Parkers overall rating: 4.3 out of 5 4.3
  • Up-to-date cabin that's far nicer than its predecessor
  • Large touchscreen in the middle, digital screen for the driver
  • Controls are well organised and easy to find

How is the quality and layout?

Climb into the Sorento and you’ll be impressed with the fit, finish and design, as well as the material choice and tech. It’s modern, with a good use of brightly coloured and textured trim on the dash. The controls are well organised, there are plenty of soft-touch plastics and build quality seems to be good, too, but it’s not particularly luxurious – perhaps a good thing if you’d rather not care about trim getting scuffed and covered in dirt.

The lower centre console consists of two rotary controls: one for the automatic gearbox and one for the drive mode selector, with buttons for the electronic handbrake and other driving functions here. 

There's a mixture of touch-sensitive buttons, toggle swtiches and rotary controls for the volume and for scrolling up and down the menus. Anyone who’s been in a Kia will be instantly familiar with the layout of the steering wheel buttons, which are easy to get used to.

The climate control cluster isn’t too fussy either, even if the less-frequently used touch buttons are a bit fiddly - haptic feedback would be ideal, but there is at least audio.

Infotainment and tech

Entry level models come with an 8.0-inch infotainment touchscreen but the larger 10.25-inch version on 3 and 4 models also come with sat-nav. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay is standard on all models and could be preferred during everyday use, as the number of sub-menus on the infotainment system require too many presses to navigate through. There’s also nowhere to place your hand, so it can be a tricky and distracting to use on the move.

The Sorento also offers pairing for two phones simultaneously – ideal if you want to play music from your personal phone but take calls through your work phone, for example. There’s also a USB charging point for every passenger in the car.

The driver's 12.3-inch digital cockpit screen is clear, sharp and has great contrast, but there’s not a great deal of customisation or a full map setting for the nav. You might need to do a bit of digging to find the well-hidden sub menus for the driver assistance systems, too.

There is plenty of info available on the trip computer, however, including energy flow, trip computer, a digital speedometer, driving style analysis, attention level, traffic sign recognition, tyre pressures monitor, selected drive mode.

Opt for top-spec 4 models and you get a head-up display, as well as a large panoramic sunroof that brightens up the big cabin.

Is it comfortable?

  • Large comfortable chairs
  • Quiet engines, just don't work them too hard
  • Ride quality is comfortable on all models

Broadly the Sorento is best described as wafty. At any speed it feels soft and comfy, although if you're after a sporty-feeling SUV with a deft change of direction it's probably best to look elsewhere.

The low speed ride is comfortable on all models, so big wheels aren’t an issue. Unsurprisingly the 2 is the most forgiving with its 17-inch tyres, while higher-spec models on 19-inch items are a little firmer when dealing with bigger bumps, even if it’s not detrimental.

The 19-inch wheels generate quite a bit of road noise on older and rougher surfaces, while the standard audio system struggles to drown it all out. The top-spec Bose sound system might fare better, but the Sorento does quieten down on smoother roads.

Considering the large amount of cabin space, the Sorento avoids sounding too much like an echo chamber, even if a panoramic roof is installed.

The diesel engine is the Sorento's biggest weak point when it comes to refinement. The 2.2-litre unit remains relatively smooth and sends few vibrations into the cabin, but the noise filtering into the cabin makes this SUV feel quite old, with turbo whistle at lower speeds and sounding gruff at higher revs. The lack of mild hybrid tech also means you hear this crank back into life on the older style stop-start system, rather then using the smoother and more immediate electrical systems. With Kia trying to tempt customers into the petrol-hybrids, it makes sense that they've not investing in this unit by much.

The petrol engine in the hybrid is smoother and quieter, but it does become strained when it needs to work hard – even if it avoids being too vocal.

But the quietest and most refined of the three is definitely the PHEV, which if you're on shorter trips and primarily in Eco mode will run silently on battery for considerable amounts of time. Even when the engine does switch in, it's quiet and - like the hybrid - only makes its presence felt when you're accelerating hard.

It’s easy to get into a comfortable driving position with plenty of adjustment, space and large comfortable chairs. Entry-level 2 models have manual adjustment and do without lumbar support for the driver, however, so the 3 might be worth considering if you cover large amounts of miles at a time.

Whoever sits behind the front passenger on these models can remotely slide the front seat forward, like on a luxury car, to free up further legroom.

Those sat in the middle row of a mid-spec 3 model will also have sun blinds for the windows and heated seats, while all models come with centre mounted air vents and reclining backrests.