Review: Kia Sorento (2015)
Easy to drive. All-wheel drive as standard. Well-equipped. Capable tow car. Seven seats. Five star Euro NCAP rating. Excellent 8-speed auto from 2018.
KX-1 models lose some of the best equipment. Old 7-speed automatic has higher emissions than manual.
Kia Sorento (2015): At A Glance
- New prices start from £30,225, brokers can source from £23,845
- Contract hire deals from £291.24 per month
- Insurance Groups are between 24–28
- On average it achieves 73% of the official MPG figure
The Sorento epitomises Kia’s progress over the past 10 years. What was once a drab, unsophisticated but cheap SUV is now as quiet, refined, capable and well-made as any one of the competition. It might not be cheap anymore, but nor is it expensive, instead offering good value by providing excellent levels of standard equipment. Factor in seven seats and a fantastic warranty and the Sorento looks very appealing indeed.
The Sorento has a very spacious, comfortable cabin with space for seven. The middle row of seats is more than capable of seating three adults and, while the two flip up seats in the third row are best suited to children, you could seat adults in them at a push. The same can’t be said for many seven-seat MPVs – so the Sorento is a great choice for a large family.
With the rear row of seats folded down there is a flat, wide load floor with room for more or less anything – but the load deck itself is quite high up, which means getting heavy items in and out might prove challenging. There is an underfloor storage bin for small items and for stowing the load cover when the rearmost seats are in use, or when the middle row is folded flat.
Up front the Sorento is plush, well-made and comfortable, with a good driving position. On the road it’s relaxed, quiet and refined whether fitted with the manual or automatic transmission. For long distance or countryside roads it’s ideal, but it does feel somewhat unwieldy in tight urban areas or multi-storey car parks, due to its size.
All Sorento models have all-wheel drive as standard, giving impressive off-road and poor weather capability. This isn’t a fully-fledged, hardcore off-road machine with selectable low range and locking differentials, but for towing trailers up muddy tracks or coping with slippery, slushy roads it’s perfectly fine.
Just one engine is available. It’s a 2.2-litre diesel with 200PS and 440Nm of torque, giving official economy of 49.5mpg and emissions of 149g/km in the manual with 17-inch wheels. Opting for larger wheels pushes emissions up, while opting for the smooth automatic transmissions increases them further, to 177g/km.
If you’re happy to have a Kia badge on your car – and these days there’s no reason not to be – then the Sorento is a great choice of large SUV. It offers excellent value for money with no real compromise when it comes to quality, plus it offers owners peace of mind thanks to a long warranty.
What does a Kia Sorento (2015) cost?
Kia Sorento (2015): What's It Like Inside?
The Kia Sorento looks big from the outside, so it’s no surprise its cabin is spacious. There are seven seats as standard and the rearmost pair are big enough – at a push – for adults, though children will be more comfortable in them, particularly on long journeys. The middle row is fine even for taller occupants.
When not in use the rear two seats fold flat into the boot floor, providing a large 605-litre load volume. Folding and unfolding them is very easy, thanks to simple pulls on the seat backs. They can be tugged up from the boot floor and locked in place with one hand, so if you’re carrying a load of bags or a crying child there’s no faffing around. Conveniently there is a space under the boot floor to store the load cover.
The boot is large enough for big, bulky items, but it does have a high load deck which can make life difficult when loading heavy objects. It might pose problems for dog owners too, since older or less brave pets will struggle to leap in. On the plus side, folding the middle row of seats frees up a huge 1662 litres, which is enough for awkward flat packs and other bulky items.
Up front the Sorento feels like a high-quality car. Most of the materials feel plush and luxurious, plus there are lots of big cubby holes and storage bins for drinks and other odds and ends. Even rear-seat passengers get USB connections and air conditioning controls, while up front there is plenty of technology to make life easier.
Entry-level KX-1 models miss out on the touchscreen system, but they still have Bluetooth for phone and audio streaming. There are also reversing sensors and alloy wheels, but we’d go for a higher equipment grade. KX-2 models offer a good blend of price and equipment, gaining a touchscreen system with navigation, cruise control and leather upholstery.
The best equipment comes with the top trim KX-4 model, which gets a 360-degree around-view monitor to help with reversing or manoeuvring in tight spaces. It also comes with adaptive cruise control that maintains a safe distance to the car in front, blind spot warning and smart parking assistance, which can park the car automatically.
KX-1 trim includes 17-inch alloy wheels, roof rails, tinted glass, LED-running lights, wiper de-icers, air-conditioning, steering wheel mounted controls, front and rear electric windows, cruise control with speed limiter, six-speaker audio system with DAB, USB and AUX inputs, Bluetooth and reversing sensors.
