MOST 7-seaters are seldom ever comfortable throughout the cabin.
Unless you’re willing to roll out a mini bus, you’ll wind up with squished folks in the back. And not to forget there will be scant boot space.
But take away the need for 7 seats, and many opportunities open up.
The Kia Sorento certainly has physical bulky presence.
This Korean 7-seater is a big fella, especially in the pachyderm grey that the test drive unit was painted in.
Largely flat sides with minimal contours and an even smoother bonnet were only saved by a grille with some character and GT Line trimmings like fog lamps (which are pointless here, unless the weather change flies off the rails).
The largeness on the exterior is matched by a sense of space within. But when you pop seven into the SUV, it does feel cramped.
In the front, the quilted electric armchair seats are accommodating, and the cooling function is appreciated when the SUV is left in the sun.
Clambering in, you get a sense of Korean technology mixing it up with European styling.
The end result is a bit of fancy with some old-fashioned touches.
For instance, the largish panel display is filled with all the information you would expect in a contemporary car, but an unnecessary border gives it a dated profile.
A lot of cars these days are built around connectivity to provide for the need to seamlessly function in the office and on the road. Those invasive mobile devices!
In the Sorento, the media connector was a bit iffy, with the Apple CarPlay not responding to the iPhone SE. Maybe it works for others. You’ll have to find out. Bluetooth connectivity was not ideal either, and when the cable was plugged in, the sensitive unit would switch between the phone and the radio each time you touched the cable.
On the move, the Sorento delivers a steadfast ride in most modes. It can be a bit of a plod, until you switch the new 8-speed transmission to Sport, when it comes alive and puts a bit more energy into the effort.
Once in Sport, the size of the Sorento seems to become less of an issue. Handling is sharper and the engine more responsive. All-wheel drive gives it a bit more of a determined grip as it scampers around corners on 19″ wheels.
There is a Smart mode to help you manage your fuel efficiency, and does a reasonable job in city driving. But it’s still a nicer drive in Sport.
This is a big car, and for those who feel that all the beeping and visual aids will not help get the SUV into a parking lot, it comes with Smart Parking Assist System (SPAS) to get you into a parallel or perpendicular lot. There are conditions to this, and given the size of our parking lots and the size of the Sorento, you could be driving around the car park searching a fair bit.
At the end of the drive, you engage Park and the doors unlock. Not something you’d necessarily want in a dodgy neighbourhood.
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KIA SORENTO GT LINE 2.2L DIESEL AWD TECH SPECS
Engine: R VGT Diesel
Max Power: 147kW@3,800rpm
Max Torque: 441Nm@1,750rpm
Transmission: 8-speed automatic
VES Banding: C1
0-100kmh: 9.3 seconds
Top Speed: 203kmh
Retail price: *$167,999
Please reconfirm price with dealer.
Read more STORM car reviews HERE.