The Kia Sorento was Australia’s most popular large SUV under $70k sold in 2022 and the second most popular Kia model sold behind the new Sportage. The popularity of the Sorento has been partly driven by the introduction of the Hybrid and Plug-in Hybrid versions of this family focused SUV.
I have previously driven both diesel and petrol variants of the seven-seat Sorento and most recently I drove the Sorento HEV GT-Line AWD. This Sorento is powered by a 1.6 litre, 4-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine combined with a Permanent Magnet Synchronous Motor with Regenerative Braking. The petrol engine produces 132kW of power and 265Nm of torque and the transmission mounted Electric Device produces an additional 44kW of power and 264Nm of torque.
What does this mean for fuel consumption? Well the official combined fuel consumption of the Sorento HEV AWD is 5.8L/100km and for my week driving the hybrid I used 7.9L/100km. Comparing this to the previous petrol-powered Sorento GT-Line I drove back in 2018, with a 3.5 litre V6 engine, I used 11.8L/100km.
This Sorento GT-Line has Active all-wheel drive, which is a part-time AWD with Lock Mode. There are three Drive modes available, Eco, Sport and Smart plus Terrain modes for Snow, Mud and Sand. I spent the week in Smart mode and found the drive in the Sorento is very smooth for everyday urban driving. The 6-speed automatic transmission uses Shift-By-Wire (Dial Type) and although the Sorento does have plastic steering-wheel mounted paddle shifters, I didn’t feel the need to use them in this large SUV.
That’s because I was too chilled while driving the Sorento GT-Line thanks to the lovely quilted Nappa leather (with Some Non-Leather Trims) seats. For some extra lux both front seats are heated and cooled and each of these functions worked well. The cooling also operated quietly, which is not always the case with vehicles fitted with cooled seats. The driver’s seat has 14-way power adjustment for recline, forward/back, seat height front and rear, front cushion extension and 4-way lumbar support with two memory seating positions. Even the nicely designed steering wheel is heated and the driver also gets a 12.3″ colour Supervision Cluster with four themes top select from and colour head-up display.
The passenger seat has power adjustment for recline, forward/back, single seat height and 2-way lumbar support and no memory positions. The passenger seat also has a ‘Walk-In Switch’ that allows the driver to move the seat forward/back and recline from a button on the driver’s side of the passenger seat. I have found this handy for when my elderly mother gets in the car as I can easily adjust her seat.
Wired Apple CarPlay/Android Auto allows your smartphone to be projected on 10.25″ central touch screen. Or you can use the built-in satellite navigation system, which comes with 10 years access to traffic information and map updates. The system can be navigated by pressing the voice control button on the steering wheel, the button with the masculine-looking silhouette on it, but this only works with Apple CarPlay/Android Auto. The infotainment system has some handy features like the Passenger Talk In-Car Intercom that projects your voice into the rear speakers so you don’t have to yell for rear passengers to hear you. Music from the DAB/FM Digital Radio, AM radio, MP3 Compatible Audio Player, Bluetooth or Kia’s relaxing Sounds of Nature can be enjoyed through the 12-speaker Bose Premium Sound System.
Cabin storage in the Sorento includes a decent-sized of storage cubby under the arm rest, plus a square storage cubby in centre console with two square-shaped cup holders with grippy sides. At the front of the centre console under the gloss black cover that collects dust and finger-marks are three USB-A ports and a wireless charging pad for compatible devices. Some other things I noted in the cabin were there were no floor mats, the drink bottle storage in front door cubbies was awkwardly shaped and does not fit a large rigid drink bottle, would be suitable for a plastic 600ml bottle and when you close off front air vents a small amount of air still blows out from the lower vents and this annoys me because you can’t close them off.
The Kia Sorento is fitted as standard with a range of safety assist features including autonomous emergency braking (AEB), a lane support system (LSS) with lane keep assist (LKA) and emergency lane keeping (ELK) functionality, and blind spot monitoring (BSM). ANCAP tests of the AEB (Car-to-Car) system showed GOOD performance with collisions avoided or mitigated in all test scenarios. Overall, effectiveness of the AEB (Car-to-Car) system performance was rated as GOOD. ANCAP tests of LSS functionality showed GOOD performance, with the system intervening in some of the more critical emergency lane keeping (ELK) test scenarios. Overall performance of the LSS system was classified as GOOD with a score of 89%.
Other safety features include adaptive cruise control, rear cross traffic collision avoidance, blind spot view monitor projected in the driver’s dash when you indicate, automatic headlights with high beam assist and rain-sensing wipers. Another must have safety feature is the 360o view reversing camera combined with multiple selectable views, front and rear sensors and parking collision avoidance assist – reverse.
