It's front-wheel drive and Kia has tuned the suspension for Australian roads, which makes driving it that little bit more pleasant.
The steering is great, it’s responsive but not so much that it makes the car twitchy.
I have to be honest, I was nervous about driving and parking such a big car, but there are two features that put me at ease.
For driving, lane keep assist helps you know you're in the middle of the lane. Start to hug one side and it will alert you, or correct itself (if you have that setting turned on).
The Sorento is so effortless to drive, but also has some nice power. (Image: Dean McCartney)
For parking, with the 360-degree camera view (seriously cool, and so incredibly useful) you can see the entire car from a bird's eye view, and it gave me all the confidence I needed parking in tight shopping centre car spots.
The camera images also come up so clearly on the touchscreen when parking. It's probably the best screen I've come across so far.
And just when you think you have enough camera views, there's the blind spot view that appears on your instrument cluster whenever you flick an indicator.
The 3.5L V6 petrol engine with an eight-speed automatic transmission. (Image: Dean McCartney)
It’s the first time I’ve come across this feature and I know others have found them distracting. But both hubby and I really found these little camera views gave us more confidence while changing lanes and judging distances to curbs when parallel parking and navigating car park ramps.
The image disappears as soon as the indicator stops, however, so you'll need to keep the indicator on if you're using them for parking. Give it a little time to get the hang of and I reckon you’ll find them useful.
Let me tell you, there is so much space in the Sorento. It's the ultimate car for tall parents. I'm 168cm tall (5'6") and my hubby is about the same, and we could sit very comfortably with the front seats moved slightly forward on the passenger side so our son couldn't kick the back of the seat.
He's three, so I know all you mums and dads out there are cheering reading that!
My brother who is 190cm (6'3") sat in the backseat and still had plenty of space from his knees to the driver's seat in front, without us needing to adjust the driver's position at all.
Now, we never placed my son's forward facing car seat behind the driver's seat, but when I saw my brother sitting there with his ridiculously long legs, I knew there would be no issue for hubby or me to have any type of child seat behind the driver.
The third row has two seats, and they're quite wide. No problem for two adults sitting back there together.
The third row has two seats, and they're quite wide. No problem for two adults sitting back there together. (Image: Dean McCartney)
Although, if it was my really tall brother, as the seat is lower to the floor, the angle he would be sitting at would probably become uncomfortable if it was any longer than a 20 minute drive.
I even attempted to sit back there for a drive... at seven months pregnant. Ladies, do not try this at home!
The angles my knees were at were pushing into my belly, and you can feel every bump and pothole along the road due to the seats being right above the wheels.
If I was another two months along, it could have been enough to send me into labour!
But, the third row being lower to the floor of the car did come in handy for having our three-year old back there in his car seat.
The second row is a 60/40 split, with the 60 segment on the passenger side of the car, and it doesn't open as wide as the 40 part.
Trying to jump into the third row with my big belly, especially with my son to strap him in, was not graceful, at all.
The second row is a 60/40 split, with the 60 segment on the passenger side of the car, and it doesn't open as wide as the 40 part. (Image: Dean McCartney)
But I quickly discovered he was able to pull himself up into his seat because it wasn't too high a climb, and I could then still reach him by leaning through the gap to strap him in. It was great!
Now, this wouldn't be a set-up we would use for every day life, especially because the airbags don't reach the third row, but it was excellent for a day trip with the grandparents.
No adults had to endure the third row for a longer drive, and my son thought it was so cool being "down the back" on his own.
Like most SUV's, with all seats in use, the boot space isn't that generous, but I actually preferred to do smaller grocery trips this way, as my shopping bags were more likely to stay upright (although it does come with a luggage net, which would help with this anyway).
You get 187L capacity of boot space with all seven seats up. (Image: Dean McCartney)
You get 187L capacity with all seven seats up, with the third row folded down it grows to 616L and if you’re making a trip to Ikea, with both the second and third row folded down, you’ll get 2011L. That’s huge!
I already mentioned the luggage net, but I also wanted to call out the fact that it comes with a luggage screen to prevent anything flying over into the second row.
There is also a little compartment in the floor to store said luggage net and screen (and tyre changing kit) to keep them neatly out of the way when the third row is in use.
Everything has a home, and as a mum who is trying to teach her toddler this principle, I so appreciate that.
As a five seater, it is brilliant! But if you're wanting to access the third row on a daily basis with kids, the 60/40 split of the second row, that I touched on earlier, could become annoying.
You don't want your children climbing into the third row from the driver's side, because it's not very safe when you've parked on the street, and you don't want someone taking your door off when it's opened wide on that side, either.
So, having to use the smaller entrance on the curbside all day, every day, might just be a deal breaker for you. Especially if you have multiple kids car seats.
As for everything else, it's a perfect everyday car. It has a push-button start and a rotary gear shift dial, both of which add to the seamless and effortless ease of use.
The dash is so intuitive, and at the right eye level so it doesn't take your eyes too far off the road when changing to the next Wiggles song or using the sat nav.
