With Bowen rocking the Equinox in his household, in the Long home we’ve got more kids and more crap to get around the place, so we’re taking a long term look at the Kia Sorento.
The car we have is actually the Australian Open Edition, but we can ignore that – it’s only different to the Si because it has different wheels, different fog lamps and side steps.
WHAT IS IT?
Mum’s Taxi? Soccer Taxi? The Wagon of 2019 – for me, this car isn’t large, its more of a medium sized SUV when compared to your Prado’s and such but it is a big beast. Most importantly, and putting it one up on the ageing Holden Commodore Sportswagon in our driveway, it has seven seats.
As a family who have considered strongly the Kia Carnival as our next car, this is a very interesting experiment. The Sorento is a traditional Seven-Seat SUV – kids are either getting in the third row from the boot, or via the split fold centre row which folds down on itself on one side, and on the left side flips forward and rolls forward to give space to get through.
WHAT STANDS OUT?
Nothing – but that’s not a bad thing. This is base model, cloth trim seats, no leather around, but it’s also a Kia. What I mean by that is the fit and finish is excellent, and the infotainment system is first class – Apple CarPlay and Android Auto standard.
LIVING WITH IT
I’ve done the bulk of the driving, trying to convince the wife that she’s ok to drive it because we don’t own it and she worries about insurance – and I’ve enjoyed it. Lots of space for the days I have a boot-load of products to take to Channel 9, and plenty of room for the kids no matter what. As an SUV it sits way higher than our Wagon, but it doesn’t feel like a big truck to drive.
The 3.5-litre V6 doesn’t hold back, plenty of grunt – it’s on tap without delay, but it does sound harsh and unless you learn to feather the throttle it’s hardly a smooth ride – you’ve got to learn to drive by harnessing that power. That’s not a negative, it’s just a very different drive to the Diesel Kia offers in the Sorento (and Carnival) and that would and should be your choice if you can afford it.
The base model Sorento has everything you should get in a family car – Stability control, Autonomous Emergency Braking, Forward Collision Warning, Driver Attention Alert and a bunch more like Lane Keep Assist. The beeping as you veer out of your lane, or cut that corner might be annoying, but it does teach you to drive better and is a great safety tool.
Put it this way, I feel great having my whole family in the Sorento.
At $44,585, it’s bloody good value – seriously, there’s five seaters that cost that much and more. Given the size of this thing, the capacity, and the inclusions, I reckon that’s great value.
And I haven’t been left wanting. Sure I could get power seats, or leather appointed seats, but I genuinely haven’t been prompted to care about that.
MONTH 1 CONCLUSION
I’d get the Diesel. Chewing through petrol and packing grunt, I think you’re much better off with a family car like this being a Diesel. Unless Kia look to bring a more powerful but lower capacity petrol into the range in future, that’s really the only thing playing on my mind as a potential buyer.
Loving it – if I can convince the wife to drop her “Sliding Doors” demand, then this is a genuine family car contender for us.
Trev is a Technology Commentator, Dad, Speaker and Rev Head.
He produces and hosts two popular podcasts, EFTM and Two Blokes Talking Tech. He also appears on over 50 radio stations across Australia weekly, and is the resident Tech Expert on Channel 9’s Today Show each day and appears regularly on A Current Affair.
Father of three, he is often found down in his Man Cave.