Classy Kia Sorento hybrid is just like a Volvo – only much cheaper


IF a picture is worth a thousand words, here are seven thousand, four hundred and eleventy to keep you busy.

I could easily fill this column telling you all about the transformation of Kia over the last 30 years — second only to Audi in my book.

Previously, you bought a Kia because you had done the maths, but the Sorento changes all that

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Previously, you bought a Kia because you had done the maths, but the Sorento changes all thatCredit: 2019 MARTIN BRENT

But for the Sorento, these pictures are all you need.

Previously, you bought one because you had done the maths.

You’d calculated how much it cost to buy and run and that was it.

It was a tool. For towing things and ferrying kids. Good value and dependable. But as exciting as a lawnmower.

Now you’d buy a Kia Sorento because it looks class — as well as being a hybrid, as well as being even more capable as a 4x4

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Now you’d buy a Kia Sorento because it looks class — as well as being a hybrid, as well as being even more capable as a 4×4

Now you’d buy one because it looks class — as well as being a hybrid, as well as being even more capable as a 4×4. And you’re not being short-changed on cabin quality and tech here, either.

Looks a bit Swedish

Let’s start inside because it’s almost as if the interior was designed by someone who leads an actual life.

Sorento has more charging points than seats. Ten versus seven. Including USB ports in the sides of the front seats. Clever.

Flick the indicators to turn left or right and a camera feed showing your blind spot fills the driver’s binnacle

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Flick the indicators to turn left or right and a camera feed showing your blind spot fills the driver’s binnacleCredit: 2019 MARTIN BRENT

The rear doors have actual cup holders. As well as bottle holders. And blinds. The middle-row floor is flat. The middle-row seats are heated and tilt and slide electronically for easy access into row three.

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Kia has done things properly for your future carers.

Up front, this car feels high-end and hi-tech. Like a Volvo but much cheaper.

We expect touchscreen and head-up display and all sorts of driver assistance in flagship SUVs, but look at the photo, bottom left.

The rear doors have actual cup holders,  as well as bottle holders. And blinds

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The rear doors have actual cup holders, as well as bottle holders. And blinds

Flick the indicators to turn left or right and a camera feed showing your blind spot fills the driver’s binnacle. That’s better than a Volvo.

And while I’m on the subject, who else thinks those upright air vents look a bit Swedish? And the upright rear lights for that matter?

Sorento was designed by the Americans and that’s obvious as soon you slide behind the wheel.

The seats are super-wide and comfy with hot and cold ventilation and the drink holders are bucket-sized for your drive-thru coffee.

The seats are super-wide and comfy with hot and cold ventilation

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The seats are super-wide and comfy with hot and cold ventilation

Other positives? Visibility is good. The glass roof floods in light. Bose sound system. Pop-out tow bar costs £1,600 fitted. You can double that at places like Porsche.

Mistakes? The ride is a little harsh, the boot button is badly positioned and I’d want carpeted door pockets to stop things rattling about.

Let’s finish on engines. If you tow things, stick to diesel as it can pull 2,500kg. The 1.6-litre turbo petrol hybrid (with no plug) is fine day-to-day but can only tow 1,650kg. Plug-in hybrid to follow.

Sorento starts at £39k or £406 a month in today’s money. The Volvo XC90 starts at £54k. That’s a £15k saving on a car that’s just as good.

But you knew that from the pictures.

Visibility is good. The glass roof floods in light

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Visibility is good. The glass roof floods in lightCredit: 2019 MARTIN BRENT

KEY FACTS: KIA SORENTO

  • Price: £38,845
  • Engine: 1.6-litre turbo petrol with 44.2kW electric motor
  • Power: 226bhp, 350Nm
  • 0-60mph: 8.7 secs
  • Top speed: 119mph
  • Economy: 40mpg
  • CO2: 158g/km
Auto Trader reviews the midsize SUV Kia XCeed

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