We now draw the curtains on our time with the 2019 Kia Sorento GT-Line after a few months of long-term testing. It's been passed around to a few in the CarAdvice office, and you can get their thoughts in the video attached to this story. Plus, you can also read on...
In our time, it’s proven to be every bit the practical and pragmatic family hauler we thought it was, especially on the inside.
Let's start with the interior, arguably the most important element of a family SUV. The Sorento's seats are comfortable, although the leather that Kia uses doesn’t feel particularly soft or luxurious.
On the plus side, they feel hard-wearing and wipe down well against the grime and gunk of daily family life. The same goes for most materials used around the cabin. The addition of stitching, piping and perforations does help the premium feel of the cabin.
A premium take on practical – that’s the overall vibe of the Sorento’s interior. There are nicer examples out there to look at, touch and sit in (I’m looking at you Santa Fe and CX-9), but the Sorento feels best suited to a family food fight, and will come out still looking respectable after a clean-out.
The soft-touch dashboard material is non-marking and hardy, bearing a striking resemblance to soft-fall rubber from your local playground.
The second row is comfortable and plenty spacious, with enough room for rearward-facing baby seats, or long-limbed adults in either the first and second row. And if you need more or less space here, slide the second row fore or aft to suit your needs. For power, there is a 12V socket and USB point to fight over.
The third row is surprisingly spacious, as well, as long as you’ve scuppered some space from the second row.
With the third row folded into the floor, 605L of storage space avails itself. With the third row up, the size shrinks to a still-useful 142L.
The Sorento’s driving characteristics have proven to be easy to live with over the long term. It doesn’t feel big, tall or cumbersome, driving mostly just like a big car. Visibility is good, the 360-degree camera system is great, and the turning circle (11.4m) is good enough for most carparks and U-turns.
While you can also get a 3.5-litre petrol V6 that powers the front wheels, we have the more expensive 2.2-litre turbo-diesel option, which runs as an all-wheel drive. It’s a less powerful option, although a meaty slab of mid-range torque makes it move along promptly enough.
It’s a more efficient option, as well. The combined figure quoted by the manufacturer is 7.2 litres per 100km, although our average was closer to 9.0L/100km overall. Not too bad considering 9.2L/100km is the quoted figure for urban driving.
The diesel engine is a decent performer, as well. Ride that peak torque band between 1750–2750rpm, and you’ll find unhurried go-forward for your everyday driving. Ask more, and the engine will rattle its best impression of 147kW at 3800rpm. It’s not outright unrefined, but it’s not exactly enjoyable at the same time. Stick to the simmering cruise and the Sorento is a smooth cruiser.
There is a pricing premium to swallow with this diesel all-wheel-drive variant: $59,690 (+ORCs) being the most you can spend on a Sorento specification. When compared to other top-spec options, the Sorento does come in the fight with value on its side, especially with the current $62,190 drive-away deal.
And when you peruse the spec sheet, it’s not lacking in appointments. Heated and vented electric leather front seats, sunroof, a good 360-degree camera system, and all of the right boxes ticked with infotainment and active safety. There isn’t really a big, problematic hole to point your finger at.
Throw the seven-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty on top of that, and you can see why the Sorento is a firm favourite: the value proposition is hard to go past.
Beyond the value proposition, the important basics are nailed well in the Sorento: space, comfort and easy drivability. The forgettable interior design feels staid compared to some others, but if that’s the worst criticism you can level at a vehicle, then it’s probably pretty good.
As much as we like the GT-Line, smart money would also have a close look at the SLi specification, which still has a lot of standard specification, but comes in at $8500 cheaper.
For those who want it all, however, the GT-Line Sorento is a good overall package. It does lack the design flair of some competition, but it has an accurate pragmatism in its execution that makes it difficult to really criticise.
With no big chinks in the armour, this Sorento is definitely one to put on the shopping list as a large family SUV.
MORE: Long-term report one: Introduction
MORE: Long-term report two: Interior space and comfort
MORE: Long-term report three: Infotainment and technology
MORE: Long-term report four: City driving
MORE: Long-term report five: Highway driving
MORE: Sorento news, reviews, comparisons and videos
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