Review: Kia Sorento (2010 – 2015)

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Strong diesels including impressive 2.2-litre. Comes with seven seats. New six-speed automatic. More premium feel than previous Sorento. Great value for money.

Entry level model is two-wheel drive and five seats. 4WD automatic models only tow 2,000kg.

Kia Sorento (2010 – 2015): At A Glance

The original Kia Sorento built up a good reputation as an affordable, strong and neatly designed large 4x4. It was certainly good value for money and a great tow-car too, but it's fair to say sophistication wasn't its forte. With the new Sorento, Kia is aiming to re-invent its big SUV as a more premium car with a sleeker design and better road manners.

From the outside it certainly looks smarter, especially at the front with its angled headlamps. It has a less rugged appearance that the previous Sorento, although the back end is still quite chunky and perhaps not as neat as the front with those huge rear light clusters. But it's inside where the biggest change has taken place. The cabin now has a much more sophisticated look with a good quality feel. There are some areas where it could be better - the dated indicatior stalks for instance - but overall it's well finished.

Practicality is a big strength. All models come with seven seats as standard (aside from the entry-level Sorento 1 2.0 CRDi model), loads of onboard storage and a mammoth boot. This Sorento is longer than the previous one which means better room for all passengers, particularly those in the third row. The raised driving position means great all round visibility too.

Most models come with the new 2.2-litre CRDi engine which developes 194bhp and 422Nm of torque. Although not the quietest diesel around is strong and works very well in the Sorento - especially with the new six-speed automatic gearbox that's available. It's available with two or four-wheel drive and compared to the outgoing 2.5-litre CRDi engine it's more powerful yet considerably more efficient.

On the road the Sorento is comfortable and reasonably refined, with decent road holding in corners for such a large vehicle. It's also a very safe car with a five-star Euro NCAP safety rating. But perhaps the clincher for many will be the excellent seven-year/100,000 mile warranty that comes as standard and is also transferable to to subsequent owners.

Kia Sorento 2010 Road Test and Video

Kia Sorento 2013 Facelift Road Test and Video

Looking for a Kia Sorento (2010 - 2015)?
Register your interest for later or request to be contacted by a dealer to talk through your options now.

What does a Kia Sorento (2010 – 2015) cost?

List Price from £29,610
Buy new from £25,480
Contract hire from £277.24 per month

Kia Sorento (2010 – 2015): What's It Like Inside?

Length 4685 mm
Width 1885 mm
Height 1735–1755 mm
Wheelbase 2700 mm

Full specifications

This Sorento is longer than the model it replaces with a longer wheelbase. It's lower too which means it's far more aerodynamic and there's certainly less wind noise on the move, but this hasn't been at the detriment of head room and the Sorento feels very spacious whichever seat you're sat in.

The extra length was needed to accommodate the extra row of seats at the back and the good news is that they're very good. Getting to them is easy enough thanks to the double-folding middle row and once you're there you'll find more than enough knee and head room. The second row will happily accommodate three adults and the seats get reclining backs too while the rear seats have a 50/50 split so you have the option of using one seat while still having decent boot space.

The driving position is good thanks to the raised height along with good reach adjustment in the steering column. Kia has increased the amount of travel in the driver's seat forward/back adjustment while top KX-3 Sat Nav models get an electrically adjustable driver's seat with lumbar support. The new Sorento also has a floor-mounted 'organ-type' accelerator pedal which is far more comfortable on long journeys while the seats offer decent support.

Build quality feels good and the Sorento interior seems very robust and hardwearing. It looks good too with the new Kia steering wheel which is found on other models, easy to use air conditioning controls and a neat stereo. The foot-operated parking brake (standard on automatics - manuals get a traditional handbrake lever) seems a little old fashioned when other 4x4s are switching to electrically operated system and the steering column stalks are also dated compared to the rest of the interior - but these are only minor criticisms.

There's plenty of cabin storage thanks to a large centre console and twin cupholders alongside the gear lever. The glovebox is large as are the door pockets while the second row of seats gets a folding armrest with twin cupholders. Of course boot space is always a key feature in large 4x4s and the Sorento has plenty of capacity. It's noticeably larger than the precious Sorento and when configured as a five-seater has 531 litres while dropping all the back seats boosts this to a van-like 1525 litres.

Putting the extra third row of seats up cuts boot space dramatically, but there's more than other seven-seat SUVs and enough space for a few shopping and school bags. The boot has a low sill and a high-opening tailgate so loading larger items is made more manageable. All models get a tonneau cover and net hooks along with a secure under-floor luggage box.

Standard equipment from launch (February 2010):

Sorento 1 models are two-wheel drive only and have 17-inch alloy wheels, a full-size spare, front fog lights, tinted glass, body-coloured electrically adjustable door mirrors, black cloth upholstery, manual air conditioning, 60/40 split folding second row of seats, electric windows front and back, driver's seat height adjustment, tilt and telescopic steering wheel adjustment, a leather trimmed steering wheel, leather gear lever, trip computer, black wood-grain dash and door trim, luggage area load cover, a CD stereo, USB connector, auxiliary input, an iPod cable, remote central locking, Isofix child seat mounts, hill start assist, Electronic Stability Control plus an alarm and immobilisier.

KX-1 models have a similar specification to the Sorento 1 but have four-wheel drive (denoted by the KX prefix).

