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Kia Sorento 2.2 CRDi review (2010 onwards)
Model: Kia Sorento 2.2 CRDi
Bodystyle: five-door 4x4
Engine: 2.2-litre turbodiesel
Transmission: six-speed automatic, four-wheel drive
GALLERY: Kia Sorento
Compare the Sorento with rivals using Car Guide
What is it?
You want a luxury SUV but you don't have the budget for a Range Rover or BMW X5? Then Kia might have the car for you. The new Sorento, launched in February, is now less of a workhorse than before and instead takes budget 4x4s to a sophisticated new level.
This is a stylish, quality motor that combines its handsome looks with bundles of practicality. And there's the reassurance of a 100,000-mile, seven-year warranty.
Where does it fit?
The Sorento costs from £21,455 though to get into the top-spec diesel model you'll need to spend £29,520. That might sound like a lot, and compared to a Hyundai Santa-Fe it is, but you'd spend much more to get behind the wheel of something with a 'better' badge.
Other rivals include the Citroen C-Crosser, Chevrolet Captiva, Mitsubishi Outlander, Peugeot 4007 and Vauxhall Antara. The Outlander would be our pick from this lot.
Is it for you?
It's a car for all purposes, whether that's a growing family or happy campers who need to tow a caravan. And because it doesn't have a Lexus, BMW, Mercedes or Land Rover badge, it won't attract the same wanton hatred from other motorists and pedestrians, too.
What does it do well?
The new 2.2 turbodiesel engine is smaller than before but it doesn't lack any punch thanks to 194hp and 311 lb/ft of torque at 1,800rpm (almost as much as a BMW 325d). However, it quickly runs out of steam as the pulling muscle only lasts until 2,500rpm.
It's relatively quiet once on the move but at lower speeds it is growly, though the automatic gearbox slurs the changes between shifts for a relaxing drive. Wind and road noise is particularly refined for such a large motor.
The cabin is huge and can be chosen with the option of seven seats but the rear two won't fit adults comfortably if they're more than six foot, as we discovered. Otherwise, there's plenty of space for five passengers and their luggage and the top spec trim was bedecked in quality leather. At times you could be forgiven for thinking you're in a plush Merc were it not for the quality of some of the materials.
What doesn't it do well?
A car of this size is never going to offer the most exciting drive. Take a corner too quickly and the body leans over, while the steering is slow to respond to your inputs. However, there's plenty of grip from the four-wheel drive to keep you safe and sound.
We didn't find the suspension to be the most comfortable though, the larger alloys of our high-spec car causing it to jar and bump on the majority of surfaces. Stick with the smaller wheels would be our advice.
What's it like to live with?
The interior is elegant and modern but the plastics still feel too hard when the rest of the industry has adopted softer materials. It does feel well made though, with the switches and controls working with a solid precision.
It's a safe car too, the Sorento, scoring a full five stars in the recent EuroNCAP crash tests thanks to standard traction and stability control and a full plethora of airbags.
The cabin is versatile and the seats fold flat to create a huge boot area of 1,525 litres in capacity, though with all seven seats in use this drops to only 70 litres.
How green is it?
The automatic gearbox reduces the fuel economy from 42.2mpg to 38.2 but it's worth it for the relaxing driving experience. Carbon emissions for the auto are 194g/km versus 177g/km for the manual, so it won't make a massive difference to your tax bill if you're a company driver.
Would we buy it?
The Sorento is expensive and at this price we expected some of the cabin materials to be better, but it's still great value and the new 2.2 diesel engine is fantastic. It's incredibly practical as well, and can seat seven, plus that extensive warranty offers lasting peace of mind.
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