Kia Sorento: Who left the bugs out?

Riley Riley


What is it?

With a new Sorento about to lob, it’s deal time on Kia’s largest SUV — the largest sold here at least.

The new, fourth generation Sorento was launched in March and at this stage is likely to go on sale late August/early September.

But the last iteration of any series is always the pick of the bunch because by this stage they have usually ironed out the bugs.

And, the top of the range GT-Line is a very accomplished SUV indeed, big and comfy with plenty of power and a string of luxury appointments.


What’s it cost?

Prices for Sorento start at $43,690 plus on-road costs for the two-wheel drive, petrol-powered Si.

It’s followed by the Sport, Sport Black Edition, SLi and finally top of the range GT-Line.

But there’s also choices to be made between petrol and diesel, plus two- and all-wheel drive.

Petrol, front-drive GT-Line is $56,190, the diesel all-wheel drive, $59,690 — another $3500 plus on roads.

Sorento is a muscular looking wagon, with fat rubber, sporty honeycomb style radiator grille and powerful, class leading turbocharged diesel engine.

It’s roomy inside, with good legroom for second row passengers and two good-sized seats that form the third row, with rear air vents and controls to keep the kids from getting car sick.

Sorento rides on 19 inch alloys, with 235/55 series rubber and packs a full size alloy spare in the back.

The exterior retains the ice cube style LED fog lights that were deleted from Sportage, with red brake calipers, flashy side steps, and GT Line badging to distinguish it from other models.

Safety extends to six airbags, rear camera, birdseye 360 degree camera, front and rear park sensors, blind spot alert, rear cross traffic alert, lane keep assist and autonomous emergency braking (AEB).

Standard equipment includes electric sunroof, power tailgate, active cruise control, second row sunshades, LED lights front and back, as well as interior LED lighting, with three 12 volt power outlets, two USB charge ports, plus Kia’s latest 8.0-inch infotainment system with built-in navigation, digital radio, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Harman/Kardon 640-watt audio is standard, with 10-speakers and QuantumLogic Surround Sound technology extracting signals from the original recording, redistributing them into an authentic, multi-dimensional soundstage.


What’s it go like?

Sorento is 4800mm long, 1890mm wide and 1690mm high, with a 2780mm wheelbase, with seating for seven occupants.

It’s sits low to the ground 185mm and as such we can’t see too many people actually venturing off road, when there’s a 99 per cent chance you will come back with a dent.

The 2.2-litre turbocharged four cylinder engine produces an impressive 147kW of power and 441Nm of torque from a low 1750 revs.

The diesel is hooked up to an 8-speed sports auto, with four selectable drive modes and steering wheel mounted gear change paddles to operate the transmission sequentially.

The seats are armchair comfy, with heating and cooling plus a heated steering wheel for cold mornings like those at the moment.

The dash features a single, centred analogue speedo, with gauges either side and central display area that can be configured to show a digital speedo or other information.

Hit the accelerator and the wagon gets going quickly thanks to all that torque, more so in Sport mode — but’s Smart mode where it’s recommended to leave it harnessing the best of both worlds.

Sorento sits nicely on the road, with a softish ride and occasional tug from the lane keep assist system, making it ideal for long country hauls.

The 8-speed auto delivers timely changes and is no doubt a big contributor to the surprisingly low fuel consumption.

As well as being able to display your speed digitally, the satnav displays the current speed limit and warns of school zones and fixed speed cameras which is comforting.

Rated at 7.2L/100km we were getting 8.0 from the 71-litre tank after more than 300km.

For a top of the range model, hoever, there’s a couple of things missing including head-up display and a charge pad for your mobile phone.

And, for a large SUV, we were disappointed to find Sorento can tow only 2000kg which could be a limiting factor for some punters.


What we like?

  • Comfy
  • Powerful
  • Economical
  • Rear air outlets
  • Third row packs flat
  • Harman/Kardon audio

2020 Kia Sorento GT Line Diesel AWD 18

What we don’t like?

  • Lacks head-up display
  • Patchy reception from digital radio
  • Not fans of the dash design
  • No wireless phone charging
  • Can tow only 2000kg


The bottom line?

Sorento has lost some of its sparkle and were not fans of the Americanised dash.

But if you have the opportunity to grab a deal as the new model approaches, we’d take it — because Sorento ticks just about all the boxes — except maybe in the towing department where it is limited to 2000kg.


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Kia Sorento GT-Line, priced from $59,690
  • Looks - 7.5/10
  • Performance - 7.5/10
  • Safety - 8/10
  • Thirst - 8/10
  • Practicality - 7.5/10
  • Comfort - 8/10
  • Tech - 7.5/10
  • Value - 7.5/10