Sorento is the largest of Kia’s SUVs and the only large, mainstream SUV to offer
three different drivetrains — petrol, diesel and petrol-electric hybrid (as well as plug-in

Now in its fourth generation, it comes in four grades, but if you want a hybrid — and
who doesn’t these days — the choice is GT-Line or GT-Line.

You can however save yourself a bit of money by getting the front-drive version,
instead of all-wheel drive.

Design elements from other models include a new ‘shark fin’ element on its rear C-
pillar, and sculpted body surfaces with sharp creases.

Designers sought to maintain the tough look of earlier generations, but have refined
the design to make it sportier and more refined.

The upmarket cabin introduces sophisticated next-gen design and in GT-Line this is
based around twin digital displays.

Focal point of the dashboard is the eye-catching ventilation stack that echoes the
shape of TIE fighters from Star Wars. A large 10.25-inch touchscreen is partnered by
a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster with different themes for the various drive

The screen can be split in two for easy access to applications, vehicle information
and multimedia content.

Prices for Sorento start from $50,790 driveaway for the base model, petrol-powered
front-wheel drive S.

Comparing apples with apples, GT-Line petrol is $65,990, AWD GT-Line diesel is
$68,990 (+$3000), AWD GT-Line Hybrid is $75,543 (+$6553) and the AWD plug-in
hybrid GT-Line is $87,349 (+$11,806) — all prices driveaway.

Note however that the petrol model is not available with all-wheel drive.
Any colour apart from Clear White adds $695 to the price.

Highlights includes Nappa quilted leather, two-zone climate air, heated steering
wheel, heated, cooled and power-adjust driver and front seats, with heated, slide and
recline rear seats.

There’s also key fob parking, auto cruise control, auto high beam, 10.25-inch
touchscreen, 12.3-inch digital instrument panel, 8.0-inch head-up display, keyless
entry and start, LED headlights, ambient interior lighting, panoramic sunroof and
power-operated tailgate.

GT-Line also comes with a colour head-up display that projects driving information
onto the lower area of the windscreen.

The system displays alerts from the car’s numerous driver assistance technologies,
details of vehicle speed and turn-by-turn navigation instructions.

Rounding out the list is Mood Lighting, with seven ‘core’ colours and a driver to
passenger intercom system.

Infotainment comes from premium Bose 12-speaker audio, with eight speakers, two
tweeters, a centre speaker and subwoofer powered by an external amplifier.

There’s satellite navigation, DAB+ digital radio, AM/FM radio, Bluetooth and wired
Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, with wireless phone charging and USB ports for each
seat – three in the front console, two behind first row seats, one behind centre
console and two in the cargo area.

The self-charging hybrid system consists of a 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine
with 132kW and 265Nm, together with an electric motor that produces 44kW and

Combined output of both engines (it’s not just a total of both) is 169kW of power and
350Nm of torque.

Mated to a six-speed automatic, the hybrid is available in front and all-wheel drive,
with the front-wheel drive model a saving of $3000.

Sorento scores a five-star safety rating, with seven airbags, 360-degree camera and
Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) technology that detects pedestrians, cyclists
and vehicles. It also detects oncoming traffic when making a turn at a junction.

Kia’s ‘level two’ autonomous driving technology, Lane Following Assist (LFA),
controls acceleration, braking and steering, depending on vehicles in front.

It operates from 0-180km/h, using camera and radar sensors to maintain a safe
distance from the car in front, while monitoring road markings to keep the vehicle in
the centre of its lane.

There’s also Rear-View Monitor (RVM) with Reverse Parking Collision-Avoidance
Assist (PCA), and Rear Cross-traffic Collision-avoidance Assist (RCCA).

But, as we have pointed out before, the further back in the car that you are seated,
the less protection you’re offered in terms of airbags.

Second row passengers miss out on side airbags, while the third row misses out on
both side and curtain airbag protection.

Go figure?

Energy for the electric motor is stored in a high voltage 1kWh lithium-ion polymer
battery located under the second-row seats.

The electric motor works in ‘parallel’ with the petrol engine to beef up output and
provide support as necessary.

It is recharged from energy reclaimed during braking on downhill runs, with a dial
that displays when it recharging. Fuel consumption for the front wheel drive is
5.3L/100km or 5.8L/100km for the all-wheel drive version.

