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KIA Sorento 2019 review

The 2019 Kia Sorento range: Refreshed, Revitalised, Yet Resolutely Reliable

Kia’s Sorento shows us how a mini makeover is really done with the performance and aesthetic tweaks for 2019

Key stats:

All based on base model: KX-1 2.2 CRDi 197bhp 6-speed manual ISG 7-seat

1. Priced from £30,225 OTR
2. MPG: 39.2/53.3/47.1 (urban/extra urban/combined)
3. CO2: 157 g/km
4. First year road tax rate: £830

Text‘Tis the season to be jolly, merry and, and for a lot of us… reflective. During the epilogue of the fading year, it seems an ideal time to look forwards to what ‘life-tweaks’ are needed come January, and much of the time this results in wildly adventurous targets for big life changes. For others, however, this period equates to being content with the year gone by, and while epic resolutions aren’t required, small refreshes are enough to feel revitalised going forward.

 When it comes to not reinventing the wheel, Kia have excelled themselves in the 2019 refresh of their ever-popular Sorento. “Don’t fix what isn’t broken”,has been kept at the forefront of the design team’s consciousness, and this is evident throughout the ‘many-but-minor’ alterations in the Sorento’s design; inside and out. That being said, the Sorento’s steering wheel has been reinvented for the new year to include four spokes instead of three; whether this is an improvement just depends on personal preference.

 This midsize crossover SUV already benefited from its useful size, attractive styling and well-made interior, and many features included as standard. Teamed with Kia’s infamous 7-year (or 100k mile) warranty coverage, the Sorento is excellent value within this category.

There are obvious changes to the 2019 Sorento range, such as the the simplification of the model lineup, though much as of changes are subtler and need a larger microscope for investigation.

 Outside, it’s difficult to see at first sight what the differences in the exteriors of the 2018 and 2019 models, but they’re definitely there.

Within the lighting clusters the LED indicator strips are now above the tri-beam headlight. The 2018 oversized, over-dazzling and overly bright ‘ice cube-like’ fog lamps either side of the air dam are now smaller, and have been repackaged in rescultured, sleeker housing which oozes sophistication.

 Kia have included a newer ‘tiger-nose’ grille, which gives the Sorento a crisp, modern and professional-looking front profile. This is aided by the practical inclusion of a stainless steel scuff plate on the underside of the front and rear bumpers; perfect for protecting against damage from any necessary minor off-roading. Off-roading is also aided by the shorter rear and front ends, when compared to other competitors in this category. The bulbous rear end has retained its shape, as does the placement of everything above the bumper, though whilst Kia are adamant slight changes have been made, it’s extremely difficult to tell how or where.

Inside, the 2019 Sorento is well laid out, making fine use of the Toyota Highlander-esque wheelbase where the Highlander does not. The Sorento boasts more head room throughout, and slightly more third-row space.

Three rows! This is now standard across the Sorento range, whereas last year it was only optional in the higher-end models. Autotrader argues that the third row is slightly small when compared to similar car types in this segment (e.g., Honda Pilot), but if the third row is only needed on fewer occasions, the Sorento is still an excellent option. There’s still an indisputable large, more substantial feel to it - like the Honda CR-V or Nissan Rogue - whilst staying within a similar price range to other smaller competitors. The panoramic moonroof of the top-end trims is a worthy investment if creating a sense of space is a priority.

Kia’s choice of standard interior materials remains high-quality, and the three-coloured door design with metal trim gives it a real upmarket feel.

Comfort is key in the 2019 Sorento, with more seating adjustability compared to others in this category. The front seats benefit from a tilting and telescopic steering column with a decent range of motion; there’s a 4-way lumbar support system, extending thigh cushion, and 2-position seat memory for the driver. Additional comfort features include dual zone automatic climate control, heated and ventilated front seats, heated steering wheel, heated rear seats, back window shades and a huge sunroof (which is the panoramic moonroof in the top-end models).

