A number of years ago in a previous role my company vehicle was the first generation Kia Sorento. Supplied by Newlands Cross based Michael Tynan Motors it was an automatic 2.5 litre GLS model, which at the time featured a full leather interior, and all wheel drive. Although slightly softly sprung through the corners the Kia never let me down and I had two years of pain free ownership and in a way I was sad to see it go. Today we find ourselves back in the Sorento and it’s interesting to see how things have changed. Now in its third generation the Sorento has moved with the times and become a striking purposeful vehicle that still represents value for money and that unrivaled 7 year warranty. The entry model EX is priced at €38,995 but Kia estimate the volume seller will be the Platinum priced at €43,995. The entry-level model is a 5 seater with a decent amount of spec to include 17-inch alloys, rear privacy glass, and a 7-inch Sat Nav with reversing camera. Stepping up to the Platinum edition you can expect seven seats with leather, a panoramic sunroof, Xenon lights, a heated steering wheel along with an electric driver’s seat. My test vehicle was the Platinum and the cabin looks modern and well appointed to say the least.
The first thing we noticed when we got in for a test drive was the amount of space. My generation one model whilst not small was far removed from this and in reading the specs it appears the Sorento has got longer, lower and wider over the years. It’s easy to tell the quality has jumped significantly in the materials used throughout with nice soft touch finishing’s and a truly de-cluttered dash with the centre screen doing the majority of the work. On startup I notice a significant drop in engine noise compared to Kia’s of past and gone is the old 2.5 in favour of a refined 2.2 197hp diesel powerplant. Producing just 149 g/km of CO2 emissions the new Sorento drops into Band C and can be taxed for just €390 which is very impressive. Engaging the lightweight clutch and selecting first we waft out of our test location Baberstown Castle with a 40-kilometer round trek programmed into the Sat Nav. It feels smooth, very smooth in fact and that’s comparing it to rivals of today and not the generation one model I have referred to several times throughout.
Although bigger on the road I anticipated the dreaded body roll through corners but Kia’s engineers have worked tirelessly to eliminate boat like movements with a heavily revised fully-independent suspension that uses MacPherson struts at the front and Kia’s multi-link system at the rear. At the back, the subframe supporting the suspension has now got larger bushings and larger shock absorbers mounted vertically behind the axle line, which vastly improve body control movement. Gone is the seasickness allowing you to push harder in a more controlled manner. Steering inputs feel more direct leaving the twisty B roads of Straffan thanks to a new electric motor-driven power steering system and it altogether feels like a well-planted vehicle. Half way through my test drive I pulled over for a coffee and admired the rear legroom. Yes you would need chicken legs to be comfortable in the third row but in the middle the seats offer ample space and like up front they are also heated. Safety was paramount also in the build and the Sorento recently achieved the maximum five-star crash safety rating by Euro NCAP thanks to an even stronger bodyshell and a wide array of passive and active safety equipment. On my return to Barberstown I thought back over the last decade and the progress this brand has made in Ireland. Right now they simply don’t make a bad car in my eyes and the Sorento is certainly the cream of the crop. With the 150,000km warranty, 3 years roadside assistance and a 12-month anti-perforation warranty its difficult not to consider one of these right now.
Engine Size – 2.2
Fuel Type – Diesel
Power – 197bhp
Torque – 421Nm
Acceleration (0-100km/h) – 9 seconds
Top Speed – 203km/h
Consumption (Combined) – 5.7L/100km
CO2 Emissions – 149g/km
Road Tax – Band C €390
Base Price – €38,995
Price as Tested – €43,995