The Kia Sorento has been a standout family sized SUV, and now comes with a punching new GT Line edition.
We took it out to see if it is worth putting on your shopping list.
How do you improve a car that was already an award winning success? The Kia Sorento was already a family favourite for big space, a cracking diesel engine option and a premium vehicle for not much coin.
Looks wise, the Sorento hasn’t chopped its nose off to spite its face; it was already an objectively good-looking vehicle – the facelift nips and tucks the bumpers, lengthening the amount of wheelbase dedicated to in-car space and slaps a dark finish on the front grille.
The safety suite, interiors and under the bonnet have been given a more substantial makeover, with autonomous emergency braking, lane keep assist and active cruise control made standard across the range; a new media unit with rejigged navigation system that incorporates Apple Carplay/Android Auto and bumps the screen size up from 7- to 8-inches; and gives SLi and GT-Line owners a new version of the harmon/kardon 10-speaker premium surround sound audio system.
The new Sorento also swaps its 3.3L V6 petrol engine for a new 3.5L unit, which increases the power a little, while the 2.2L diesel carries over untouched. However, both now benefit from an all-new 8-speed automatic, developed in-house at Kia.
Little upgrades to the overall package have added up to a substantial bump in value for the family SUV.
The GT Line essentially replaces the top-shelf Platinum of old, and as such keeps the diesel-only spec and the old engine. Luckily, the diesel was smooth and capable in the previous Sorento, improving even further thanks to the added gears in the transmission.
The engineers at Kia HQ have also heard the gripes about the previous Sorento in their tinkering endeavours, taking their tools to the suspension set up in order to reduce body roll in the corners. It has largely worked, although you’ll still feel the heft of the Sorento if you barrel around a sharp bend.
On the road, the Sorento sticks confidently to the road, you never feel overwhelmed when manoeuvring it around from suburban streets to stretches of freeways. It’s sprightly without losing its SUV presence; taking it onto the highway, it excels at speed feeling solid, but somehow gliding past any traffic with ease of a smaller car.
The diesel has no problem delivering power, especially matched to the eight-speed transmission. It’s smooth to shift up or down, with no hesitation in choosing a gear when you need an extra burst of power.
As far as family SUVs go, for comfort and daily liveability, you’d be counting on less than one hand the competition (especially for the asking prices.)
As with the last model, the new Sorento shares its wheelbase with the Kia Carnival – and has been stretched and lengthened again to provide more cabin space for passengers. It’s immaterial at this point, though, as the previous Sorento was hardly a sardine tin.
The stretching of standard equipment across the range (especially in regards to the mechanical and safety tech) deserves a pat on the back, but the GT-Line steps out at the top with an around-view 360˚ camera, Blind Spot Detection and Rear Cross Traffic Alert. Also included in the price of entry is ‘Dynamic Bending Lights’, a fancy new feature that follows the path of the car around corners when you turn – hopefully preventing any sudden swerves as you come round bends.
Noise levels from the road are commendably kept from the cabin at speed, while the interior continues to be at a premium level across all three rows.
Pricing for the Sorento range kicks off at $42,990 for the Si Petrol, rising to $58,990 for the diesel GT-Line. All prices are before on-road costs such as registration and stamp duty.
Premium paint is available at additional cost. Diesel is an additional option on Si and SLi grade Sorento’s, and the only engine choice on the Platinum.
As with most of the Kia range, the Sorento is covered by the excellent 7-year, unlimited kilometre warranty with 7 years capped price servicing and 7 years roadside assist which allows you to budget for a considerable portion of ownership. See Motorama Kia for exact pricing on petrol and diesel models, as they differ on scheduled servicing costs.
The new Kia Sorento has added many little changes, creating a lot more added value. For families looking to upsize the daily driver, or heading out on the open road – the Sorento is in a league of it’s own, especially in the GT-Line which for well under the cost of its premium rivals, goes above and beyond the call of a big wagon. No wonder it won the 'Best AWD SUV $50,000-$65,000' at the Australia’s Best Cars Awards, judged by Australia’s state automotive bodies. Speaking to the strengths of the Sorento, the judges found that the new eight-speed automatic, extensive safety package and Australia-specific ride and handling package was worthy of praise. “The end result is a compliant, controlled ride that is amongst the best in class. This sure-footedness also continues off-road where the Sorento shows plenty of agility.”
The Sorento is in stock at Motorama Kia now, so visit Moorooka or Browns Plains to speak with the team about the safest SUV available, and test the updated features for yourself.