First Drive

First Drive: Kia Sorento

The story:
This is the fourth generation of Kia’s big off-roader, and this one comes with either diesel or ‘self-charging’ hybrid petrol engines at present, with a plug-in hybrid due next year.
Category:Large 4x4
Key rival:Hyundai Santa Fe
On sale:Now


There is a diesel Kia Sorento, but this hybrid version of the new 4×4 is definitely the one that makes the most sense.

It’s the first so-called self-charging hybrid to feature in Kia’s flagship off-roader, and, depending on spec, emits as little as 158g/km, rising to 166 and 169g/km on the higher trim levels. That compares with the 176g/km of the diesel engine, although the diesel costs £1500 less than the hybrid and is slightly more fuel efficient at 42.2mpg versus 38.7.

The diesel comes only in the middle ‘3’ trim, while the hybrid is available in the 2, 3 and 4 trim levels, the lowest of which makes the most sense if you can live without niceties such as sat-nav. But Apple CarPlay and Android Auto work well through the 8.0-inch touchscreen that grows to 10.25 on higher trims.

First Dive- November 2020- Kia Sorento - Image 4The Sorento has that honest sort of feel where it doesn’t feel like it’s missing luxuries. That’s not to say it’s badly equipped, with dual-zone climate, adaptive cruise control, LED lights and front and rear parking sensors on every car. But it’s not surprising that the 2 HEV version is expected to be the top fleet model.

The hybrid system seems to work well, cutting in and out unobtrusively, easy to run on battery alone when the capacity and driving conditions allow, and offering plenty of performance when required. The Sorento also rides well, certainly better than any of its predecessors, and there is plenty of space for seven people when the middle row of seats are slid forward a little to give everyone some space. The cabin looks nice with its faux-aluminium trim, and has some handy oddment stowage spots.

paul barker

The verdict

Striking design for a good new large 4x4 model that offers decent emissions from the hybrid, plenty of space and a pleasant driving experience.