The seven seat SUV segment is a hotly contested in the Australian new car market with no less than 14 manufacturers in vying for your family’s attention. The recently refreshed Kia Sorento has stepped up the game for the Korean manufacturer and the GT-Line is worthy of consideration if you are looking for a premium seven-seater SUV.
The Sorento GT-Line is available either with a 3.5 litre V6 petrol engine with an 8-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive, or the 2.2 litre, in-line 4-cylinder diesel that I recently drove. The diesel variant has an 8-speed Dual Clutch Transmission (Wet-type) with active all-wheel drive that is either engaged full or part-time depending what drive mode you have selected. The on-road drive modes include Comfort, Eco, Sport and Smart and the Terrain modes in Snow, Mud and Sand.
The diesel-powered Sorento drives nicely, there is no intrusion from engine noise in the cabin while you are driving and the power from the engine is adequate with 148kW and 440Nm of torque on offer. The official combined fuel consumption is 6.1L/100km and for my week I used 6.9L/100km, which is less than the 8.3L/100km I used with the Sorento Sport that had the same diesel engine.
Driving this large SUV is a synch thanks to the features like the 360o rear view camera with front and rear sensors and Parking Collision Avoidance Assist. There are four themes to be selected from for the 12.3-inch colour driver’s display cluster and I particularly liked that when I changed the setting on the auto wipers/lights a graphic was displayed to show what setting I had chosen. Another good feature about the dash is when you indicate either right or left an image is displayed in the dash from the camera located in the mirror so you can see what is beside the SUV.
The quilted Nappa Leather appointed seats may lack the smell of more expensive vehicles, but they are comfortable. The driver’s seat has 14-way power driver’s seat including 4-way lumbar support and cushion extension and two memory positions, while the passenger seat has 10-way power adjustment including 2-way lumbar support. The driver or second row seat passengers can also move the passenger seat forward/back or recline using the buttons on the side of the seat. Both front seats are heated and cooled, with the heating working well and I can report that the heated seats can also be used as a pizza warmer when transporting your Saturday night dinner home. But the cooling works not so well and this is something many car companies struggle with.
The steering wheel is nice to hold and in winter you will love that it heated as well. I like the wheel design, apart from the slightly masculine-looking silhouette that is on the voice control button. Similar to all Kia, Hyundai and Genesis vehicles the voice control only works when Apple CarPlay/Android Auto is connected to the system. The driver also gets colour head-up display that shows speed, sat nav guidance and call or media information.
The 10.25-inch colour touchscreen infotainment system connects via USB to Apple CarPlay/Android Auto and provides access to satellite navigation, which comes with 10 years traffic information and map updates. Media options including DAB/FM, which has a patchy signal away from built up areas, AM, Bluetooth, USB music & video and Sounds of Nature for when you need to relax. These can all be enjoyed on the BOSE premium sound system with 12 speakers. Storage options in the Sorento are ample with a large cubby under the arm rest that would fit a small handbag and an area for your sunglasses at the front of the arm rest. The Sorento has two squarish cup holders and at the front of the centre console is a deep storage cubby with wireless charging for compatible devices and there are three USB ports here, but no 12V outlets.
The cabin feature that I am not so keen about is the small air vents that sit below the main air vents on the front dash as these can’t be closed off and seem to always blow cold air on to my legs. I also found that there was no temperature control for the third row air vents in the Sorento either from the front or third row seats. From the front I could only turn the third row air on and off and it seemed only to blow cold air? I even consulted the vehicle’s manual and asked my tween-aged son to work it out and still couldn’t figure out how I adjusted the temperature.
The panoramic sunroof extends a long way back into the cabin so the second row passengers can enjoy an open-air feeling. Second row passengers can move the seats/forward back and recline (60:40 split) and when the seats are fully pushed back there is ample head and leg room for two adults to comfortable sit back there. If the second row seats need to be forward to allow the third row seats to be occupied then the leg room becomes tight for adults.
There are two ISOFIX/three rear tether points for child seat restraint points and the centre seat folds down as an arm rest when not in use and there three rigid drink bottle holders in it. Passengers in the second row can remain amply hydrated with drink bottle storage in the door cubbies and additional cup holders in the arm rests too. Here you will also find the controls for the heated seats as well.
