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First Drive: Kia Sorento 2.2 CDRI

The story:
Kia has revised its Sorento large 4x4 as it reaches the mid-point in its life cycle, with changes amounting to a new automatic gearbox and new trim levels.
Category:Large 4x4
Key rival:Hyundai Santa Fe
Kia Sorento 2.2 CRDi KX-3 Auto
Price:£38,740
MPG:43.5mpg (NEDC)
Emissions:170g/km (NEDC)
On sale:Now

This third-generation Sorento, Kia’s biggest model, has reached the point in life where it gets an update.

Kia Sorento 2.2 CDRi - 2018 - Image 4It’s a tricky one to spot from the outside, where pretty much the only change to the big seven-seater Kia Sorento is new GT-Line and GT-Line S trim levels, which feature 19-inch alloys, a stainless steel side-step, twin exhaust pipes and red brake calipers. Inside, the differences include black leather seats with light grey stitching and a leather-trimmed steering wheel.

However, under the skin is where the biggest changes to the Kia Sorento lie, at least for the majority of customers in this segment that opt for an automatic gearbox, because a new eight-speed auto replaces the previous six-speed as standard on GT-Line and GT-Line S models, or as a £2000 option over the manual on lower trims.

The new eight-speed brings a 4g/km improvement over the previous self-shifter, although that is under the old NEDC measurements, as Kia hadn’t published revised WLTP figures for the Sorento as Company Car Today went to press.

The new GT-spec cars get paddleshifts, and all cars get five driving modes for the transmission and throttle, ranging from sport to comfort.

Kia Sorento 2.2 CDRi - 2018 - Image 1The automatic gearbox is significantly less efficient than the six-speed manual on the trims where both are available – with there being an 11g/km difference that does only amounts to a single BIK band gap because of the Kia Sorento’s position high up on the BIK scale. The auto sits in the maximum 37% branding.

Kia’s big off-roader is civilised and very practical. The rearmost seats are useful with adequate room for the smaller passengers likely to be back there, and there’s luggage space behind the third row when it’s not folded flat into the floor. It’s a great all-rounder, and the new GT trim levels in particular add some extra visual appeal.

paul barker

The verdict

Classy big 4x4 isn’t dramatically altered but the changes are worthwhile.