This is a follow up of my earlier review here on CarAdvice. The previous review was submitted at the one-year mark. I have now owned my Kia Sorento for four years, and I would like to share my experiences over those years.
At the risk of repeating myself, we were looking for a family hauler at the end of 2014. We test drove all seven-seat SUVs on offer, and our shortlist consisted of Toyota Kluger and Kia Sorento. The Kluger was a petrol guzzler (and a little expensive for what it offered) and we settled on Kia Sorento Platinum (in runout at the time), which had a lot of extras and with a seven-year warranty. The features list is quite long, and again this is covered in my earlier review.
So how did the Sorento fare over four years of ownership? I would say extremely well. We live in North Queensland, on the east coast, and I had to do regular trips out west to Mount Isa, and it has been a pleasure covering the 900+ km in single days. Seats are comfortable (having ventilated seats helped :-) ). The 2.2-litre turbo-diesel engine producing 145kW and 436Nm has plenty of power and torque to push the Sorento along. Overtaking road trains was a breeze, and at no stage I was left wanting for more power.
Then came summer, and due to work we were in Mount Isa over the Christmas and New Year break (2018/19), but between my wife and I, we managed to get a week off work. Everyone said we were crazy... but we decided to head to Uluru, central Australia. Yes, you have heard that right, heading to the hottest part of Australia in the middle of peak summer!
So off we went - myself, wife and two kids, all their devices, a satellite phone and more gear than we ever would have needed. We took it easy and planned for three days' one-way trips - the first day covering about 700km from Mount Isa, across to Camooweal, crossing the border into NT, heading down south to Tennant Creek and staying at Devils Marbles.
The second day was shorter, only covering 400km driving south to Alice Springs, and the third day, going south and further west, across to Uluru (or Yulara township) - a distance of close to 600km. Then back the same way.
In hindsight, we could have done Mount Isa to Alice Springs in one day (130 km/h speed limit on Stuart highway really helps), but no real regrets as we were taking it easy with kids on board.
The whole trip was done in about eight days (and covered 3500km), with most days reaching 47-48 degrees Celsius. The Sorento held up very nicely - with the temperature gauge not budging even a little from its normal position.
Fully loaded, with the air conditioning turned up quite high, and a 130km/h speed limit on the Stuart highway, and the Sorento returned an impressive 7.3 L/100km. With a lighter load, and 110km/h speed limit, it usually returns a miserly 6.3L/100km - giving a 1000km range per tank. Try travelling that far in an electric car on a single charge!
If there is any criticism, I would say the turbo-diesel engine can be a little sluggish at low speeds (speeds of up to 60km/h). It’s almost as if it has a dual personality disorder - the same engine and drivetrain (which it shares with Santa Fe) is very smooth on highways (once it reaches above 80km/h).
After four years of ownership, and especially after thousands of km, often in extremely hot and dusty conditions in the outback, one thing is very clear - Sorento is very well put together, and all thoughts of Kia not being reliable have been unfounded.
There are Kia Sorentos in the used car markets (same year as mine) that have done 300,000km, and I also see a lot of older Sorentos around. Kia has indeed come a long way in the past few years, and it’s now time to leave any negative perceptions about the brand where it belongs - in the past.
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