The second row passengers get manual blinds on the windows, a great feature if you have small children. For older kids there are USBs in the back of the front seats so you can mount a device here for their entertainment. The central rear air vents that have open/close function only and there is another USB port and a 12V outlet below them. Parents will appreciate the carpet mat that extends across the foot well making it easy to remove for vacuuming.
To access the third row you press the button on the side of the second row seat and this folds the seat down and makes it easy to slide the seat forward. To exit there is a button on the shoulder of the second row seat so the third row passenger can release the seat without assistance. If you are going to use the third row every day and need to install a car seat on one of the second row seats you will need to consider what side you put that seat as you will not be able to access the third row from that side.
Both third row seats have ISOFIX and rear tether child seat restraint points, but tween-sized children may not be able to sit here because the head rests are not adjustable and for this reason the third row is not suitable for adults plus your knees will be sitting up high as well. There is a USB, rigid drink bottle holder and a storage cubby on each wheel arch. There are air vents on each side and under the second row seats, and the air speed control is on the driver’s side with no temperature adjustment. There is also a mat across the floor in the third row foot well for easy cleaning.
With the third row seats in place there is enough room in the boot for five school bags to fit across the boot. If you lower the 50:50 split third row seats manually by pulling on the straps on the back of the seats then the boot is very large and would easily accommodate a pram and the weekly shop. The seat belts can be clipped out of the way and there are four tie down points and two hooks in the boot area.
The GT-Line gets a hands-free smart power tailgate boot or the boot can be open/closed from the boot lid, key fob and from the button in the front of the cabin. Conveniently under the boot floor the cargo cover and cargo net are neatly stowed in a storage area and the full-size spare tyre in located under the back of the Sorento. If you need to carry extra-large items the second row seats can be lowered using the one-touch button located on the side of the boot.
The Sorento has a 5-star ANCAP (2020) rating (for diesel variants only) with an Adult Occupant Protection score of 31.23 points out of 38 (82%) and a Child Occupant Protection score of 42.09 points out of 49 (85%). Passive safety includes dual frontal, side chest-protecting and side head-protecting (curtain) airbags. Plus a centre airbag which provides added protection to front seat occupants in side impact crashes is also standard on all variants.
Driver safety aids that come as standard include Adaptive Cruise Control, Blind Spot Collision Avoidance Assist, Blind Spot Monitor, Rear Cross Traffic Collision Avoidance Assist, Lane Keeping Assist with Lane Change Assist and Lane Following Assist, which feels improved over older Kias. ANCAP tests of LSS functionality showed GOOD performance, with the system intervening in some of the more critical emergency lane keeping test scenarios. The effectiveness of the Autonomous Emergency Brake (Car-to-Car) system performance was rated as GOOD by ANCAP. With the overall performance of the LSS system was classified as GOOD and the ANCAP Safety Assist score for the all-new Sorento is 89%.
All Kias come with a 7-Year Unlimited Kilometre Warranty and one year of complimentary Roadside Assist. Owners can renew their Roadside Assistance package yearly, for up to eight years, by simply returning their vehicle to an Authorised Kia Dealer for its annual scheduled services. Membership will remain valid for one year following your scheduled service, and will be renewed if an Authorised Kia Dealer completes the vehicle’s next scheduled serviced within one year. For the Sorento, service intervals are every year or 15,000km, whichever comes first, and the total service costs for the seven year period are capped at $3,463.
The all-new Kia Sorento has the look of a premium SUV with many of the luxury inclusions that you would expect to find on one too. Where the Kia Sorento GT-Line diesel differs from the average premium SUV is the price, it’s just $67,290 drive away with premium paint costing an extra $695. Visit your preferred Kia dealer for more information about the all-new Sorento range.
|Many interior features to make your life easier||Small air vents that sit below the main air vents|
|Kia’s Lane Following Assist technology feels improved||Not able to work out how to set temp for third row seats|
|Seven year’s warranty and capped price servicing||Patchy DAB reception away from built up areas|
Photographs by Driven Women Magazine.