New Kia Sorento will have you in Seventh Heaven
Kia Sorento 2.2 CRDi 4WD Platinum
The Griswolds. That’s what my family reminds me of every time we set off on holiday or a weekend break.
Packing up cars like Chevy Chase and his crazy family in the National Lampoon’s classics as we prepare for a road trip.
But this time it was different. We had no children, no dog, no footballs and no kitchen sink.
It was just seven adults heading up to the beautiful Carlingford Lough to celebrate my father’s 70th birthday.
But the days of families sitting on each other’s laps and squeezing entire under-10 football teams into cars for matches are long gone.
So we needed something big and spacious to ferry seven adults comfortably to our destination.
Our family Kia Sportage wasn’t big enough — unless I stuck my crazy mother in the boot.
Luckily for me, it was my turn to try out the new seven-seat Kia Sorento.
There are many so-called seven-seaters available, but very few that can accommodate seven adults comfortably.
Most have two pull-up seats in the rear that can only hold two rugrats under the age of five.
But there are a few proper ones and, alongside the SEAT Alhambra and the Hyundai Santa Fe, the new Kia Sorento is definitely one of them.
Now in its third generation, the Kia Sorento is bigger and bolder than ever.
There is no doubt in my mind that this big SUV has been targeted at the US and Asian market on its sheer looks alone.
And the fact that it is only available in Ireland with a 2.2-litre diesel engine further suggests that it is aimed at countries where CO2 emissions don’t really matter.
On the outside, the new Sorento looks stunning. There is a serious American theme going on and it reminds me of those big Cadillac Escalades Tony Soprano drove along the New Jersey Turnpike.
On the inside the designers have done an amazing job around the cabin and the centre console is one of the best I have seen.
It is simple and easy to use and the touch screen just looks so neat.
There is a serious premium feel going on around the cabin and it certainly felt like I was in a more expensive luxury SUV.
But, best of all, the space on offer for seven adults is amazing.
I comfortably fitted six adults and myself on our trip and, even though boot space was tight with the third row used, there was still enough room for our overnight bags.
On the road, the Sorento was a pleasure to drive. I was a bit sceptical about the 2.2-litre diesel engine, which is basically from the outgoing model, albeit with a few tweaks to lower CO2 emissions.
But I was wrong. The engine is fantastic and never felt wanting at motorways speeds.
Kia Motors Ireland is offering two AWD variants of the new car — the EX at €38,995, and the expected volume model, the Platinum, at €43,995.
The entry-level model is a five-seater with a generous level of spec that includes 17-inch alloys, rear-privacy glass, super-vision instrument cluster and seven-inch sat nav with reversing camera.
The Platinum model is a seven-seater with a luxury spec that includes the above plus panoramic sunroof, Xenon lights, leather and heated seats, eight-way power adjustable driver’s seat. The Platinum automatic (€49,500) adds 18-inch wheels and an electronic parking brake.
Although the Sorento is priced exactly the same as its Hyundai Santa Fe cousin, it comes with a much higher specification.
Overall, the new Sorento is one of the best seven-seaters on the road. It’s up there with one of my favourites, and one of the best-kept secrets — the SEAT Alhambra (Read our review opposite).
However, I would suggest if you’re in the market for an SUV then forget the five-seat version and dig a little deeper for the monster truck seven-seat version.
Model: Kia Sorento 2.2 CRDi 4WD Platinum.
Price: From €38,995 (€43,995 test model).
Road Tax: €390.
Max Speed: 203kmh.
Luggage Space: 116–1,530 litres.