KX-2 gets privacy glass, folding mirrors with integrated LED indicators, chrome exterior door handles, reversing sensors, black leather upholstery, heated front seats, automatic dual-zone air conditioning, cruise control, automatic headlights, a metallic finish on the dash and door trims, vanity mirror illumination, a luggage net in the boot, Bluetooth with voice recognition and steering wheel mounted stereo controls.

KX-3 models add 18-inch alloy wheels, xenon headlights with auto levelling, front headlight washers, LED rear light clusters, rain sensitive wipers, a rear spoiler, cream leather upholstery (as a no cost option), panoramic sunroof, electrically adjustable driver's seat with lumbar support, cabin mood lighting, a premium vision instrument cluster, interior chrome trim, illuminated aluminium door scuff plates, an external amplifier and sub-woofer, a six-CD autochange and a smart key with a start/stop button (automatic models only).

KX-3 Sat-Nav versions add - as you might expect - a full map navigation system with a 6.5-inch touchscreen and a reversing camera although they do without the six-CD autochanger.

Child seats that fit a Kia Sorento (2010 – 2015)

Our unique Car Seat Chooser shows you which child car seats will fit this car and which seat positions that they will fit, so that you don't have to check every car seat manufacturer's website for compatibility.

Which car seat will suit you?

What's the Kia Sorento (2010 – 2015) like to drive?

There are just two diesel engines available in the Sorento but the majority of models get the impressive 2.2-litre CRDi - an engine shared with the Hyundai Santa Fe. Only the entry-level Sorento 1 gets the smaller 2.0-litre CRDi engine with 147bhp that is two-wheel drive only and has five seats rather than seven. It is economical with a claimed average of 44.1mpg and the cheapest model in the range, but you might struggle to sell it second hand.

The 2.2-litre CRDi engine is better suited to the big Sorento and it's not short on power either with 194bhp and 422Nm of torque. It comes with a six-speed manual as standard but the six-speed automatic gearbox is the better option and makes the Sorento smoother and more relaxed to drive. This is no performance car after all. True, it's not the quietest of engines, especially on start-up, but it soon settles down and is reasonably hushed unless you really ask it to work hard.

However, there's no need to rev the guts out of it. The Sorento has plenty of torque and while not especially muscular in gear, it is still strong enough to pull very well, especially from 50mph to 70mph. This engine replaced the 2.5-litre CRDi from the old Sorento and not only is it more powerful but it's considerably more efficient. The new 2.2-litre diesel with AWD and the manual gearbox emits a very respectable 177g/km of CO2 while economy is 42.2mpg. Opting for the automatic inevitable affects economy but with 194g/km and 38.2mpg it's still not bad at all.

The two-wheel drive models are 60kg lighter than the 4WD and are a good choice for those who don't need the Sorento for towing or won't be going anywhere particularly demanding. It's also more economical - the manual version averaging a claimed 43.5mpg. What might perplex owners of the previous Sorento who were impressed with its towing ability, is the reduced towing weight of the new model.

The old car has a monster towing ability and was capable of pulling 3500kg. The new model 'only' manages a maximum of 2500kg - although that's still plenty for most and as Kia points out, 99 per cent of owners of the old Sorento didn't need this huge towing ability. It's worth noting that the automatic 2.2-litre CRDi models can only pull 2000kg.

Still, all models do come with a Hill Start Assist Control system which does what it says on the tin along with a Downhill Brake Control which limits the vehicle speed to 5mph on deep downhill descents. 4WD models also let you select 'lock' mode which splits the torque 50/50 between the front and rear axles, at up to 19mph.

On the road the Sorento is competent and feels safe. The steering isn't the quickest and lacks feel but that doesn't prevent the Kia from being composed in corners with decent body control. It's very relaxed when cruising on the motorway with little wind or road noise too.

Engine MPG 0-62 CO2
2.0 CRDi 44 mpg - 169 g/km
2.2 CRDi 42–48 mpg 9.4 s 155–177 g/km
2.2 CRDi Automatic 38–42 mpg 9.5 s 175–194 g/km
2.4 33 mpg - 203 g/km

Real MPG average for a Kia Sorento (2010 – 2015)

Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.

Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.

Average performance


Real MPG

24–43 mpg

MPGs submitted


Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.

What have we been asked about the Kia Sorento (2010 – 2015)?

Every day we're asked hundreds of questions from car buyers and owners through Ask Honest John. Our team of experts, including the nation's favourite motoring agony uncle - Honest John himself - answer queries and conudrums ranging from what car to buy to how to care for it as an owner. If you could do with a spot of friendly advice before buying you're next car, get in touch and we'll do what we can to help.

Ask HJ

What 4x4 is best to replace our Mitsubishi L200?

We have £15,000 to replace our 2008 Mitsubishi L200. We need four wheel drive, an integral boot rather than truck body, seven seats, reliability and plenty of rugged boot space. My husband would love a Land Rover Discovery but i’m not keen in terms of reliability. What do you suggest?
I think you're right to avoid the Discovery on reliability grounds. A Mitsubishi Shogun would be a good choice - they're reliable and make an excellent workhorse, but they feel very old-fashioned - especially compared to a Discovery of the same era. The Kia Sorento might be worth looking at. They're practical and your budget will get you one still inside its original warranty. Also consider a Volvo XC90, but do your research first.
Answered by Andrew Brady
More Questions

What Cars Are Similar To The Kia Sorento (2010 – 2015)?

Key attributes of the this model are: Diesel engine, Family friendly, Four-wheel drive, Room for a buggy and SUV.

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What do owners think?

Our view gives your our opinion, based on driving hundreds of cars every year, but you can't beat the views of someone who lives with a car day-in, day out.

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