Kia Sorento 2.2 CRDI KX3 15 | 08 | 2010Scotcars rating

    Kia delivers excellent all-rounder with Sorento


    The previous Kia Sorento has been one of the Korean company’s great successes and it went down a storm with caravanners too, who found it a very strong, robust, capable and yet very affordable towcar. The latest model has been masterminded by the company’s new chief design officer Peter Schreyer and it’s been eagerly-awaited. It’s certainly been worth waiting for – it’s a completely new vehicle from the outgoing model, not least because it’s replaced the old ladder chassis with a monocoque structure and improved all round comfort and refinement.

    That has a cost of course and it’s not just financial. The major change is that the towing capacity has reduced dramatically from 3500kgs to just 2500kgs, which means it might not be quite so popular with the caravan clan. On the plus side, it comes with a fabulous 100,000 mile, seven-year warranty, is more economical and cleaner and is even better on the road than the model it has replaced.

    It was as sure-footed as a mountain goat and tackled everything thrown at it

    On the road

    On the road it is very well behaved and the new 2.2 diesel engine, especially coupled with the six-speed automatic gearbox, is a delight. There’s a choice of front or four-wheel-drive on the diesel and the improved suspension results in superb balance and handling on the open road. It has speed-sensitive hydraulically-assisted power steering, which means it’s more responsive and is part of the overall package designed to make it more friendly on-road.

    I expected to find a big drop in off-road performance, but not a bit of it. Over some demanding rough country tracks in torrential rain it was as sure-footed as a mountain goat and tackled everything that was thrown at it. I can’t vouch for its towing ability, but on my experience the engineers have done a cracking job.

    Comfort & Safety

    As soon as I got in the car I liked what I saw and felt. The KX3 trim level of the test car is the top of the range and comes in at just a touch under £30,000, but you could sense the quality straight away. There’s a lot of leather and the seats were really comfortable. Ironically, just before getting into the Sorento I’d been at the wheel of a £54,000 executive off-roader and I have to say the Sorento felt better.

    Standard fittings include a superb sound system with MP3 capability, USB and auxiliary sockets and an iPod cable and as you move up the range there are lots of other goodies added like steering wheel audio controls, cruise control, folding door mirrors, heated seats and reversing sensors.

    On the test car that extended to rain-sensing wipers, mood-lighting, electric panoramic sunroof, smart ignition with stop/start button and xenon headlights with auto levelling. The all round the package was extremely impressive and although it might appear quite pricey, you certainly got a lot for your money.

    Should I buy one?

    Whether or not you’re into towing, this is a great all rounder and a very impressive challenger to the rest of the market.

    Alan Douglas

    Quick Stats
    Price OTR/As Tested £29,795 / £29,795
    Engine / Power: 2198cc / 194bhp
    How fast?: 0-60 mph 9.6secs, Max 118mph
    How big/heavy?: H1710mm W1885mm L4685mm
    How thirsty/CO2?: Combined 42.8mpg / CO2 194g/km
    InsGP/Road tax: 13 / Band J, £215
    Alternatives: Hyundai Santa Fe; Land Rover Freelander; Ford Kuga

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