When you’ve got a big family with growing kids and it’s time for a road trip there are only certain cars that can handle the job.

To test that theory, we took the $44,585 Kia Sorento and handed the keys to a father of three with a wife, mother-in-law, young daughter and two tall almost teens who were headed to the mountains for Mother’s Day.

Here’s what Adem says about the 7 Seat Kia Sorento:

The Kia Sorrento fills a soft-roader niche for people looking for enough space for 7 “real” seats, but not ready to suffer the ignominy of van ownership.   If you need a big car for a growing family, in-laws, friends’ kids soccer runs and general family cargo duty the Kia is definitely worth a look.  First thing our kids noticed was the amount of space.  The Kia is very big inside.   The car is cleverly packaged with the outside dimensions of a low-riding 4×4, but unlike “proper” off-road 7-seaters it doesn’t have huge wheels or long travel suspension to eat up internal space.  So ticks of approval from the family for both general width as well as plenty of leg room for the 2nd and 3rd rows.  The 3rd row probably isn’t the best place for full-size adults, but certainly big enough for lanky teenagers on a long drive. 

On the road, the Sorrento flows along nicely having no trouble keeping up with traffic.  Our test included a run up to the Blue Mountains with 6 people on board and the car climbed with minimum effort.  It is quick enough away from the lights and never feels like the engine is working hard in normal use, either on motorways or around town.  The only criticism is sometimes when needing to make a quick getaway the front wheels had a tendency to spin, stranding me with the traction control kicking in.  I’m left wondering if the AWD may be a better option given the size, weight and power available.   

Inside, the Kia is well-equipped with all expected options and everything clearly laid out and the finish and materials have a quality feel.  The satnav and entertainment system are relatively straightforward to use.  Sound system is plenty loud enough and sound quality is OK, but not particularly sharp when compared to premium audio systems available in other brands.  Leather seats (all 7 of them) are comfortable, if not particularly supportive or sporty.  Driving position is upright and high, but a little difficult to see where the front of the car ends as the bonnet dips down out of sight. Front and rear parking sensors make sure you can fit into tighter parking spots. 

For the price, the Kia is great value family transport.  The Sorrento provides heaps of space inside without packaging compromises of off-road 7-seaters or the stigma of a van’s sliding doors.