Last updated on November 15th, 2015 at 12:07 pm

2015 KIA Sorento Review

Mid March 2015 has brought the launch of the all-new Kia Sorento. After a solid previous outting we expected good things from the latest model as we popped over to Marbella to put the new Kia Sorento through its paces. Read on for our full Kia Sorento Review.

Gone are the days where 4×4’s were bought only for practical purposes, you don’t have to spend most of your life off-road or have to frequently pull Citroen Saxos out of country fords to own an SUV. The 4×4 is as commonly seen in the school car park as it is seen off-road in the modern world. This leaves car manufactures with the task of either sticking to the off-road practicality and towing capabilities, or going with the more stylish road-friendly will-probably-never-see-off-road approach when designing and producing their cars. Well, Kia claim to have met this decision slap bang in the middle, catering for both, putting themselves in the same category as brands such as Jeep, Toyota and of course Range Rover.

So what are we dealing with? The 2015 Kia Sorento is the third generation Sorento and is Kia’s flagship model for their UK market. We got our hands on the 2.2 litre Turbo-Diesel that comes with either a six-speed manual or auto-gearbox and seven seats. The 2015 Sorento is Kia’s first step in the attempt to transform their brand away from the value-offering that they are often tarnished with and closer towards a more luxury car choice. It’s got 197 bhp, does 0-60 in 9.0 seconds (that’s in the manual, 9.6 in the auto, factors that aren’t really that important to the standard SUV owner..) and an average economy of somewhere in-between 42 and 49 mpg.

The Sorento has seen 3 models, the first in 2002, the second in 2009 and now the all-new 2015 model. So, what’s different? Well, there was certainly a lot of room for improvement, and improvement really is the magic word on the new 2015 Kia Sorento. To sum it up, Kia are upping their game. They are looking to make big noises in the market and we were keen to find out how loud they could really shout with the new Sorento. Boasting to be better equipped, more stylish, refined and technologically advanced than ever before, we headed out to the mountain range of Marbella, Spain to try it out.

2015 Kia SORENTO

2009 Sorento vs. 2015 Sorento

Time to go through the new model checklist. Longer? Check. A whole 95mm. Lower? Check. 15mm lower in fact. Wider? Check. Alongside these size changes is an 80mm increase in the wheelbase. Sarcasm aside, it doesn’t sound like a lot, but the combination of all of these size increases is distinctly noticeable in the cabin. With masculinity and sleekness in mind, the 2015 Sorento boasts quite an aesthetic and stylistic upgrade to its predecessor.

Kia Sorento Design

The main focus for Kia with this model was to make it sleeker, more luxurious and for it to have an instantly more premium feel. It’s safe to say that they have achieved their aspirations. Until now Kia’s had the aesthetic that matched their reputation as a value car manufacturer, but with a few changes in staff high up the chain, design is where they have started on their path to brand transformation. It’s a definite improvement on the previous models and Kia have harnessed the good, customer valued parts the 2002 and 2009 models had and have given them a 2015 twist. The LED lights, door framing, rear spoiler, curves in all of the right places and shark-fin antenna help give the car a real presence on the road, giving it it’s own undeniable identity. In my opinion that’s the first step towards going from value to premium, making the car stand out and making people actually want to drive it.

A fair amount of effort has gone into the doorframes, rear shoulders, wrap-around lights and grille. It’s very apparent that once they decided on the size increase, the designers then had to put their heads together to figure out all of the ways to hit the stylish aesthetic they wanted whilst battling the size change. But fair play to them, they have achieved their goals and have created quite an attractive little (or more so, big) car. The new profile does give the feel of a sporty SUV whilst at the same time does a pretty decent job of hiding the size increase.

2015 Kia SORENTO

New Kia Sorento Road Test

Steering and fuel economy were two heavily criticized points on the previous 2009 model and Kia have done well to improve on both. One of the first things you notice when driving the new Sorento is how incredibly smooth it feels, even at high speeds. The car feels like a solid unit and driving it is a thing of ease. Any SUV, aside from any off-road, towing capabilities needs to be two things: Comfortable over long distances, and easy to drive, and the new Sorento hits the nail on the head with both. There are two features that Kia have added to this model that go a long way to make the driving experience more enjoyable. Firstly, the improvements from re-engineering the chassis to make the car more stable, alongside big strides in enhancing the self-levelling suspension have made this SUV as smooth as velvet on the road. Secondly, Kia have doubled the amount of under body shielding meaning that not only is the drive super smooth and responsive, it’s all pretty darn quiet. But don’t get me wrong, the Sorento still knows how to have fun, with its surprisingly good acceleration and glue like traction, driving at high speeds and around tight corners still comes with a good amount of enjoyment.

Kia Sorento Interior

Oh wow…were the first words that came out of my mouth when entering the cabin. If they haven’t done enough to reach their premium goals on the outside, they certainly have on the inside. Immediately you are met with a far more sophisticated and stylish interior. Leather seats and trimming, glossy panels and so on give you the impression that you are in something closer to a Lexus SUV rather than a Kia. However, immediately is the key word in that last sentence.

On first impression everything looks great and mostly it stays that way. It’s only when you start poking about with the dashboard and central column that things seem to sway slightly more towards the value end of things as opposed to the premium. Mostly they have it spot on, and it does have a far more premium look, it’s just a shame that some of the interior bodywork lets that facade down a touch with the use of slightly cheaper materials. Having said that, it’s still a massive leap in the right direction and a huge improvement on previous Kia models so we can’t be too harsh.

Seven seater cars are always going to have a lot of space and naturally with the size difference between the 2009 and 2015 Sorento.. bigger car, more capacity. 142 litres in fact, when all seats are being used, 605 when the last set of seats are folded down and up to 1,662 litres when using only the front two seats. That’s a 90-litre increase on the previous model. Bravo.

2015 Kia SORENTO

2015 Kia Sorento Technology

Technology wise, the 2015 Kia Sorento boasts most mod cons. Bluetooth, USB connection, digital radio, reversing censors, adaptive cruise control and so on, are all as standard with the base model. Step up to the KX-2, 3 and 4 and you get a few more additions in your box of technological tricks. A 360 degree view monitor, smart parking assist, similar to that seen in the Ford Focus (a first for Kia), blind spot detection, rear cross traffic alert to stop you reversing into moving traffic, a lane departure warning system, an infinity premium sound system, touchscreen media centre and navigation, and a smart entry and start/stop system to name just a few. A fair amount more than what comes with the basic KX-1 trim choice. A few of those features are available on the models in between, but the majority of new technologies, especially the safety features, are only available in top range KX-4 trim.

2015 Kia SORENTO

2015 Kia Sorento Review Conclusion

Overall, there’s a lot to be impressed by. They’ve massively improved on the previous models, they are hitting their aspirations of being known as a more premium and less value brand, and the car drives brilliantly. There’s little to fault and even less to differentiate with the bigger players in the market. In terms of ride quality, aesthetics and capabilities there isn’t much that the Kia doesn’t offer that a Lexus or Toyota for example could. It’s reasonably priced, perhaps you could argue the jump in price between models is more than expected, but the added technology and luxuries, in my opinion, are well worth the increase. I think that anyone who knows the market and knows what they are looking for would choose other options away from Kia for the badge or history. But everyone has to start somewhere and for anyone that isn’t going to be swayed by luxury brands or badge interest, the 2015 Kia Sorento is a very viable and smart option.

Kia Sorento Price

Prices start OTR at £28,795 for the basic manual, KX-1 model and go up to £40,995 for the KX-4 auto model. The 2015 Kia Sorento will be available April 2015.

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