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Kia Sorento Platinum 2016 review

EXPERT RATING
8
Ewan Kennedy road tests and reviews the Kia Sorento Platinum with specs, fuel consumption and verdict.

Almost a third of vehicles sold in Australia in 2015 were crossovers or SUVs and Kia is keen to get a big share of the action. As part of this plan the Korean company's big all-new Sorento has gone ultra stylish, something that will do it no end of good in the rapidly changing sales market in Australia.

All-new Kia Sorento is offered in Si, SLi and Platinum grades. Prices begin at a reasonable $40,990 for a petrol two-wheel-drive Si and run up to $55,990 if you chose a Platinum with the turbo-diesel and all-wheel-drive.

Even the Sorento Si is well equipped, with 17-inch alloy wheels, cruise control, power windows and mirrors and wood-look interior trim. The SLi has 18-inch alloys, the wood-look is extended to the steering wheel and centre console and there are sporty looking alloy pedals. Topping off the range is the Sorento Platinum, with a huge sunroof, 19-inch alloy wheels, a heated steering wheel and a more powerful stereo.

A feature we particularly liked in the Sorento Platinum is the choice of two-tone interior trim. It really makes a pleasant change from the endless all-black interiors in most current cars and SUVs these days. There's even better news on the two-tone look – it comes at no extra charge. Kia spoiled us by providing a Sorento Platinum with attractive light grey and off white trim for our week's road test.

Design

Gone are the days when SUVs pretend to be tough, angular 4WDs, it's well known that most owners are buying station wagons and like a bit of flair in their shapes (the wagon's shape, not the owners … or is it both?!). The third generation look-at-me style certainly drew more than its fair share of looks during our test period.

The practical squared-off tail lets you carry a decent amount of luggage even when all seven seats are in use. With the seats down it's positively cavernous.

Sorento's front end is big and bold, the bonnet is high and the grille has the familiar new-Kia design. Large cutouts for the fog lights add to the effect and give it a bold wide look.

The side profile also takes the big ‘n' bold look with a deep window line that continues all the way to the rear. A current fad amongst stylists is a sharp kick up in the rear-side windows. Okay, it can look sleek, but often ruins the view for the children in the rearmost seats. Sorento is a seven-seater, indeed almost a people mover, so it's important that the kids can see what's happening out there.

Features

Sorento Si has an AM/FM audio system with six speakers. There's MP3, Bluetooth streaming, USB and Aux. Sportage SLi and the Platinum we tested used an Infinity Premium 10-speaker system with sub-woofer and external amplifier.

The system is operated through Kia's audio-video navigation (AVN) system using a 7.0-inch TFT LCD touchscreen.

Engine

New Kia Sorento comes with a choice of petrol or diesel engines. The Sorento's four-cylinder 2.2-litre turbo-diesel is a unit already familiar to us from other Kia models, but has had significant changes. In its latest iteration it produces 147 kW of power and a big 441 Nm to torque, the latter from 1750 rpm to 2750 revs.

The 3.3-litre V6 petrol is an all-new design and puts out 199 kilowatts of power and 318 Nm of torque. The petrol powerplant is only offered in 2WD models. As befits its heavier duty use the diesel is used in Sorentos with all-wheel-drive.

All Sorento models have a six-speed automatic as manuals are rapidly becoming a thing of the past in Australia.

Safety

Sorento has a five-star safety rating from Australasian NCAP. There are six airbags, including front-to-rear curtain coverage.

All models have ABS with brake assist, ESC, VSM (vehicle stability management), a reversing camera, front and rear parking sensors and a tyre pressure monitoring system.

The Platinum as tested added lane departure warning, smart cruise control, blind-spot detection and rear cross traffic alert to the driver safety aids. 

Driving

The front seats are large, comfortable and support well. The second row pews can slide back and forward to let you juggle space. In their rearmost position they provide a huge amount of legroom for their occupants, meaning four large adults can travel in comfort if the back seats aren't in use. The rearmost pair of seats and the centre seat in the second row are best left for children on anything other than short trips.

The variable mode settings do make it better than average for the Asian class, but if you're looking for driving excitement forget it.

The practical squared-off tail lets you carry a decent amount of luggage even when all seven seats are in use. With the seats down it's positively cavernous. The centre-row seat has a 60 / 40 split, with a central panel that can fold down to become an armrest, or opened all the way to allow for through loading of long items.

The body of the gen-three Kia Sorento has significantly increased rigidity over the previous model and also uses a lot of sound dampening materials. On the road we found the big Kia SUV to be smooth, quiet and comfortable. Perhaps not quite the standard of the best large sedans, but a lot closer than you might anticipate.

Sorento's suspension and steering have a lot of Australian input. This firms it up in road grip without any great loss of comfort. It handled dirt sections with some big potholes without missing a beat. The Sorento can be set to Sport or Eco modes – as keen drivers we preferred the Sport setting.

Handling is competent, though don't expect it to compete with the big name German SUVs in this class. Sorento is a large vehicle tuned for family comfort ahead of sporting pretensions. The variable settings do make it better than average for the Asian class, but if you're looking for driving excitement forget it.

During our test period fuel consumption of the turbo-diesel was in the 9-10L/100km range in around town driving, dropping to 6-8L/100km when on the open road or motorways. Pretty impressive figures for a large seven-seat people mover.

Pricing Guides

$34,990
Based on 103 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$26,955
Highest Price
$41,980

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
GT-LINE (4x4) 2.2L, Diesel, 6 SP AUTO $39,050 – 45,980 2016 Kia Sorento 2016 GT-LINE (4x4) Pricing and Specs
Platinum (4x4) 2.2L, Diesel, 6 SP AUTO $32,700 – 41,980 2016 Kia Sorento 2016 Platinum (4x4) Pricing and Specs
Si (4x2) 3.3L, ULP, 6 SP AUTO $26,955 – 29,990 2016 Kia Sorento 2016 Si (4x2) Pricing and Specs
Si (4x4) 2.2L, Diesel, 6 SP AUTO $29,850 – 35,990 2016 Kia Sorento 2016 Si (4x4) Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
8

“Kia's all-new Sorento offers a nice combination of style, carrying capacity and sophistication and is already making a name for itself on the new-car sales charts.Click here for more 2016 Kia Sorento Platinum price and spec info

How does the Sorento measure up to its rivals: the Kulger Grande and Forester? Tell us what you think in the comments below.