The dash is so intuitive, and at the right eye level so it doesn't take your eyes too far off the road when changing to the next Wiggles song or using the sat nav. (Image: Dean McCartney)
There are two cupholders in the front, a centre storage bin with a bucket tray (which was perfect for our sunnies), and several different cubby holes of varying sizes that were perfect for things like keys, phone, garage remote, wallet and your spare face mask.
There is a bottle holder in each door, but they will only fit a 600ml bottle, so they are on the smaller side.
While the dual-zone climate control does an excellent job at cooling down the entire cabin, the directional air vents only really turn side to side, because when you move them down, that's how they close.
So if you want it specifically blowing on your face, or chest, depending on your height, it might be tricky to get the air flowing in the direction you want.
Front seat passengers will also get three USB charging points, wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, plus wireless fast phone charging if your phone is compatible. (Image: Dean McCartney)
Second row passengers get four cupholders, two in the pull-down centre armrest and one in each door, plus a bottle holder - but again it's made for small bottles.
They also have three USB charger points, directional air vents, which are placed nice a high, so even my son could feel the cool air while strapped down in his car seat, and built-in sunshade blinds.
The third row doesn't miss out either, with two USB charger points, directional air vents with fan control and two cupholders.
If you have five children, this car has got you covered as there are five top tether child restraint anchorage points and four ISOFIX points.
Now, I didn't attempt to install five car seats into this car, but assuming your children are different ages, and hence having different types of car seats, I'm sure you'd find a configuration that works for you and your family.
Although, I'm not sure how practical life would be in a Sorento with that many children. You might want to up-size to a Kia Carnival instead.
The safety features available in the Sorento make my heart so happy. All of the big ticket active safety items are there like the auto emergency braking (at city and highway speeds) that also has pedestrian and cyclist detection.
There’s lane keeping tech and that cool blind-spot system with cameras, but I want to share my top picks, as well as some things you might not expect from a Kia.
Like I just mentioned, the 360-degree camera view is so clear and useful, you would never have to worry about not being able to see a child running behind your car again.
There’s lane keeping tech and that cool blind-spot system with cameras. (Image: Dean McCartney)
'Safe Exit Assist' stops you or whoever is in the back seat from opening their door into the path of oncoming traffic.
'Rear Occupant Alert' prevents kids or pets from being locked in the car. A function you would hope to never use, but it's one that could save a life. Have Kia thought of everything?
The Sorento has a maximum five-star ANCAP safety rating from 2020.
I might just reiterate the big disappointment here. While there are eight airbags, frustratingly, there are none for the third row, which may be a deal breaker if you plan to use the third row regularly.
Now, I know I've already touched on some of the tech features, and I feel like the list in the Sorento goes on, and on, and on.
I won't bore you by repeating ones I've already mentioned, or with ones that are becoming more standard for a car in this price range, but there are a few I want to mention.
While most cars in this range have heated front seats, the second row outer seats are also heated, and so is the steering wheel. The front seats are ventilated too. Perfect for an Aussie summer.
There is a 14-way power driver's seat with integrated memory system for two seating positions and a 10-way power front passenger seat.
The head-up display and the keyless tailgate release are favourite features of mine. Gone are the days of of waving your foot under rear bumper hoping the boot will open.
With this feature, you just walk up to the boot, stand close enough and the car will beep at you as if to say, "Careful, I'm about to open" and then it opens!
There is a 14-way power driver's seat with integrated memory system for two seating positions and a 10-way power front passenger seat. (Image: Dean McCartney)
There is also a driver talk in-car intercom you can use to talk to the passengers in the third row.
Now the coolest feature this car has to offer, and one so appropriate for me being this pregnant - 'Remote Parking Assist.'
No more trying to squeeze into the car when someone parks way too close to you. This is exclusive to the GT-Line, and yes, I would buy the GT-Line specifically for this feature.
I was freaked out about it at first, but once I got used to it, it’s almost like a real life remote control car - except it’s one that's huge and moves quite slowly.
Picture this, there is just one spot left in a shopping centre car park, but both cars on either side have parked way too close to the line, leaving next to no room for you to get out once you've parked.
All you need to do is, put the car in 'Park', turn on the hand brake, hold down the camera button until the screen tells you it’s ready, and then everyone exits the vehicle.
Then use the forward or reverse button on your key fob to drive the car into the space. When getting back into the car, press the lock button, hold down the 'Hold' button until the car turns on, and then press the forward or back button on the key to move the car out of its spot.
Worried it might hit someone, or something? That’s what great safety sensors are for. If the car gets too close to a physical object, such as yourself, the car will stop.
My son thought it was so fun that mummy and daddy both got to drive the car while standing outside.
If you haven’t worked it out already, I love this car. It is incredible value for the price. I love the cool tech features like the 360-degree camera, the easy to use interface and of course the Remote Smart Parking Assist. As a five-seat SUV the safety features are beyond satisfying, it’s so easy to drive and it’s easy to navigate through shopping centre car parks.
The downsides? Well there aren’t many. The firm front seats, the thirsty engine, the lack of airbags in the third row, and well.. that’s pretty much it. And I gave the 2022 Kia Sorento GT-Line a score of 4.2 out of five.
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