Were the instrument cluster graphics an issue during 2018? Evidently, as there are marginal ‘new year alterations’ here too. The display for navigation, audio and driving data is still partially LCD, and is complemented by a physical tachometer and speedometer.

One of the main reasons to seriously contemplate adding a Sorento into your life is the huge list of features and technology present as standard. Though it may seem costly upfront, it’s phenomenal what you get for your cash.

Safety features include forward collision warning, stability control, anti-lock brakes, a rear-view camera and six airbags, lane-keeping assist, black spot monitoring, driver inattention/fatigue monitor, and cruise control. Crash tests earned 5 stars in 2018 for overall, frontal and side protection, and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave it the best possible score for crash-protections and prevention. Including an Acceptable headlight score, all this attention resulted in the Sorento earning a Top Safety Pick Award. Due to Kia ‘not fixing what wasn’t broken’, the 2019 Sorento shouldn’t worry when competing in the same categories over the coming year.

The central voice-controlled infotainment system is largely unchanged since last year, and still supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard. Under the lidded storage compartment there are two 12V power outlets, auxiliary and USB ports and a G-wireless charging mat so additional devices can be easily paired with the Sorento’s already-excellent infotainment system.

Every Sorento now has a touchscreen (7” as standard, though with an option for 8”) which is extremely useful when monitoring your surroundings with the ubiquitous 360-degree camera system, which works with a front camera, a back camera when reversing, and the dedicated front + left or right side cameras.

Ok, it looks good, it’s spacious, and you feel safer than a tank driver… but what’s driving experience actually like? The Car Connection says the new Sorento has a “terrific ride quality” with its “responsive and natural steering”, and “solid, quiet feel”.

The large wheels don’t hinder the Sorento’s reputation for providing its drivers with a pleasant driving experience with solid handling, and its passengers maximum comfort over long journeys. The driving experience is also aided by the re-tuned steering. It’s now lighter - aiding parking - and numb on the centre; improving handling on motorways.

2019’s new suspension systems makes the Sorento more engaging to drive despite the improvements only being fairly minor.

The new 8-speed automatic option is very responsive to throttle inputs, responding particularly well when downshifts are required. The V6 engine is that option to go for; its power and strength allows the Sorento to pick up speed smoothly even when fully-laden with luggage loaded to the brim. When you pair the V6 with the new 8-speed automatic (every 2018 model had the 6-speed as standard) your fuel economy improves by 2mpg. If you opt for the V6/FWD model you can expect to get 19mpg in the city, 26mpg on the motorway and 22mpg combined. These figures aren’t anything to write home about, and fuel economy hasn’t ever been Kia’s forte, though we can forgive this when it’s surrounded by such a vast array of other exceptional elements.

TFLnow reviewers tested the interior noise levels at motorway speeds, and the results were a pleasingly quiet 59-60dB - great for keeping you and your passengers relaxed and comfortable. Is the 2019 Kia Sorento for you? Whatever your thoughts on the lack of major changes to this range from last year, you have to agree that any car which boasts a 7 year (or first 100k miles) warranty is going to be a safe bet as a reliable investment. Heck, even investing in last year’s model won’t do you any harm after seeing how well the quality of build, tech and safety features have been maintained by the 2019 model. You’ll not feel ‘sold short’ with either.

The changes going into the New Year are so minimal that you might be excused for missing some of them altogether, but what has stayed consistent is the overall quality. The Sorento does just about everything well. It’s solid, reliable and dependable. What, upon first appearances, might be seen as a rather costly up-front option, the base price is still lower than that of its main competitors. Take this car and compare it with any of its competitors with the huge amount of ‘Kia-standard’ extra features included, then the 2019 Sorento is unmistakably great value, nay,... an absolute bargain in this category.

If you’re interested in ‘questly revitalising’ your vehicle, then why not learn from the master? See here for our leasing options so that we can help you add the new Kia Sorento to your list of New Year resolutions.

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Posted on 5th December 2018 at 10:01 AM

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