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Kia Sorento Si petrol 2018 review

EXPERT RATING
7.5
Finding a seven-seat SUV with the V6 power to move all those humans is a challenge, unless you're willing to spend $100,000 or more, but fortunately Kia's Sorento can be yours for less than half that

Seven-seat SUVs, once as rare as stegosaurs, and about as attractive, have started to feel like they're a dime a dozen. Truth be told, they are. But if you're on your favourite search engine and looking for a V6-engined seven seat SUV, your options narrow somewhat.

For a start, you've got a few Europeans that are generally north of $100,000 before you can actually drive one out of the lot.

Toyota's Kluger is in the mix but you don't get a lot for your money. What you certainly can't get is a Kluger for $42,990 with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto (well, not for any price). But you can get a Kia Sorento for that, with those features and rather more besides.

Kia Sorento 2018: Si (4x2)
Safety rating
Engine Type3.5L
Fuel TypeRegular Unleaded Petrol
Fuel Efficiency10L/100km
Seating7 seats
Price from$31,888

Is there anything interesting about its design?   7/10

The Sorento got a new face a couple of years ago and it seems to be ageing well. The Schreyer grille still looks terrific, as do the slimmer, smarter headlights. There's no hiding its exterior bulk, though, and it does manage to look slightly under-wheeled on 17s.

  • The Schreyer grille still looks terrific, as do the slimmer, smarter headlights. (image credit: Peter Anderson) The Schreyer grille still looks terrific, as do the slimmer, smarter headlights. (image credit: Peter Anderson)
  • It won't be a talking point at the Saturday morning sport. (image credit: Peter Anderson) It won't be a talking point at the Saturday morning sport. (image credit: Peter Anderson)

Inside isn't exactly avant-garde but is well screwed together. It's entirely conventional and inoffensive, but it won't be a talking point at the Saturday morning sport. It's pretty similar to the exterior - clean, well-executed, understated.

How practical is the space inside?   8/10

There's a tonne of space inside, and it's flexible. You can slide the middle row back and forth to give the back row more or less legroom.

  • You can slide the middle row back and forth to give the back row more or less legroom. (image credit: Peter Anderson) You can slide the middle row back and forth to give the back row more or less legroom. (image credit: Peter Anderson)
  • Mercifully there are air conditioning vents for all three rows. (image credit: Peter Anderson) Mercifully there are air conditioning vents for all three rows. (image credit: Peter Anderson)

As it stands, the final row - while not roomy - will take a six-footer like me for short trips, although my knees are quite high. At least I can have my coffee and a cool breeze blowing on my face while the middle-row occupants have good head, leg and shoulder room.

As you might imagine, the interior is huge and packed with storage. Each row scores a pair of cupholders for a total of six and there are four bottle holders.

  • There's a tonne of space inside, and it's flexible; with both rows up there is 142 litres. (image credit: Peter Anderson) There's a tonne of space inside, and it's flexible; with both rows up there is 142 litres. (image credit: Peter Anderson)
  • The boot is predictably gigantic with everything folded, with 1662 litres of cargo space. (image credit: Peter Anderson) The boot is predictably gigantic with everything folded, with 1662 litres of cargo space. (image credit: Peter Anderson)

Unusually/mercifully there are air conditioning vents for all three rows.

The boot is predictably gigantic with the middle and third rows folded with 1662 litres of cargo space. With both rows up there is still 142 litres and the middle ground is an impressive 605 litres.

Does it represent good value for the price? What features does it come with?   8/10

The MY18 Sorento Si quickly made its way to Australia after its Frankfurt debut. The big change from MY17 is the shift (sorry) to an eight-speed automatic and the inclusion of a new 8.0-inch touchscreen for media and navigation.

The six-speaker stereo features the usual Bluetooth and USB, and also has DAB+ digital radio. (image credit: Peter Anderson) The six-speaker stereo features the usual Bluetooth and USB, and also has DAB+ digital radio. (image credit: Peter Anderson)

Also onboard are seven seats covered in cloth, 17-inch alloy wheels, a six-speaker stereo, active cruise control, dual-zone climate control, reversing camera, front and rear parking sensors, AEB, power windows and mirrors and a full-size alloy spare.

The six-speaker stereo features the usual Bluetooth and USB and also has DAB+ digital radioApple CarPlay and Android Auto are along for the ride, which is still - absurdly - a curiosity at this level.

