8 NOVEMBER 2021
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If you are looking for a quality real people carrier in SUV mode the latest four wheel drive Kia Sorento might just fit the bill. Priced at around £40k it is comprehensively equipped and does not require any extras writes Malcolm Ginsberg.
The Sorento was used for a trip to Norwich and Great Yarmouth carrying seven people and all their luggage. Our destination featured off the road parking. With 19” wheels the Kia was the right choice for the trip.
The A11 is now a much better road than in years gone by and the Kia was effortless in keeping up with the traffic. There were no complaints from the two youngsters in the very back plugged in with USB’s for powering their devices although the fuel consumption dropped into the high 30’s from the usual 45mpg.
The middle seats are very spacious and also have USB points. The normal-sized threesome were very happy throughout the 130-mile 2hr 30min non-stop journey mostly asleep. It was a very quiet drive.
The panoramic sunroof with tilt and slide functionality and automatic electric roller blind was tried but deemed not needed for the trip after a short while. The powerful 12-speaker BOSE surround-sound audio system was also closed down as it interfered with those using headsets.
With the rear seats in place the rear boot space is only 179ltr. As a SUV the car sits much higher than a normal saloon. The rear door is electric which saves any embarrassment for those shorter people. As with all cars of its ilk you do have to climb up into it!
The Sorento Hybrid is powered by a new ‘Smartstream’ electrified powertrain, pairing a 1.6-litre T-GDi (Turbocharged Gasoline Direct injection) four-cylinder engine with a 1.49kWh lithium-ion polymer battery pack and 44.2kW (59bhp) electric motor. This output is sent to all four wheels via a six-speed automatic gearbox with a neat twist control in a central location. Top speed is suggested at 120mph with a 0-60 of 8.7secs.
The top of the range test car was fitted with a head-up display and parking cameras which seem to view the profile of the car from above with regard to the pavement, and also give front and rear views. Also a Blind-Spot View Monitor (BVM), a large circular display replicating the door mirrors which came on once the right or left hand turn indicator came into use. It is a very nice feature. There is no excuse for driving too fast. The legal speed limit was displayed no less than four times on the various displays in front of me.
The Sorento also offers Kia’s innovative UVO Connect telematics system, connecting drivers by providing invaluable information via the in-car touchscreen and on their smartphone.
The test car was the top of the range “4” version featuring Kia Live services and accessible through the 10.25-inch LCD widescreen the system displaying live traffic information, weather forecasts, points of interest, and details of potential on- and off-street parking (including price, location and parking availability). UVO Connect also enables drivers to send route directions to their car before a journey and check the location of their vehicle at any time.
Soft-touch materials and silver and glossy-black plastic trim finishing may not be quite of the Land Rover standard but with all Kia’s there is a quality feeling of the product have clearly been solidly assembled.
In terms of handling the Sorento feels very safe and predictable although the roads of Norfolk are hardly a challenge in motoring terms. High up the driver can see what is happening and one feels very secure. But you absolutely won’t feel the need to hustle this car down a road for the pure thrill of it. If, for whatever reason, you give it a go, you’ll find that there’s a bit of a lean particularly on quick bends the traction control system in charge long before you really start testing the limits of grip.
With a week’s loan it is impossible to learn all the features of the car. Acronyms are now the “in” features and the handbook lists Lane Follow Assist (LFA), Intelligent Speed Limit Assist (ISLA), Manual Speed Limit Assist (MSLA), Trailer Stability Assist (TSA) and Driver Attention Warning (DAW), along with Hill-start Assist Control (HAC), Downhill Brake Control (DAC) and an electronic parking brake (EPB) with Auto Hold functionality. Drive Mode Select allows the driver to tailor the driving experience more to their tastes, with a choice of ‘Comfort’, ‘Eco’ and ‘Sport’ modes, while Terrain Mode Select incorporates three modes – mud, snow, and sand. Multi-Collision Brake Assist (MCBA) is a new innovation as is Smart Cruise Control with Stop & Go functionality and Ecall, which automatically summons the emergency services in the event of an accident. An advanced anti-theft alarm system is provided with remote central door locking with fold-away key.
The car comes with a seven-year, 100,000 mile warranty. One would be churlish to suggest that Kia expects ownership to last that long in order to find out what all the toys do, but it is a thought.
Ride and Comfort 7
All comments are filtered to exclude any excesses but the Editor does not have to agree with what is being said. 100 words maximum
Jonas Jones, Swansea
Nice car the Sorento but with the rear seats in place what is left is not very big. I don’t dispute the luggage Malcolm Ginsberg got in but were the passengers comfortable?