHEV. 

Comfort and design: Kia Sorento interior

“The quality of the interior of the latest Kia Sorento is a big improvement over its predecessor. The fit and finish is high throughout, with lots of good quality, soft-touch materials. You also get more passenger and storage space, compared to the old model, thanks to the Sorento’s larger and wider body.”

Kia Sorento interior dash

The Sorento has always been a car that majors on space and comfort, but the latest models take these likeable traits to a new level. This is because the fourth-generation Sorento uses a larger mechanical platform, which provides more head and legroom, across all three rows of seats.


Finding a comfortable driving position is easy, with all versions of the Sorento getting a driver's seat with height adjustment. However, if you want lumbar adjustment (who doesn’t?) you’ll need to spend more and find a Sorento in ‘3’ trim or above. 


The layout of the fourth-gen Sorento has a futuristic feel about it, with the dashboard dominated by a large touchscreen at the centre that operates all of the main in-car controls. Thankfully, there are still some old fashioned buttons and switches for adjusting the heating, radio station and audio volume.


Upfront, there is lots of room for the driver and passenger to stretch out and get comfortable. The second row of seats are supportive and passengers can slide or recline their seat. Due to its huge size, the Sorento majors on space. This means passengers in the rear get loads of legroom. 


The third row of seats are surprisingly spacious and easy to access. The second row of seats flip down and forward, via a handle. Tall people might find the third row a squeeze, but there is (just) enough space for two adults to fit.  Children and teenagers, however, will have no trouble getting comfortable.  


Quality and finish

Kia is a carmaker with premium aspirations. Few vehicles demonstrate this better than the fourth-gen Sorento. The quality of the interior is first class, with lots of soft-touch plastics and high-quality materials. The fit and finish is excellent, too, which reflects Kia’s confidence in the car's reliability with its famous seven-year/100,000-mile warranty. 


The mid-spec ‘3’ trim is generously equipped, with leather trim, heated rear seats, customisable ambient cabin lighting and a powered tailgate. All models get parking sensors at the front and rear, along with a reversing camera. 


Find a used Sorento is the range-topping ‘4’ trim and you’ll have absolutely everything you will ever need in a large family SUV with luxurious Nappa leather upholstery, 360-degree parking camera, Bose audio system and ventilated front seats that stay cool in the summer months. 

All versions of the Sorento are fitted with a touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. Bluetooth connectivity is also included, along with voice control for the audio and phone functions. 


The entry-level ‘2’ trim comes with an 8.0-inch touchscreen and DAB audio. We’d recommend spending more on a ‘3’ model that adds a wider and more sophisticated 10.2-inch touchscreen. Not only is the ‘3’ infotainment easier to use with a widescreen profile that sits at the top of the dashboard, but you also get navigation as standard and live traffic updates. 


All versions of the Sorento are fitted with a 12.3-inch screen that sits behind the steering wheel. This display replaces the traditional instrument dials and it can be customised to display navigation commands and in-car data.

Space and practicality: Kia Sorento boot space


The Kia Sorento is a large SUV that offers van-like space and practicality. The seats in the front are wide, supportive and comfortable, while the second row of outer seats has a recline and slide function that makes it easy to get comfortable on a long journey.

The third row of seats can be folded individually, which means you can carry six passengers and retain a decent level of storage space. As a seven-seater, the Sorento has just 187-litres of boot space; however, fold the third row away and storage space increases to a useful 821-litres. The third row of seats can be folded completely flat into the floor, while the second row can be lowered to provide a massive 2011-litres.   

The Sorento is filled with lots of useful kit, with three USB ports and a separate 12v socket in the second row. This means arguments about charging phones, tablet computers and electronic devices should be kept to a minimum. 


You also get a pair of USB ports with the third row of seats, while most versions of the Sorento also include a wireless charging pad for a mobile phone in the front. 

Handling and ride quality: What is the Kia Sorento like to drive?