KX-2 adds larger 18-inch alloy wheels, auto lights and wipers, leather upholstery, heated front and outer middle-row seats, dual-zone climate control, electric parking brake (auto only), seven-inch touchscreen with navigation, reversing camera plus optional self-levelling suspension.
KX-3 adds panoramic glass roof, xenon headlights, adaptive front light system, LED tail lights, power adjustable driver’s seat, keyless entry and start, electric tailgate, premium audio system, eight-inch touchscreen system with navigation, seven-inch TFT instrument cluster screen and a lane departure warning, speed limiter.
KX-4 is the top trim level and comes with 19-inch alloy wheels, grey or black leather upholstery, 10-way adjustable driver’s seat with four way electrically operated lumbar support, eight-way adjustable front passenger seat, ventilated front seats, rear side window blinds, adaptive cruise control, 360-degree around view monitor, smart park assist, blind spot detection and rear cross traffic alert.
Child seats that fit a Kia Sorento (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.
What's the Kia Sorento (2015) like to drive?
The Kia Sorento is available with just one engine choice –a 2.2-litre diesel. It’s powerful, producing 200PS and 440Nm of torque with emissions of 149g/km and economy of 49.5mpg in the KX-1. That’s thanks to its smaller 17-inch wheels - opting for larger 18- or 19-inch wheels reduces economy to 46.3mpg and increases emissions to 161g/km, while the automatic produces 177g/km and is capable of 42.2mpg.
All models have all-wheel drive as standard and it’s a capable system for dirt tracks or slippery surfaces. It lacks selectable low range or locking differentials for proper off-road use, but for occasional adventures across fields it’s perfectly decent. It also provides added peace-of-mind on the road in poor weather.
The Sorento performs very well on tarmac. It’s refined, with little noise intruding into the cabin save for a bit of engine grumbling when accelerating hard. The ride quality isn’t too bad, though it is slightly on the firm side over the very worst surfaces. Thankfully that does mean body roll is kept at bay through bends for the most part, unless pushing on hard.
There’s a reassuring amount of traction in corners, so the Sorento is capable as well as easy-to-drive. Manual cars have a smooth gear change and a light clutch, but the automatic is smoother and easier still. It does comes at the expense of increased emissions, reduced economy and a lower tow-weight rating though, which might put some buyers off.
The Sorento has a braked trailer rating of 2500kg for the manual or 2000kg for the automatic. All but basic KX-1 models can be specified with optional self-levelling suspension, which alters the rear ride height depending on load. This is particularly useful for people who tow trailers and caravans, but it’s also beneficial to those who regularly drive a fully-laden car.
HJ says, we drove a KX-2 manual that, with its new, bigger satnav screen, is the most sensible buy at £31,995, a mere £2,000 more than the previous model KX-2 Nav. It has everything you really need and, with a towing weight of 2,500kg is the ideal caravan tug.
The Sorento is light, pleasant and reasonably powerful. Gearing is a not too high 35mph per 1,000rpm in 6th that should be ideal for hauling caravans. You can weight up the steering with a ‘Sport’ setting if you want to (we didn’t) and it tells you when understeer finally sets in. Cornering grip is fine, well above average for a vehicle of this type. It’s quiet. And it’s blessed with a proper, lever type handbrake.
26-2-2018: A subsequent opportunit to drive the £41,995 KIA Sorento 2.2 CRDi GT-Line S with its new 8-speed automatic transmission proved that all the previous automatic lacked was a decent autobox.
This actually has the same 8-speeder as the KIA Stinger 3.3 GT-S and in the Sorento it works beautifully. The car is relaxing to drive, rides and handles very well and presents an excellent case to save at least £8,000 on an Audi Q7 that, even at £50,000, comes nothing like as well equipped in standard form.
Unfortunately, for towers, the Sorento automatic's limit is still a meagre 2,000kg; well behind the 3,500kg of the Ssangyong Rexton and the 2,800-3,500kg of the Q7. But, whereas you trade the handling dynamics of the Rexton for its lower price and its towing weight, there is no compromise with the Sorento. Steering, roadholding and handling are all first class, offering loads of grip with no vices.
|2.2 CRDi||46–50 mpg||-||149–159 g/km|
|2.2 CRDi Automatic||42–46 mpg||-||170–177 g/km|
Real MPG average for a Kia Sorento (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.
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.
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What Cars Are Similar To The Kia Sorento (2015)?
Key attributes of the this model are: Family friendly, Four-wheel drive, Generous head room, Large boot, Motorway cruiser, Quiet cabin, Raised driving position, Refined ride, 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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