What are the key stats for the engine and transmission?   7/10

The Sorento Si has Kia's 3.5-litre V6 driving the front wheels through the company's new eight-speed transmission. Developing 206kW/336Nm, it has almost two tonnes to shift and will pull up to 2000kg.

How much fuel does it consume?   6/10

Kia's claimed combined fuel consumption figure is 10L/100km. Our week with the beast was mostly around town, which explains the sobering 14.1L/100km figure indicated in the dash screen.

What's it like to drive?   7/10

Having never driven a V6 Sorento before, I wasn't sure what to expect. Obviously I had an idea of what it might be like - the diesel Sorento I drove last year was a strong performer if a mite clunky, rode well and got on with the job of being an impressive load-hauler.

The suspension is soft and the ride is quite plush. Of course that translates to a fair bit of body roll. (image credit: Peter Anderson) The suspension is soft and the ride is quite plush. Of course that translates to a fair bit of body roll. (image credit: Peter Anderson)

It's no dynamic wonder, though. Unlike the tauter, tighter Mazda CX-9, the Kia is a far more relaxed affair. The 3.5 V6 is smooth and quiet but doesn't mind a drink, getting you up and moving with minimum fuss. The new eight-speed is better than the six-speed it replaces, which is actually quite a feat because that was a pretty decent transmission.

The suspension is very soft and with the higher-profile tyres (235/65), the ride is actually quite plush, more so even than the Kluger's. Of course that translates to a fair bit of body roll and squealing tyres at moderate cornering speeds.

Kia's V6 drives the front wheels through the company's new eight-speed transmission. (image credit: Peter Anderson) Kia's V6 drives the front wheels through the company's new eight-speed transmission. (image credit: Peter Anderson)

Obviously it's not built for apex-clipping mayhem, so it's hardly a disappointment. Less disappointing is its hilarious propensity to light up the front tyres if you switch off the traction control, which I did once, purely in the interests of science.

In the main, though, it's quiet, really quiet. Big cars like this aren't always peaceful and comfortable, but the Sorento nails that down very nicely indeed.

Warranty & Safety Rating

Basic Warranty

7 years / unlimited km warranty

ANCAP Safety Rating

ANCAP logo

What safety equipment is fitted? What safety rating?   8/10

The Si sports six airbags, ABS, stability and traction controlslane-keep assist and AEB. Kid seats are anchored with either three top-tether anchors or two ISOFIX points.

ANCAP re-tested the Sorento in October 2017 and it scored the full five stars.

What does it cost to own? What warranty is offered?   9/10

Kia's massive seven year/unlimited kilometre warranty comes with capped-price servicing for seven years or 105,000km. Over the seven years you'll pay $2681 (average $383 per year), with individual services moving between $252 and $560.

Service intervals come around every year or 15,000km.

Verdict

As with just about any Kia you care to name, the Sorento is a lot of car for the cash. But it is up against some pretty stiff, if limited competition. The Kia gamely pounds away but you can't really say it's punching above its weight anymore. Kia has matured into a cracker of a car maker, with smart pricing and excellent spec. Plus you know everything just works and you've got seven years of warranty coverage. And if you're not a fan of the petrol and its consumption, spend a few more bucks and you have the ever-impressive diesel.

Does the MY18 Sorento's additions put the Kia into the mix for you?

Pricing Guides

$48,555
Based on 296 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$31,888
Highest Price
$61,990

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
AO EDITION 2.2L, Diesel, 8 SP AUTO $39,991 – 46,337 2018 KIA SORENTO 2018 AO EDITION Pricing and Specs
AO EDITION (4x2) 3.5L, ULP, 8 SP AUTO $36,080 – 43,010 2018 KIA SORENTO 2018 AO EDITION (4x2) Pricing and Specs
AO EDITION (4x4) 2.2L, Diesel, 8 SP AUTO $38,610 – 45,430 2018 KIA SORENTO 2018 AO EDITION (4x4) Pricing and Specs
GT-LINE (4x2) GSL 3.5L, ULP, 8 SP AUTO $51,777 – 54,388 2018 KIA SORENTO 2018 GT-LINE (4x2) GSL Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
7.5
Design7
Practicality8
Price and features8
Engine & trans7
Fuel consumption6
Driving7
Safety8
Ownership9
Peter Anderson
Contributing journalist

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