2010 Kia Sorento | road test

Posted on Apr 15, 2010 by
Sorento's looks are pretty sharp, we think

The Sorento's looks are pretty sharp, we think

AT A GLANCE

FOR

  • Plenty of interior space
  • Quiet and comfortable
  • Strong engine

AGAINST

  • Crashy ride
  • Feels a bit cheap
  • Ponderous gearbox

SUMMARY

We’re fairly impressed with the Sorento, which boasts some sharp looks, at least from the front, and offers a lot of car for the money. As well as a quiet ride, it comes with a powerful engine and plenty of space for up to seven people. It still feels less than premium, despite ’s best efforts, and the ride can be a bit crashy, but overall the Sorento is a competent, good value SUV and even boasts some off-road credentials.

The Sorento is quiet and comfortable on the move, although the ride is a touch harsh

The Sorento is quiet and comfortable on the move, although the ride is a touch harsh

PERFORMANCE

Power in the Sorento comes from a 3.5-litre V6.  At start up and low revs the engine is commendably quiet. Put your foot down and the noise increases considerably; in fact, it sounds like it’s working rather hard although the velocity change does reflectthat. With 273bhp it’s plenty powerful enough for pootling around town and accelerating to merge into traffic on highways presents no worries at all. The six-speed automatic gearbox changes cogs smoothly although it can be slightly ponderous and take too long to make its move.

HANDLING AND RIDE

The ride is on the stiff side, with crashiness particularly noticeable over speed bumps. We expected an SUV like this to be a bit more forgiving over such obstacles. However, the pay off is in cornering, where the Sorento minimises body roll and stays nicely composed. The steering is direct; not sporty but not as wallowy as some other SUVs we’ve tried.

 

The seats are comfortable but could do with a bit more support

The seats are comfortable but could do with a bit more support

COMFORT

The experience inside the Sorento is impressively quiet and general comfort is good. The front seats could do with a bit more lateral support – we felt like we were sitting on the seats rather than in them.

The design of the dash is inoffensive; not too button-heavy and with a nice two-level effect on the dash itself. The quality of materials isn’t terrible, but not particularly brilliant either. The plastics on the dashboard are hard and the centre console, in our test clad in black plastic, looks particularly cheap. It all feels fairly solidly put together, however.

Both second and third row passengers get their own air con vents and those in the third row even get their own fan controls.

Although the interior feels solid and well engineered, it doesn’t feel particularly premium despite Kia’s attempts to move upwards in the market. Our car had leather upholstery, but even that felt pretty cheap to the touch.

 

Plenty of room for seven in the Sorento

There are decent amounts of room for seven people in the Sorento

PRACTICALITY

The Sorento seats seven with two passengers on the third row of seats. Although best suited to kids, the back-most row is capable of housing adults at a squeeze. A six-footer could probably fit in for half an hour without too much discomfort, which is pretty impressive. Entry is via the second row of seats, but we found that only the passenger side seats folded forward to allow access, making access to the back from the driver’s side somewhat difficult.

There’s plenty of room for the three occupants in the second row with a decent amount of leg and headspace.

Driver and passenger door pockets are large and spacious, with room for documents and a drink bottle. Two cupholders sit in centre console and there’s a cubbyhole under the centre of the dash and another storage area behind the floating centre console, which is useful if you want to keep things out of sight. There’s a large storage box under the centre armrest with a tray for loose change, and a good-sized glove box.

With the third row of seats up, boot space is minimal. Three or four shopping bags is your limit in this configuration, but the rear seats are easy to fold flat with the pull of a handle and give you a much larger space in which to lug loads. If you need even more space, the second row of seats folds down too, although not completely flat.

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The design of the interior is perfectly acceptable, although the materials feel a bit cheap

FEATURES

We tried the top-of-the-range four wheel drive-equipped Sorento, although a front wheel drive version is also available. Our test car came with some off-road specific features, such as a button to lock the differential, and hill descent control. Sadly however, we didn’t get a chance during our short test drive to try it off road.

Other equipment includes a powered driver’s seat and full electrics, as well as automatic headlights, dual zone automatic air conditioning and cruise control. Keyless entry and engine start is also available, along with rear parking sensors and a reversing camera. A powered sunroof is available, while there are connectors for auxiliary and USB on the sound system, although we were unimpressed with its rather flat and lifeless sound.

SAFETY

The latest Sorento scored a maximum five stars in the Euro NCAP crash test programme in Europe, and in the US NHTSA crash tests. Standard equipment on the top model we tried includes six airbags, ABS and active head rests.

COSTS

The top-of-the-range 4×4 Sorento we tried retails at 106,000AED, which is not a great deal for the amount of car you get. The entry-level 2.4-litre model, with two-wheel drive, is 76,900AED.

Kia has a great warranty of five years/100,000km, which compares very well to the opposition. When you buy a new Sorento you get the first service at around 1,000km free. Major services are due every 40,000km and cost around 600AED at the time of writing.

The official fuel economy figures for the 4×4, 3.5-litre Sorento are 11.2l/100km around town and 8.1l/100km on the highway, which give a theoretical range of around 700km from the car’s 70-litre fuel tank.

2010 Kia Sorento

Engine: 3.5-litre V6
Max power (bhp/rpm): 273/6,300
Max torque (Nm/rpm): 307/4,500
Transmission: Six-speed automatic
Driven wheels: Four-wheel drive
Kerb weight: 1,785
Price (AED): From 76,900 (range), 106,000 (as tested)

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