Joel Helmes drives the entry-level 2015 Kia Sorento.
It has been quite a while since I have driven a vehicle that left me as satisfied as the 2015 Kia Sorento Si.
Kia has a real winner here in the new model of their seven-seat SUV and it’s my belief that this vehicle could go a long way to filling the void that will be left by the ultra-successful Ford Territory.
The Territory has won so many Australian buyers because it offers genuine seven-seat capacity and car-like driving dynamics. Exactly the same thing could be said about the all-new Kia Sorento.
Just like the Ford Territory, the Kia Sorento comes with a choice of either efficient turbo-diesel engine or thirstier six-cylinder petrol. As is the case with the Ford product I would strongly recommend that you pay the extra and opt for the diesel.
Kia Australia provided me with a V6 petrol Kia Sorento in base-model Si spec, an offering priced from $40,990. The 2.2 litre turbo-diesel variant adds 4×4 on-demand and is priced from $44,490.
Why is it worth paying the extra $3,500 for the diesel? Because I averaged over 13.0L/100km in my week of city/suburban driving in the V6-powered version. Grab a Sorento diesel and expect to use 25-30% less fuel.
The diesel version also offers a great driving range from a full tank – 910km, as opposed to the petrol versions 717km.
Both engines come standard with a six-speed automatic transmission and both variants in the Si grade come with the same standard features, including;
- 17” alloy wheels
- Tilt and reach steering adjustment
- Dual-zone climate control
- Rear climate control adjustment
- Reverse camera
- Electric parking brake
- Tyre pressure monitor
Not bad for a base-model vehicle is it? Fortunately the rest of the new Kia Sorento is just as impressive.
The steering is light and responsive, turning circle is fantastic and the ride (especially on the Si grades 65 Series tyres) is awesome.
Then there’s the cabin, wow – the Kia engineers have done a great job of providing space, space and more space! Even the third row of seats has enough room for adults, albeit the primary design is for children.
Legroom up front and in the middle-row is incredible, the middle seat adjusts forward and back and you can even adjust the angle of the backrest.
Entry into the third row is easy and the seat adjust/fold mechanisms couldn’t be easier. Folding up or down the third row of seats from the floor is also a sinch.
The dashboard also couldn’t be simpler. Easy to operate climate controls, a great simple and easy to operate infotainment system, lovely steering wheel, again I was thoroughly impressed.
You can also easily keep your speed in-check with audio reminders from the sat-nav system that comes through the audio system if your speed creeps up. Look, if you don’t speed it won’t be a problem, though at times it can be just a little annoying.
Other than that I really can’t fault this car, great visibility, drives beautifully, full five-star ANCAP safety rating, seven year warranty – full marks Kia on the new Sorento.
Once again, I strongly recommend that you go for the diesel version!
NUTS and BOLTS – 2015 Kia Sorento Si
Engine: 3.3 litre V6 petrol producing 199kW and 318Nm or 2.2 litre turbo-diesel producing 147kW and 441Nm
Transmission: Six-speed automatic (only)
Safety: Five stars
Warranty: Seven years
Origin: South Korea
Price: From $40,990