Kia Sorento 2.2 CRDi GT-Line S Eco Auto
It’s done it again. For the past week, the blowers have entered meltdown mode and relocated my eyebrows every time I start the car up.
The dog took me for a walk the other day, and I found that as I walked past the car, its wireless key fob assumed I was about to get in and unlocked the car. This meant I had to do that weird shuffle to get my keys from the depths of my jeans and re-lock it. The same happened on the way back.
The Sorento is an attractive car in my eyes. There are proper old school side skirts, reminding me of my dad’s old Isuzu Trooper. Unlike the Trooper though, the Sorento turns heads; the other morning, one delivery driver actually gawked at it.
We received a gloss white version in top GT-Line trim level. There are fancy LED lights, flared wheel arches, shiny metal side steps and chunky alloy wheels. It looks like a Kia in a Hamann bodykit, and is very different to some of the other school run shuttles. It feels quite flamboyant, as if you’re driving around in a slab of Vienetta.
The bright red brake calipers are fairly ostentatious but they actually work – useful given the Sorento weighs slightly less than the Sagrada Família. Incidentally, the size of the car provides the Harman Kardon sound system with the acoustics of a small cathedral.
Step inside and the driver's seat automatically adjusts to your required level of tall. As with many new cars today, there is a little chime on start up that makes you feel all is right in the world. It soon grates on you, of course, but at least there’s no incessant beeping.
Leather seats, Apple CarPlay via the touchscreen infotainment system and sturdy switchgear tick all the main boxes for interior quality. Having said that, I don’t like the gear lever, it feels a bit plasticy. This is a criticism levelled at something you’re unlikely to touch more than a few times on a journey, perhaps, but it’s the little things. The rest of the interior is lovely, and far above the quality you may associate with Kias of old.
As with most auto-dipping headlights, I often found myself accidentally searing the retinas of oncoming drivers by reflexively dipping them manually just milliseconds after the system has done it for me. It’s difficult to enjoy what is arguably a well-designed and intentioned system because of my clumsiness, but I can't be the only one that does this.
A reversing camera helps you see backwards, and a front camera provides a Labrador’s-eye view of the road; I did not bump into anything during my time with the car, and the chunky alloys remained intact despite battling for spaces on a crowded estate. Pleasingly, the Sorento is a fully-fledged all-wheel drive SUV, and not a faux by four. That said, the furthest off-road owners are likely to venture is to the curb outside Harvey Nichols. There is reasonable grunt for a 2.2 diesel, but don’t be fooled by those red brake calipers – the Sorento’s qualities lend itself more to comfort than drivability. It is by no means soft in the bends, but I found myself simply wafting around, and at the end of each drive I felt relaxed.
Kia has dipped its toe in performance car waters elsewhere – read our review of the new Stinger.