Kia recently released the updated 2018 Kia Sorento in Australia with the seven-seat SUV getting both design and under bonnet improvements for the new year.
Upgrades to the 2015 Behind the Wheel Car of the Year included a new eight-speed auto transmission, and the addition of the GT-Line replacing the Platinum as the flagship model.
On offer in the 2018 Kia Sorento are a choice 2.2 litre turbo-diesel, and 3.5 litre V6 petrol engines.
The drive is sensational.
Sorento is smooth, and although there is a move away from diesels, even in SUVs, Kia’s diesel is excellent.
Rather than brut force, Sorento delivers a linear acceleration with a mere 147kW and impressive 441Nm.
Diesel models have part time all-wheel drive with lock mode.
There is no question the AWD handled questionable roads with greater aplomb, but for most conditions, the front-wheel drive V6 was also pretty good.
Wheels are 19” on the top model, 18” on our SLi, and 17” on the base models.
Interiors are functional, with an air of elegance and spaciousness and materials and finishes are of a standard those new to Kia might not expect.
There is a cracking audio system too. It is powerful, and clever, and has 10 speakers.
All models have a clear 8” LCD centre screen, digital radio, and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto.
All models get parking sensors and rear cameras, only the GT-Line gets 360° view. Blind spot detection, Rear cross traffic alert, and bending LED headlights are also restricted to the top model.
While every 2018 Kia Sorento comes with Smart Cruise Control and sat-nav.
Access to the 3rd row of seats is via the rear doors. 2nd row seats slide forward slightly, while the seat back folds.
It is easiest for smaller humans to get in, as is the case for most seven-seat SUVs.
Kia has a party trick for vehicles fitted with the auto-open feature for hatches or bootlids: you need to nothing but stand there.
A series of beeps heralds a majestic sweep as the boot opens. You can use the button under the exterior handle, or on the dashboard if you prefer.
Closing is via the buttons, or by manually pulling the door down.
For those with tighter garages, you can move the door to whatever level you like, then by pressing and holding the button, program that position as the upper limit. It avoids low hanging objects.
Although the 3rd row of seats takes up space in the boot, most of the time you won’t notice it.
The 2018 upgrade also included some handy driver-assist/safety features - Active Land Control and Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB).
The active lane control applies torque to the steering to help keep you in your lane. It beeps too, and both can be disabled if you like.
While the SLi grade remains a good position between the entry-level and top-spec variants.
It’s rare that a vehicle does nothing wrong, but Sorento is one such vehicle.
The best bits include the comfort and quality build.
NUTS and BOLTS – 2018 Kia Sorento
- Engines: 3.5 litre V6 petrol producing 206kW/336Nm or 2.2 litre turbo-diesel producing 147kW/441Nm
- Transmission: Eight-speed auto
- Safety: Five stars
- Warranty: Seven years
- Origin: South Korea
- Price: from $42,990 (SLi diesel from $50,490)