I have seen a few young people write reviews and have seen such positive comments that I thought I would write my own!
I am a 17-year-old Learner driver, and this is my mum’s car. It has done about 18,000km in nine or so months, and I have put on approximately 8000km. (I love driving!)
To get started, we were looking for an SUV as it feels safer having a bigger/taller car as we live in the country, and there is a lot of wildlife and farm animals around. AWD was a must as well as diesel (we do about 25,000km a year). We were looking to upgrade from our Toyota RAV4 (which is now mine!), and were looking for a seven-seater, although it wasn’t a necessity.
We looked at many cars, such as the Nissan Pathfinder, as we had that as a hire car for a month and it was a great car. But it only comes with the 3.5 V6 petrol, and the Toyota Fortuner we looked at as well, we just couldn’t fathom the horrific brown leather seats.
As we were walking through the dealerships, I kept telling mum to look at the Kia as it was very nice looking. We ended up purchasing a Snow White Pearl Kia Sorento Platinum AWD with the two tone leather seats, optioned with floor mats, bonnet protector and tow bar, paint protection and tinted windows (front only as rear were standard).
This review is the MY16 Sorento, which doesn’t have AEB, but as far as I know has now been included on the MY17 range. Dammit, should’ve waited that little bit longer!
The main reason we bought the Sorento was because it ticked every box for us. Diesel, two-tonne towing, seven-seater, seven-year warranty, five-star ANCAP safety rating, nice looking and functional.
We bought the Platinum version for the active safety such as the smart (adaptive) cruise control, which I think every car should have because it is the most useful feature on the car, blind-spot monitoring, lane departure warning and rear cross-traffic alert.
The Platinum is also loaded with ‘niceties’ such as heated and cooled front seats, heated leather steering wheel and heated rear seats and a HUGE panoramic sunroof as Mum has never had one on a car before, and thought it would be cool!
And the automatic boot, although it sounded incredibly useless when we first heard of it, it’s awesome that you can just walk up to the back of the car and the boot opens automatically!
The Adaptive Xenon headlight system with the DRL works very well and makes the car look more upmarket, but often at night people mistake them for the high beams and flash asking to change them down. Another thing is there are air vents in the second and third row, which our RAV4 didn’t have.
Now with the engine, transmission and drivetrain. It’s a 2.2-litre four-cylinder turbo diesel, which puts out 147kW at 3800rpm and 441Nm of torque starting from 1750rpm. It’s very smooth, and it gets up and goes when you need it, and it is mated to a six-speed auto.
The engine and transmission combination is awesome, and I much prefer driving the Sorento over dad’s 3.2-litre, five-cylinder Ford Ranger. The gearing ratio is nicer in the Sorento and they both put out the same amount of power (147Kw), and it is only down 29Nm of torque (the Ranger has 470Nm), which I find isn’t that noticeable.
Never have I had a situation where I thought there is not enough power. Overtaking is a breeze, and I am not worried even as a Learner (I’m talking about overtaking a truck on a single lane road, not on the freeway!).
The torque is very usable and readily available at such a low revs. Our car is always set in Eco mode, and it averages 7.4L/100km which is under the claimed 7.8L/100km which is amazing, especially for a two-tonne, seven-seater.
The AWD system works very well, and there have been situations where I have quickly put my foot down around a corner, and you can feel the AWD system kicking in and keeping traction. We needed AWD as mum’s commute to work is 50 per cent dirt roads, and it feels safer with an AWD car.
The ride is extremely comfortable, even on the 19-inch wheels that come with the Platinum. Immediately from when we drove it away from the dealership, you could tell Kia had adapted the suspension for the rougher roads of Australia.
There’s this one massive pothole in Bulla that I always had to change lanes to avoid as in the RAV4 it would throw the whole car up, but on out way home from picking it up, mum ran over it because she was too excited and forgot about it, and it was hardly noticeable!
The seats are very comfortable, and with the heated seats, that little bit better! There is also no transmission tunnel in the back, so three adults can sit there comfortably. The third row is big enough for adults on short trips, but only if the second-row seats aren’t reclined all the way back. But the rear row is mainly aimed at children.
There have been no reliability issues (and I’d hope not with a brand new car!), apart from when we picked the car up the battery was flat.
There has been nothing replaced, apart from the logbook service. Also the car warns you on the 7.0-inch LCD instrument cluster if there is a problem with the car, such as washer fluid, and the tyre pressure monitoring system, as well as the servicing which is very necessary for us as we always forget to service our car on time! The service department was good, but it’s not like Ford where they wash your car, which would be nice as ours is always dusty!
I find getting into the third row is fine, but when you pull the latch to get the chair in the second row to move forward, it feel as if your breaking it. Would be nice if it was automatic, but its not major for us as we don’t really use the third row all that much.
The infotainment system is very simple and easy to use. It does everything you need, but just isn’t as nice as other brands such as Mazda’s. There are buttons on both sides of the screen, and you click on each one, as well as the touch screen for different radio stations and whatnot. It would’ve been nice if it had the same system as the Kia Sportage which has the CD player (the Sorento doesn’t have a CD player!?) and a more functional system. But everything on the radio works fine, such as the satellite navigation, and the rear-view camera is pretty clear. The 10-speaker Infinity sound system is a massive upgrade over the stock system in the RAV4; it’s very precise and crisp.
Overall the car is a great buy, especially seeing that it is similarly-priced to a base model BMW X1, and includes so many features, and has a very luxurious feel to it.
Sometimes we forget we are in a Kia, not an Audi, or BMW. In the Platinum spec it has everything most families need, plus a little bit more! It’s a very safe and practical car! We are very happy and we won’t be upgrading for a long time!
Thanks for reading!