OVER the past few years models like the Sportage and the Ceed have raised Kia's profile and reputation.
Long gone are the days when it was the purveyor of bargain basement motors - instead it now offers good quality cars that are still keenly priced with an excellent seven-year 100,000-mile warranty and lots of goodies thrown in.
So when it comes to the recently launched third generation of the Kia Sorento, we shouldn't be surprised that the Korean car manufacturer is confident enough in its own ability to offer a version of its flagship model that is priced in excess of Â£40,000.
The GT-Line S is the Sorento to achieve this heady height offering good looks and a dazzling array of hi-tech goodies that would incur a far higher price-tag if it was made by one of Kia's European competitors.
Personally it had me from the moment I cast my eyes on the ice cube design fog lights at the front and the panoramic sunroof.
Opening the powered bootlid reveals another moment of wonder. In the time it takes to say Captain Caveman you go from a boot offering just 142 litres of space, with all seven seats in place, to a decent-sized auditorium boasting 660 litres before opening up a 1,732-litre cavern as the third and second row of seats fold without fuss into the floor. All achieved without you having to leave the rear of the car.
The latest version of the Sorento relies on evolution rather than revolution when it comes to exterior looks but it is longer and wider than before so doesn't lack for road presence. The snazzy headlamps, silver skid plate and imposing grille are complemented by silver roof rails, 19-inch alloy wheels and, at the rear, a natty roof spoiler, LED lights and a GT-Line badge. Suffice to say it more than does the price-tag justice as does an interior high on quality.
The roomy cabin is a pleasant place to spend time with comfortable and supportive black leather seats featuring light grey stitching while the silver trimmed binnacle houses an eight-inch infotainment screen giving access to the audio and sat nav systems.
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are also in play allowing your smartphone to join the party while a 10-speaker Harmon Kardon sound system gives the Bluetooth music streaming system the perfect conduit to reach your ears.
The GT-Line S doesn't stop there though as you also benefit from a smart park assist system, powered tailgate, heated steering wheel and wireless mobile phone charging.
A large central speedometer dominates the instrument dials and in the middle there is another display that offers information like current fuel economy.
This moves us neatly on the Sorento's one source of power, a 197bhp, 2.2-diesel engine, linked here to a smooth eight-speed automatic gearbox, that propels this big SUV from 0-62mph in a shade over nine seconds on its way to a top speed of 127mph.
It is quite a frugal beast with a claimed average fuel economy figure of 46.3mpg - coming in at a shade over 35mpg in a week of mixed motoring - and carbon dioxide emissions of 161g/km.
It boasts decent off-road credentials with four-wheel drive and a locking differential equipping it for the rough stuff, while four different driving modes - Comfort, Eco, Sport and Smart - modify the gear changes and alter the handling and steering responses to suit when on the black stuff.
With its emphasis on family motoring it is no surprise to see the Sorento loaded with a raft of clever electronics designed to keep you out of trouble, plus a plethora of features to protect you and yours should an accident occur.