“Easy to drive, comfortable and refined, the Kia Sorento ticks all of the important large SUV boxes. The soft and stodgy handling will not enliven your senses on a twisty A road, but the Sorento does everything it was designed to do with a sense of grace that's lacking with many large SUVs.”

Kia Sorento driving front

If you are looking for a sharp and engaging car to drive then you've come to the wrong place; the Kia Sorento is a large SUV that sacrifices fun for comfort. Not that many Sorento drivers will care, however,  this Kia is a relaxing and gratifying car to while away the miles in. 


The entry-level '2' model is fitted with 17-inch wheels and these provide the best ride comfort. Higher spec '3' and '4' models come with 19-inch wheels that provide sharper handling but transfer a few odd thumps from the road to the cabin. 


The Sorento is a large and heavy car, but the light steering does a good job of hiding its weight. This means it is quite easy to navigate at low-speeds in a town, with a few turns of the steering wheel being enough to encourage the Sorento into a parking bay or narrow city centre street. Sadly the steering retains its decidedly vague feel at higher speeds, which means you seldom feel like you are building a meaningful bond with the Sorento's mechanicals. 


Four-wheel drive is standard across the range, along with Kia's Terrain Mode Select system that optimises the engine and gearbox to cope with mud, snow and sand. The Terrain Mode Select system is operated via a dial on the centre console and automatically directs torque to whichever wheel(s) are losing traction. The Sorento also gets a Drive Move Select system that lets the driver optimise the engine and gearbox for Eco, Sport and Comfort programs.


What engines and gearboxes are available in the Kia Sorento?

The Kia Sorento is one of the few large seven-seater SUVs that's offered with a choice of diesel or electrified petrol.


We rate the  1.6 T-GDI HEV petrol hybrid as the best in the range. It produces 202PS, which is a decent lug of performance for a car of this size. The 0-62mph sprint takes a respectable 8.7 seconds.  The max braked towing capacity is 1650kg, while the max tow ball capacity is 100kg.


The petrol hybrid matches a turbocharged 1.6-litre petrol engine with a 44kW electric motor and a lithium-ion battery pack, which recovers energy under braking and deacceleration and stores it in the batteries that are located under the car floor. The recovered energy is then used at low-speeds to provide zero-emission motoring or assist the engine and reduce its reliance on petrol. 


The plug-in hybrid (PHEV) model uses the same turbocharged 1.6-litre petrol engine, but adds a bigger battery and more powerful electric motor. Combined, this has up to 265PS and 350Nm torque, which makes it the most powerful Sorento on sale. 


The diesel is Kia’s tried and tested 2.2 CRDi engine. This four-cylinder unit has been carried over from the older third-generation Sorento and develops roughly the same output as before, at  202PS and 440Nm. The four-cylinder diesel is the best for towing, with a max braked lugging capacity of 2500kg. Like the 1.6 hybrid, the tow ball capacity of the 2.2 diesel is 100kg.


The Sorento doesn't get the option of a manual gearbox, with the petrol hybrids using a six-speed automatic. The diesel comes with Kia's latest eight-speed dual-clutch automatic. 


Refinement and noise levels

The Kia Sorento is a refined and comfortable SUV. The interior is well-made and quiet, with lots of soundproofing materials in the doors and frame. This means the doors close with a satisfying thud and most outside noises are kept low. Cars on 19-inch wheels do make a little bit of noise at motorway speeds, but generally the Sorento hybrid is a smooth and refined car to drive. 


The 2.2-litre diesel does emit some noise at start-up when cold, but it quickly dissipates as the engine warms up. The 2.2 unit will emit some clatter when pressed hard, but we think it's more refined and quieter than Kia's diesel-rivals from Skoda and Land Rover.

Safety equipment: How safe is the Kia Sorento?

The fourth-generation of the Kia Sorento hasn't been tested by Euro NCAP and doesn't currently have a rating for crash safety. However, all versions get seven airbags, which includes chest and head airbags for those in the front. 