All Kia Sorento models, including the HEV and PHEV have a 5-star ANCAP (2020) safety rating with an Adult Occupant Protection score of 82% (31.23 out of 38) and a Child Occupant Protection score of 85% (42.09 out of 49). Dual frontal, side chest-protecting and side head-protecting (curtain) airbags are standard. A centre airbag which provides added protection to front seat occupants in side impact crashes is also standard on all variants.
Passengers in the second row of the Sorento GT-Line HEV are also well cared for with seats that have recline adjustment, a 60:40 split folding mechanism, can be slid forward/back and the outer seats are heated. The 60:40 split can assist with fitting three car seats across the second row with the two ISOFIX/three rear tether child seat restraint points. You will also appreciate the built-in manual blinds on the rear windows if you have very young children. But when my children put the blinds up, I felt like this gave me a blind spot when I looked over my shoulder before changing lanes.
When the second row seats are fully slid back there is plenty of leg room and ample head room for two adults to comfortably sit in the second row. Or to allow third row passengers enough leg room the seats can be slid forward and there is still enough leg room for me to comfortable sit in the second row. The centre seat folds down as an arm rest with three rigid cup holders in it and I liked that there are also drink holders in the armrests of the rear doors and that these have grippy sides to help prevent spills. Below this there is also a large drink bottle storage cubby at the base of each door.
Second row passengers get two central air vents with manual direction control and on/off with no individual temperature control. As far as I could tell the rear temperature was controlled by the front passenger side temp setting. Below air vents there is one 12V outlet and one USB-A port and the GT-Line also has one USB-A port in either side of the front seats for devices that are mounted on the back of the front seat headrests. Passengers in the rear seats will appreciate the panoramic sunroof and I liked that the Sorento had a low transmission tunnel, which would be easy for children to step over.
To access the third-row seats, you press the button on the side of the second row and slide it forward. The gap that opens is a reasonable size for me to step through and I could fit in the third-row seats, but my knees were sitting up high, my head was touching the roof and the headrest was not at the correct height for me either. Both third-row seats have an ISOFIX/rear tether child seat restraint point, however If you did have younger children in these seats it may be difficult to reach in and buckle them up. If booster style car seats were fitted here headroom may become an issue, plus if two car seats were in the third row there would be not much visibility for the driver from the rear-view mirror. So I think they would be best for tween-sized children and this would also mean they could let themselves out using the buttons on each shoulder of the second-row seats.
On each side of the SUV in the third row there is one USB-A port, a drink holder and a phone holder moulded into the wheel arch with a vent for the air conditioning. On the driver’s side of the third row there are air speed controls with on/off for the third-row passenger and this can be controlled from the front of the vehicle also.
The Sorento GT-Line hybrid has a powered tailgate with open/close from the boot lid open button located under the Sorento badge, key fob and button in cabin. With the third row seats in place there would just be enough room for school bags. Annoyingly though the cargo cover is stored on top of the boot floor, with a dedicated spot to hold it in place, so it takes up some room. The 50:50 split fold third row seats are manually raised/lowered by pulling the strap on the back of the seats. With third row seats laid flat there is plenty of room for a pram and the weekly shop and for even more room the second row seats can also be lowered using a button in the boot to create a large almost flat storage space and when no longer required the second row seats can be manually raised back up. The boot has four plastic tie down points, two hooks, one light and one 12V outlet and there are hooks to keep the third row seat belts held back. A full size spare tyre located under the rear of the vehicle and the Sorento GT-Line hybrid has a maximum 1,650kg braked towing capacity with a maximum towball download of 100kg.
All new 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. For the Sorento Hybrid, service intervals are once a year or 10,000km, whichever comes first, and the total service costs for the first seven services is at capped at $4,393.
The excellent 2022 sales figures for the Sorento have been achieved despite supply issues. Kia Australia have stated “Supply of Sorento internal combustion engine models is showing improvement however, HEV and PHEV are in short supply due to global demand. As a result, these Hybrid variants are currently unavailable for order to focus on fulfilling existing backorders.” Prices for the Sorento HEV GT-Line AWD start at $69,750 excluding on-road costs and as tested with optional Premium Paint ($695) this Mineral Blue Sorento was $70,455 excluding on-roads. Visit your preferred Kia dealer for more information.
|Efficient hybrid engine||Currently unavailable to purchase in Australia|
|Five child seat anchorage points||No temp control for second/third row climate|
|Quiet cooling in front seats||No floor mats|
Photographs by Driven Women Magazine.