Updated: Aug 24, 2021
There are lots of ways to say it - ticks all the boxes; crosses all the T's; dots all the I's. Or you could just say that during the week I had the new Sorrento, I didn't go looking for anything that I thought should be on hand. More accurately, I found things I didn't think I needed - until I gave it back and reverted to a lesser SUV.
Kia has nailed it with this model. Just a few years ago I was at the Hyundai Group test and proving ground in Korea, and upcoming Kia's were circulating alongside the electric Hyundai's we were there to sample. In amongst them were the beginnings of this Sorrento, and I think that since it was mooted for Australia the local people have very carefully selected the available options and pitched the local equipment level perfectly.
A slave of symmetry, I appreciated the extra switches on the right hand side of the front passenger's seat squab, so that I could put the seat back in line with mine after a shorter person had got out.
Early morning drives northwards, and late afternoon drives southward mostly frustrate me because front sun visors invariably don't stretch the length of the side window when swivelled. Not so in this Kia. The visor slides along the spine to keep all of that glare out of my peripheral vision.
Middle seat and rear seat passengers have their own USB ports. Rear door cup holders have spring loaded clips to help secure that flopping, splashing milk shake.
Rear windows have a pull-up sun blind - no more tea towels, or, in my day, clean cloth nappies jammed in the windows to keep bubs from frying.
All of the car controls as well as the dash layout, seem to be just dead right. I settled into the Sorrento within 200 yards of picking it up and driving away.
On the road the 2.2-litre turbo diesel engine was busy mimicking a petrol engine, but always delivered a punch of torque when requested. Ride and handling on all Kia's is very much Australianised, and this SUV is no exception. It points accurately and there are no surprises in steering lock and sensitivity, foot brake effort or throttle response.
Inside the trim and fittings are a very high standard - the pleats on the seats raise the level from good to premium even before you sit on them. My wife is of very compact size, but found she could comfortably see out of the Sorrento without getting a neck ache from stretching.
The sun roof is complex but easy to operate, and turns the whole roof length into a stargazer's delight at night. The tailgate is power operated and there's plenty of room with the rear seat row folded down flat. Even a decent shopping space if you're taking six hangers-on with you.
There's mood lighting, 360 degree camera and a grab bag of digital assistance systems to help you avoid hitting things or being hit by someone else.
Then comes my favourite party trick. Approach the car with the key fob in hand. Before you get there click the fob to start the engine, then press the "unpark" button, and Sorrento will engage reverse, let go the park brake and idle itself out from between a tight parking space, being careful to stop if an obstruction looms. Or do it forwards if you reverse parked. I just love the stares that gets.
The all-wheel drive diesel Sorrento ranges from $48,850 to $63,070 for the top of range GT-Line model. The 3.5-litre V6 is $3,000 cheaper at each trim level. Ford's Endura is a good comparo for similar pricing, but I think the Kia leaves it standing for equipment, and in my view, style. The Sorrento oozes premium grade from any angle.
You'd even have to be really picky to select a European that appealed more. You'd certainly be paying a lot more for the same equipment level.
Then there's that seven year warranty . . .
Model: Kia Sorrento GT-Line
Engine: 2.2-litre 4-cylinder turbo diesel
Output: 148kW and 440Nm
Transmission: Eight speed dual clutch with Active 4WD
Fuel Efficiency: 6.1l/100kms