A stalwart of the global D segment/mid-size SUV class, Kia‘s Sorento is that rare vehicle: an evergreen model which just keeps on selling, successful in all regions.
North America is where the Sorento does best yet the worldwide sales balance isn’t too heavily skewed in the US market’s favour. Which is because MQ4, the current iteration of this seven-seat SUV, has mass appeal in South Korea, China, the Pacific Rim and Europe.
Launched in 2020, generation four remains a solid seller, the key to that being not only its roominess and typically Kia generous standard equipment but the flexibility of the powertrains. Here in Britain and a couple of other European countries, the diesel still finds a fair few buyers but it’s the hybrid and plug-in hybrid which keep annual volume consistent.
Where the PHEV might be out of reach for many when it comes to pricing, the HEV is there just below it and now comes in an even more affordable model grade. That’s the ‘Vision’, which supplements the top-spec ‘Edition’, although the first of that pair is officially a limited edition. So it is that the UK importer has since last year put its focus on the premium, single-grade Edition.
The hybrid system consists of Hyundai Motor Group’s 1,598 cc four-cylinder turbo and a 64 kW motor, combined outputs being 169 kW (230 PS) and 350 Nm (258 lb-ft).
Perhaps unusually, drive is to both axles as standard, one of the reasons that weight is a hefty 1,922 kilos. The only transmission is another HMG component, this being a torque converter automatic with just six ratios. Does that mean economy suffers? Not really, the Edition HEV returning 42 mpg during my time with it.
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The downside to the hybrid Sorento’s mass and its relatively old-school number of gears is ordinary performance. Zero to 62 mph takes nine seconds and top speed is 120 mph. CO2? That’s 168 g/km.
Even the least expensive examples come with leather upholstery, digital instrumentation, a large touchscreen, a Bose sound system and a 50:50 split for the third row of fold-flat seats. In addition, the standard 4×4 system gives you Mud, Snow and Sand settings.
Added to the gear which Kia specifies for the Vision, Edition trim level also comes with a blind spot monitor camera, remote parking assistance, a head-up display, 360-degree cameras and parking collision avoidance.
The higher of the two model grades is marked out by black roof rails, grille and exterior mirror caps, the same colour being specified for the headlining and upholstery. Window surrounds and door handles are dark chrome-effect.
Kia positions the Sorento below the electric-only EV9, while its 4.8 m length places it above the Stonic, Niro and Sportage crossovers/SUVs. So it’s right-sized for most UK owners’ garages and not surprising that it sells so well against the elderly Land Rover Discovery Sport.
The roominess, which is evident in the decent amount of legroom in the rearmost row, is thanks in part to a 2,815 mm wheelbase. The resultant short overhangs are not only handy for off-roading but help give the vehicle what to my eyes are great proportions. The boot isn’t too squeezy either, Kia having positioned what is a 1.49 kWh battery for the hybrid system below the front passenger seat.
While the Sorento is at the half-way point of what should be a six-year life cycle, it looks fresh still, even against the facelifted model shown in Korea a few months ago. The revamp – which has just had its North American premiere at the LA auto show – won’t reach Europe until 2024.
It’s hard to imagine anyone not liking this model, so easy is it to drive, park and with Kia’s transferable seven-year warranty, own. Sure it lacks the sportiness of something like an X3 but you’re not paying BMW money either. The choice of those three powertrain options is an astute move by Kia too – for those shopping in the D-SUV class, the Sorento is hard to look past.
Kia Sorento pricing starts at GBP44,995 (Vision diesel), rising to GBP56,995 (Edition plug-in hybrid), with the HEV costing either GBP46,495 (Vision) or GBP51,055 (Edition).