The new Kia Sorento shares many parts with the latest Hyundai Santa Fe and so boasts the same quality improvements as its sister model. That's immediately evident from the bold chrome grille that gives the Sorento the classy – if slightly generic – looks it needs to compete with upmarket rivals from Land Rover and Honda. Interior quality is also markedly better. As before, the Sorento is available with seven useable seats, which boosts its appeal to buyers with large families.
Kia has fitted the latest Sorento with a slightly revised version of the 197bhp 2.2-litre diesel engine from the previous model. It has enough power to cope with the car's bulk, while added sound deadening makes the cabin quieter than before. All versions come with four-wheel drive, which means the Sorento can't match the fuel economy of some rivals, but it'll be very capable off-road. The four-wheel-drive system also combines with the powerful diesel engine to make the Kia a strong tow car.
As a traditional off-roader, the Sorento can't match the on-road manners or fuel economy of the Nissan X-Trail, but it's a quiet and relaxing cruiser all the same. It offers three driving modes – Eco, Sport and Normal – which alter the steering weight and (in the automatic version) the timing of gearchanges.
Trim levels run from KX-1 to KX-2, KX-3 and KX-4 and the Sorento is well equipped whichever model you choose. Standard features across the range include alloy wheels, roof rails, LED lights, power-folding heated door mirrors, electric windows all round, climate control and numerous advanced safety systems.
We think it's worth stepping up to KX-2 to get chrome trim, leather upholstery, heated seats, dual-zone air-conditioning, sat nav and a reversing camera. KX-3 and KX-4 look a bit too expensive to make sense, however.