The Sorento features a range of active safety technology, which includes a Forward Collision Avoidance Assist system that will automatically apply the brakes if it thinks an impact is likely with a pedestrian, cyclist or oncoming vehicle. 


The Sorento in trim level '2' or higher comes with blind spot monitoring and a rear-cross traffic alert system that will warn the driver of approaching vehicles when reversing out of a parking space or driveway. The blind spot monitoring system also has two cameras, which provide a live video feed in the driver's instrument cluster so they can see what's alongside the vehicle at low-speeds. 


Other important safety systems that come fitted as standard on the Sorento include Trailer Stability Assist (TSA), Downhill Brake Control (DBC) and Intelligent Speed Assist (ISLA). 

MPG and fuel costs: What does a Kia Sorento cost to run?

“The Kia Sorento isn’t the most efficient SUV in its class, but it should prove economical to run with both the petrol hybrids and diesels returning 40+mpg.”

Kia Sorento static side

The Kia Sorento has been tested against the tough WLTP fuel economy test and this means its advertised economy figures should be reflective of real world driving. Depending on spec and wheel size, the 1.6 T-GDI HEV will officially return 38.2mpg - 40.9mpg.


The 2.2 CRDi promises to be slightly better on fuel economy, with Kia claiming 42.2mpg. 

Insurance groups and costs

Insurance costs are affordable, with a mid-spec Sorento in '3' sitting in Group 31. Entry-level '2' models are in Group 30, while the range-topping '4' models will push the Kia into Group 32.


VED car tax: What is the annual road tax on a Kia Sorento?

If you buy a Kia Sorento that cost over £40,000 when new you’ll be liable for the ‘premium road tax rate’. This will add an additional £325 per year to the standard rate of £150 - £475 in total - for five years in which the standard rate is paid (from the second year the vehicle is taxed).


How much should you be paying for a used Kia Sorento?

"The latest Kia Sorento was launched in 2020 and this means prices are high, with nearly new models commanding up to £40,000."

Kia Sorento driving rear

The Sorento is one of the best seven-seaters on the market and this means deals on nearly new models are rare. However, if you find a pre-reg model with delivery mileage, you can save up to 15% against the list price. 

Trim levels and standard equipment

The Kia Sorento is available in three equipment levels - '2', '3' and '4'. All are generously kitted out as standard with every Sorento getting automatic LED headlights, cruise control, reversing camera, parking sensors, heated front seats, touchscreen infotainment and a fully digital instrument binnacle. 


There isn't a '1' equipment level in the Sorento line-up, which means '2' is the entry-level model. However, we'd recommend buying a Sorento in '3' trim or better. These include Kia's 10.2-inch touchscreen navigation, leather trim, wireless phone charging, ambient lighting with 64 customisable colours and blind spot assist and the rear-traffic alert system. 


The range-topping '4' models add Nappa leather trim, electric adjustment for the front seats, LED interior lighting, blind spot monitoring camera, panoramic sunroof and a Bose premium sound system with 12 speakers. 


Ask the heycar experts: common questions

Does the Kia Sorento come with four-wheel drive?

All versions of the Kia Sorento get four-wheel drive as standard. The SUV also features off-road driving tech which optimises the 4x4 system for sand, snow or mud.

Dan Powell

Answered by

Dan Powell

Is the Kia Sorento a good family car?

The Kia Sorento is a very good family car. The interior is large, comfortable and well-equipped as standard. All versions of the Sorento come with seven-seats and the third row can be folded into the boot floor when not in use. The Sorento is backed by Kia's seven-year/100,000-mile warranty.

heycar editorial team

Answered by

heycar editorial team

Which Kia Sorento is best?

We rate the 1.6 T-GDI HEV petrol hybrid as the best, owing to its impressive performance and fuel economy. We think the mid-spec ‘3’ trim level is the sweet spot in the range, it includes 10-inch touchscreen navigation, leather upholstery, electric adjustment for the front seats and self-levelling rear suspension. 

Andy Brady

Answered by

Andy Brady

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