Jeremy There’s a crazy wind blowing across the Cotswolds today. The Sorento is a seriously large vehicle but it has coped well at high speeds in a crosswind and there’s limited tyres noise in the cabin.
The roads around Tetbury are packed with 4x4s because of Badminton Horse Trials – if you wanted to go off-road vehicle spotting, today is the day! I’ve just seen a Fiat Panda Sisley, a special edition AWD Panda that dates back to the 1980s and was legendary for its off-road ability.
The Sorento will be joining the pack tomorrow, when 120,000 spectators are expected at the event for the cross country section of the three-day event.
And we have one accessory in the Kia that many other more expensive four-wheel drives don’t have – a car parking pass.
Jeremy I’ll be trying to head off for the Cotswolds early today before the Bank Holiday rush. The Sorento is already fully loaded and by dropping the rear two rows of seats, there is a cavernous boot space.
That’s the good side of being a big car. The downside is that the Sorento isn’t that nimble on winding country backroads. It feels ponderous and fidgety. Stick it on a motorway, however, and it will shift you and your family comfortably.
The 194bhp engine has enough grunt to carry a full load, although I think I would have preferred my Sorento with the optional six-speed automatic gearbox because I’m still struggling for smooth gear changes with the manual. You have to work the engine hard to get any real performance, not helped by the clunky gearbox.
Still, for the price, the Sorento represents excellent value for money. The Kia is definitely the best of the bunch if you are after a budget SUV capable of seating seven. Only the Hyundai Santa Fe can offer serious rivalry.
Jeremy I have a friend who lives in splendid isolation, near Cordes-sur-Ciel, in France. She is spending her retirement camped by the swimming pool but earned part of her estate from dreaming up the advertising slogan ‘it does what it says on the tin’.
If Maddy was road testing the Sorento, that would probably have been her headline. It’s not the most remarkable 4×4 SUV but if you want a no-nonsense seven-seater for a modest price, look no further.
With England bathed in sunshine today, it’s not been hard to find excuses to get out of the office. I’ve dropped the back five seats of the Kia and been to the dump, picked up a lawn mower from the service garage and swotted up on the form for Badminton Horse Trials this weekend. It’s bound to rain…
The Sorento is going to come in handy, no doubt battling for a space in a muddy press car park with assorted Land Rovers and Range Rovers. We will be six-up with three dogs, so it should be a true test of the Sorento’s resolve!
Today I’ve struggled a little finding a good driving position in the Kia. I either feel too close to the pedals, or too far back, which results in me constantly crashing the gearbox because I’m depressing the clutch far enough. It’s happening so much I’m wondering if it’s my bodily proportions.
Otherwise, the leather seats in the KX-2 model are big and comfortable, like your favourite armchair. There are three proper seats in the middle row while the rear, fold-up pair are for little people only.
This model also lacks a sat nav as standard but the radio console is touchscreen and setting up Bluetooth for a mobile phone is the easiest system I have used to date.
Fingers crossed for good weather this weekend…
Jeremy The policeman at the end of my road has been nagging me for ages to get hold of the latest Sorento. He’s owned his for five years and has, frankly, been far more excited about CarCouture’s latest arrival than me.
Now the latest version has been sat on my driveway for 24 hours, I am starting to understand just what he is raving on about. The new Sorento may be slightly more expensive that the previous model but it is an awful lot of car for £27,000.
There aren’t many full-size, seven-seat off-roaders about for the price and with the latest Kia styling both inside and out, Sorento represents great value for money.
Sorento is built on the same platform as the Hyundai Santa Fe, which we tested last month. Apart from the same mechanics, the bodyshell design states these are two distinctly different cars.The Santa Fe has a more streamlined front end, thanks to the Sorento’s more prominent bumper and inset fog lights. Sorento has a prettier back end, while there is little to choose from a side profile.
The key thing is that the policeman is in love with our Sorento already. Let’s see what he thinks tomorrow after I take him out for a drive…