WITH enough space for seven people and all the on-board technology we crave for these days, the Kia Sorento is certainly worthy of its flagship status in the Korean car maker's line-up.
Despite its versatility and clever use of space, the Sorento maintains its classic good looks unlike some rival models that resemble bulky people movers.
The Sorento looks good from any angle thanks to its eye-catching profile, chequered grille, twin exhaust pipes, ‘ice cube' LED front fog lights, LED daytime running lights, stainless steel side steps, panoramic sunroof, 19-inch alloy wheels and red brake calipers.
Move inside and the spacious cabin has a premium feel to it with black leather upholstery and light grey stitching. The seats are power operated and can be heated or cooled, and rows two and three also get their own climate control.
Creature comforts are plentiful and include the likes of a heated steering wheel, a wireless mobile phone charger, smartphone connectivity via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a 10-speaker harmon kardon sound system, an eight-inch touchscreen with navigation system, smart park assist, Bluetooth with music streaming and lots more besides.
Our car was priced at £42,925, which is quite pricey for a Kia, but this is a car that can compete with high-end models from premium manufacturers and they would carry a much heftier price-tag.
The car was powered by a 2.2-litre diesel engine matched to an eight-speed automatic gearbox and it could sprint to 60mph from a standing start in 9.1 seconds, topping out at 127mph. According to official figures, it can deliver 37.7mpg (WLTP) on a combined run with carbon emissions of 161g/km. And, of course, it comes with Kia's excellent seven-year, 100,000-mile warranty.
With four-wheel drive as standard, the Sorento is a practical family car that is also ideal for towing a trailer or caravan weighing up to two tonnes. The interior is upmarket and there is ample space for a trio of adults in the second row.
The duo of third row seats are easily raised or lowered by pulling on a tethered strap and, when folded down, they are completely flat to the boot floor. The 60:40 split-folding second row seats can be lowered remotely thanks to levers in the boot which makes accessing the rear seats simpler.
Despite measuring 4.8 metres in length, the Sorento is nice and agile when faced with the open country road. The road holding is assured and there is ample feedback through the nicely weighted steering wheel.
The acceleration through the gears is smooth and there is a constant stream of power on tap from the punchy engine, which helps make light work of overtaking.
Noise levels do increase on fast-moving motorways with the diesel engine kicking out some volume, but that pitch perfect sound system easily addresses that issue.
The chunky grab handle gear lever is a neat touch and the driver can also select from drive modes called Eco, Sport, Smart and Comfort that alter the manner in which the car behaves. In addition, there are steering wheel mounted paddles for added driver engagement.
The driver benefits from an elevated seating position which results in great all-round visibility and the smart park assist system will help you identify a suitable space to squeeze into and assist with the actual parking too.
On the practicality front, the boot, which is power-operated, can accommodate from 142 litres of kit with all seven seats occupied, to 660 litres with the back row folded flat and finally up to 1,732 litres with rows two and three dropped down.
Elsewhere there is a lockable glovebox, cup holders, trays, deep door pockets with bottle sections, a central cubby box, nets in the seats backs and lots more convenient places to tuck away goodies.
The Sorento was awarded the maximum five stars when tested for its Euro NCAP safety rating and boasts a whole range of features to protect occupants, pedestrians and cyclists, as well as helping to prevent accidents happening in the first instance.
Features include high beam assist, blind spot detection, autonomous emergency braking, lane departure warning, rear cross traffic alert and a full suite of airbags.