The 2015 Kia Sorento has already managed some mighty impressive scores in reviews here at CarAdvice, so we thought we should get one to spend some quality time in.
As such, we’ve recently taken delivery of a 2015 Kia Sorento SLi diesel, a model that could be the pick of the range for those looking for a good balance between luxury fittings and an affordable price tag.
The mid-range diesel model kicks off at $49,490 plus on-road costs, and it comes pretty handsomely equipped for the cash.
Indeed, all Sorentos are well-specced, as no matter which model you choose, you get a six-speed automatic, reverse-view camera, touchscreen media system and satellite navigation. Yep, even the base model at $40,990 has all that – and seven seats, too.
Highlights for the SLi include 18-inch alloy wheels with a full-size alloy spare, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, leather interior trim, eight-way electric seat for the driver, and push-button start with smart key. There's also a 10-speaker Infinity stereo system to keep everyone quiet ... er, entertained.
Read the full pricing and specifications story for the 2015 Kia Sorento here.
There is a petrol version of the SLi, which has a 3.3-litre V6 petrol engine, but it is available only with front-wheel drive.
As such, we’ve decided to get the more adventure-friendly diesel all-wheel-drive option, because, well, who knows? Someone in the CarAdvice office might follow the lead of many of those family buyers who opt for the AWD model on the off chance they may, one day, go camping or soft-roading. It’s our intention to do that at some point over the coming months that we have the Sorento.
Now, down to business.
The 2.2-litre four-cylinder turbo diesel engine produces 147kW of power and 441Nm of torque, and fuel use for this seven-seat family bus is rated at 7.8 litres per 100 kilometres.
It’s the same engine as the previous-generation Sorento, although the slight power and torque increases could be negated due to the fact it is longer, wider and a bit heavier than it used to be.
Our first couple of days driving the Sorento have left us thinking it remains one of the better diesel drivetrains out there, but there’s no doubting it is a lot less intrusive than in the old model – there’s less rumble, rattle and noise intrusion in the cabin.
The cabin itself is a marked improvement on the model that came before it, particularly in the third row.
In the previous model, climbing in and out of the back seats was a bit of an annoyance, but this time around the second row slides fore and aft, to enable bigger kids or adults to get in without quite as much contortionism as in the old model, which had just a flip-down mechanism on one side of the car due to the seat layout.
The old car also had 60:40 split fold seats, where the new model has 40:20:40 folding chairs for better flexibility. And there are levers in the boot to fold down the second row seats, which makes loading big items even easier.
The boot itself is bigger than before – there are now 605 litres of space with the five-seat layout chosen, and with all rear seats flat the capacity is 1662L. That should be pretty handy for camping gear, shopping bags, prams or pushbikes, and there's an electronic boot lid, too.
The third-row space is not as cramped as before, and youngsters will be mostly happy back there except for, perhaps, a slight lack of vision outwards, particularly if they’re littlies. Adults can fit, and while room may be at a premium, forward visibility for those passengers will be slightly better.
The second row is spacious enough for three adults to slide in, too, and there are vents for the second and third rows, and the rearmost row even gets its own fan control. The second row gets a USB input and a 12-volt point, as is the case up front.
Up front the ambience is somewhat understated. You need to step up to the Platinum model for digital climate control, for instance, where the SLi has dials for its temperature management; and the new media system may take a little more learning than the simple and smart looking version seen in higher-spec versions of the old Sorento.
But as with the previous model the new Sorento has excellent in-cabin storage, with large door pockets, a good-sized centre console and a pair of bottle-/cup-holders between the front and rear seats (the back pair in the fold-down arm-rest). And in this new Sorento, the digital dashboard includes an easy-to-read digital speedometer.
So, first impressions are that this is more of a ‘proper’ seven-seat family SUV than it used to be, and the crew in the office has already crammed it full of people on a few lunch runs.
We look forward to seeing how it fares over the next few months as part of the CarAdvice family.
Kia Sorento SLi diesel
Date acquired – September 2015
Odometer reading – 2.980 km
Travel since previous update – N/A
Consumption since previous update – N/A
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