One glance and you’ll be able to pinpoint the many Japanese and Korean SUVs (let’s not talk about the contis here shall we?) on the road. But for the one family man looking for the ideal utility vehicle for his family of more than 5, Kia offers just the right option.
Touted as one of the few 7-seater SUV in the market, the Kia Sorento shines when you’re looking for that large enough car for your family but for some reason, are not willing to invest in an MPV.
The second in its generation, the new Sorento adopts a much desired facelift from its predecessor, although I dare say you can’t spot the old ones on the road that easily anymore. This SUV packs on a muscular front facade, and towers above you easily at 1.73 metres.
Kia, following hot on the heels of the trend wagon, has included standard daytime running lights on the Sorento (or perhaps I should say, most of the cars in its line). The Sorento also comes standard with HID bulbs, ensuring clarity on the roads especially during night drives.
It being a family
car SUV, the Sorento comes equipped with a panoramic sunroof, which proves useful especially if you have kids. Alternatively, perhaps the sunroof would come in useful if you decided to star gaze.
You’d be surprised by the comfort level this 7-seater provides when you climb on board. Despite the overwhelming hugeness of the car, the Sorento makes you feel at home behind the wheel (or even in the front passenger seat).
And of course, what’s a top-of-range SUV without technology and functions such as your multi-function steering wheel and its controls? Similar to those found on the K5, the Sorento allows you to answer phone calls, adjust volume control, and select media channels all at the touch of your fingertips. Something becoming more and more common in the automotive world, though there are unfortunately still cars lacking such tidbits.
Seating at the 2nd row proved more comfortable than expected, with ample leg room despite the presence of a third row. And if you’re adventurous enough to provide your passengers entertainment during the journey, you could opt for the entertainment screens at the rear of the headrests, which comes fitted with wireless headphones for maximum entertainment!
Despite the fact that the 7-seater configuration leaves you with minimal boot space at the rear, the switch to a 5-seater would give you ample space for luggages. And if you require that little bit more, a tug on the 2nd row would give you enough space to lie flat in the Sorento!
There is, unfortunately, a down side to the boot compartment. While most SUVs provide a security shade to shelter/cover your belongings in the boot, the Sorento lacks this, exposing your barang barangs to whoever walking past the car.
And for those of you wondering about the seating space at the last row, I would say it’s ultimately dependent on your opinion and of course, height. I felt claustrophobic at the rear, although a kid would love the two armchair sized (well, at least to him) seats with its own personal air-con vent and control.
Pick up for the petrol variant was a little sluggish, and you’d need to plant your foot firmly before the 2.4 litre car roars to life. However, the fact that its 226 Nm of torque peaks at 3,750 rpm proves a little too slow for a car this size.
The 2.2 litre diesel variant, however, might see a better performance figure in the pick up aspect. Putting out the same 176 horses, the diesel plant produces 436 Nm of torque starting from just 1,800 rpm!
With its 6-speed automatic gearbox, the Sorento clocks between 6.8 to 8.6 litre per 100 km on paper, although judging from our fuel gauge, I dare say this might be too optimistic a figure.
To aid the driver in parking this 4.7 metre long car, Kia has introduced its Smart Parking Assist System (SPAS), which can automatically parallel-park your Sorento. All you have to do is just to control your accelerator and brake pedals, and leave the rest to technology. And unfortunately, it can only parallel-park itself, but not on our more-commonly-found perpendicular lots.
At $150,999, the 2.4 litre petrol variant might triumph over its direct competitor – the Hyundai Santa Fe. For those with the hunger for the extra oomph, the diesel variant, standing at 2.2 litres, goes for $10,000 more than the petrol sibling.
While the price tag(s) may feel slightly steep for a Korean brand, I’m pretty sure with Kia’s track record and improvements over the years, it might just be worth it for the perfect Japanese/Korean family SUV.
What I like:
- Spacious seats at the 2nd row
- Soft suspension – soft enough to even out the many potholes I went over
- Massive storage space if you flatten the 3rd (and even 2nd) row seats
What I don’t like:
- Unimpressive torque curve for the petrol variant
- No security shade at the rear for your stuff in the boot
- A little too pricey for a Korean SUV