The diesel in case you’re wondering gets 6.1L/100km.

The catch is that the hybrid is available only in top spec GT-Line form with all the
bells and whistles

Although the new model is only 10mm longer at 4810mm, the wheelbase has grown
by 35mm which means more room inside than before.

It’s also 10mm wider and has 32 per cent more cargo space, with all seven seats

The boot is largish and hides a full-size alloy spare, with 1996/608/179 litres capacity
in two-, five- and seven-seat mode.

As well as the usual Eco, Sport and Smart options, all-terrain mode features dial-up
Mud, Snow and Sand settings.
The default is Eco mode, the mode of last resort.

Normally a Kia defaults to Smart (not sure why this is apart from the obvious desire
to reduce fuel consumption).

Getting into the car for the first time after driving a smaller, electric SUV, Sorento
feels large and unwieldy. But this feeling soon dissipates, thanks to steering that is
light and responsive.

Until now, turbodiesel with its low-end grunt has been the choice for a big bus like
this, especially a full one. But diesel’s days are numbered, as you are probably

While the hybrid does the job, however, it lacks the big kick you get from a diesel or
petrol V6 when you punch the accelerator.
Most of the time some spool up is required before the turbo boost kicks in, disguised
somewhat by the torque of the electric motor.

Performance is best described as okay but not inspiring.

Under full load the hybrid feels unconvincing, like the small four that it actually is,
trying its best to move a big diesel body.

Here it is perhaps timely to mention the tow rating which is a rather underdone

Then again, the V6 or diesel is only good for 2000kg with brakes.

Sorento is covered by the 7-Year unlimited kilometre warranty, 7-year capped price
service and 7-year roadside assist.

Kia’s hybrid Sorento is an exceedingly well rounded motor car. Big, classy and well
equipped, with seating for seven, it consumes little fuel and that’s the name of the
game these days.

Right now, it feels like the right car for the right time — a perfect partner for a smaller,
fully-electric city run-around for the commute to work.

Having said that, it’s probably worth having a look at the Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid
which has just been released at a similar price.

Looks: 8.5/10
Performance: 7/10
Safety: 7.5/10
Thirst: 7.5/10
Practicality: 7.5
Comfort: 7.5/10
Tech: 8.5/10
Value: 7/10
Overall: 7.6/10

Sorento Petrol FWD S, $47,650
Sorento Petrol FWD Sport, $50,270
Sorento Petrol FWD Sport +, $54,850
Sorento Petrol FWD GT-Line, $62,070
Sorento Diesel AWD S, $50,650
Sorento Diesel AWD Sport, $53,270
Sorento Diesel AWD Sport +, $57,850
Sorento Diesel AWD GT-Line, $65,070
Sorento HEV FWD GT-Line, $66,750
Sorento HEV AWD GT-Line, $69,750
Sorento PHEV AWD GT-Line, $80,330
Note: This price does not include government or dealer delivery charges. Contact
your local Kia dealer for drive-away prices.

SPECIFICATIONS (Kia Sorento HEV GT-Line, 1.6 turbo petrol with mild hybrid, 6sp
automatic, AWD)

Capacity: 1.6 litres / 1.0 kWh
Configuration: Four cylinders in line, parallel hybrid
Combined Maximum Power: 169 kW
Combined Maximum Torque: 350 Nm
Fuel Type: 91 RON unleaded petrol
Combined Fuel Cycle (ADR 81/02): 5.8 L/100km
CO2 Emissions: 133 g/km

DRIVELINE: Six-speed automatic, all-wheel drive

Length: 4810 mm
Wheelbase: 2815 mm
Width: 1900 mm
Height: 1700 mm
Turning Circle: 11.6 m
Kerb Mass: 1948 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 67 litres

Front: 325mm ventilated disc
Rear: 325 mm ventilated disc

Seven years / unlimited kilometres

About Chris Riley

Chris Riley has been a journalist for 40 years. He has spent half of his career as a writer, editor and production editor in newspapers, the rest of the time driving and writing about cars both in print and online. His love affair with cars began as a teenager with the purchase of an old VW Beetle, followed by another Beetle and a string of other cars on which he has wasted too much time and money. A self-confessed geek, he’s not afraid to ask the hard questions - at the risk of sounding silly.
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