2022 Kia Sorento range review

The Kia Sorento comes in several trim levels with either petrol or diesel engines. If you've settled on it, which version should you go for?

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Mike Costello
Mike Costello
Comparisons Editor

Simply put, the Kia Sorento is one of the best large SUVs in its price bracket, though rivals such as the Toyota Kluger, Mazda CX-9, Hyundai Santa Fe and Skoda Kodiaq all offer stiff competition. 

If you’ve done your homework and decided the Sorento is the next family bus for you, you need to start whittling down the different variants. 

This range review will step you through the line-up, explaining the different specification levels and drivetrains. It’ll also draw on our previous experiences behind the wheel. 

The goal is to help you hopefully decide which Sorento derivative you ought to buy, if it’s the Kia you’ve settled on.

Watch Paul’s video review of the Sorento GT-Line Diesel AWD

Pricing

Kia advertises the drive-away prices of its cars, so we’ll talk about cost on this basis.

There are four Kia Sorento variants or spec levels, all of which come with the choice of a petrol or diesel engine. 

  • Kia Sorento S V6 FWD: $49,290
  • Kia Sorento S Diesel AWD: $52,290
  • Kia Sorento Sport V6 FWD: $52,290
  • Kia Sorento Sport Diesel AWD: $55,290 
  • Kia Sorento Sport+ V6 FWD: $56,690
  • Kia Sorento Sport+ Diesel AWD: $59,690
  • Kia Sorento GT-Line V6 FWD: $64,290
  • Kia Sorento GT-Line Diesel Awd: $67,290

The standard colour Clear White at no extra cost. You’ll pay $695 extra for Silky Silver, Steel Grey, Mineral Blue, Gravity Blue, Aurora Black, and Snow White Pearl.

If you are looking for a more accurate idea of pricing, you can build and price one of these on the official website to determine drive-away pricing. It’s also worth keeping an eye on the Kia offers page to see if there are any deals on at the moment.

Features

Given there is a $18,000 price difference between the top-spec diesel GT-Line and the entry-spec S, you can be sure moving through the range brings a growing list of features and creature comforts.

We feel for most buyers the Sport or Sport Plus variants would be the way to go. For those on a tighter budget or after a no-frills car with excellent ride, the S is also a great option.

Of course, if you want it all and then some, the GT-Line is the sure winner.

Kia Sorento S models come standard with:

  • 17-inch alloy wheels
  • 235/65 Continental tyres
  • Full-size alloy spare
  • Front and rear parking sensors
  • Reflector LED auto headlights
  • Rain-sensing wipers
  • Roof rails
  • Seven cloth seats 
  • 4 x USB points
  • 8.0-inch touchscreen
  • Wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • Bluetooth phone and audio
  • Digital radio 
  • Six-speaker audio 
  • Manual air-conditioning
  • Second-row air vents

The ride quality in the S is the best in the Sorento range thanks to its high-sidewall tyres, but you know you’re in a fleet special because you have to put a key in the ignition barrel.

The touchscreen is also small relative to the rest of the range.

MORE: 2021 Kia Sorento S Diesel AWD review

Kia Sorento Sport models gain:

  • 18-inch machine finish wheels
  • Tyre-pressure monitor
  • 10-way powered driver’s seat
  • Passenger sun visor sliding function
  • 10.25-inch touchscreen
  • Satellite-navigation
  • Dual-zone climate control 
  • Third-row fan control, vents

Outside of fleet buyers this seems like an easy decision over the S.

The extra cost over the base model is justified by the better infotainment system and climate control alone. 

MORE: 2021 Kia Sorento Sport Diesel AWD review

For a further $4400, Kia Sorento Sport+ models gain:

  • 19-inch machine finish wheels
  • 235/55 Continental tyres
  • LED combination rear lights 
  • Powered tailgate
  • Tinted privacy glass 
  • Aero-blade type wipers
  • Proximity key access and exit
  • Remote engine start function
  • Leather-appointed seats
  • Heated front seats
  • Auto-dimming rear mirror
  • Heated steering wheel
  • Safety function for all auto up/down windows
  • 4 x extra USB points 

For many people the leather seats, powered tailgate, and privacy glass for back-seat occupants will be highly desirable extras. Ditto the hands-free proximity key.

MORE: 2021 Kia Sorento Sport+ V6 FWD review
MORE: 2021 Kia Sorento Sport+ Diesel AWD review

For a further $7600, Kia Sorento GT-Line models gain:

  • 20-inch dark chrome alloy wheels
  • 255/45 Continental tyres 
  • Projector LED headlights
  • Blind-spot camera in instruments
  • Electronic child safety lock 
  • Smart key with remote-control parking
  • Kerbside auto-dipping side mirrors 
  • Panoramic sunroof
  • Quilted Nappa leather seats
  • Ventilated front seats
  • Heated outboard second-row seats
  • 14-way powered driver seat with memory 
  • 10-way powered front passenger seat
  • Shift-by-wire rotary gear dial
  • Paddle shifters
  • 12.3-inch digital instruments
  • Projecting head-up display 
  • 64 interior lighting colours 
  • Alloy pedals and door scuff plating
  • LED interior reading lights  
  • Second-row sun shades
  • Wireless phone charger pad
  • Bose 12-speaker sound system
  • In-car intercom system 

While the 20-inch wheels and slim tyres won’t help the ride quality, the range-topping Sorento is best thought of as a genuine alternative to more expensive European fare in terms of its tech.

MORE: 2021 Kia Sorento GT-Line Diesel AWD review
MORE: 2021 Kia Sorento GT-Line v Mazda CX-9 GT comparison

You can find more details and highlights on all the features on the official Kia Sorento page.

Kia Sorento petrolKia Sorento diesel
Length4810mm4810mm
Width 1900mm1900mm
Height1700mm1700mm
Wheelbase2815mm2815mm
Clearance176mm176mm
Tare weight 1835kg1908kg
Payload 725kg702kg
Boot (2 seats up)2011 litres2011 litres
Boot (5 seats up)616 litres616 litres
Boot (7 seats up)187 litres187 litres

Safety 

All Kia Sorento models come with dual-front, front-side, and first- and second-row curtain airbags. They don’t extend all the way along the third seating row.

There are also five top-tether and four ISOFIX anchors, and Safe Exit Assist that warns you if someone is about to open their door into moving traffic or cyclists when parked.

All variants come with active safety features including forward autonomous emergency braking for cars, pedestrians, cyclists and junctions.

Also standard are a driver attention monitor, active lane-keep assist, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and adaptive cruise control.

The Kia Sorento received a five-star ANCAP safety rating for both petrol and diesel models.

It earned a safety assist score of 89 per cent, along with 82 per cent for adult occupant protection, 85 per cent for child occupant protection, and 63 per cent for vulnerable road user protection.

You can find more details and highlights on all the safety features on the official Kia Sorento page.

Drivetrains 

There are two engines to choose from.

The more affordable option is a 3.5-litre petrol V6 making 200kW of power and 332Nm of torque, mated to an eight-speed torque-converter automatic and front-wheel drive.

For an extra $3000 you can instead opt for a 2.2-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel engine making 148kW of power but a meatier 440Nm of torque, mated to an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic and on-demand all-wheel drive. 

The petrol is smoother and quieter than the diesel (which itself is quite refined and well-matched to the dual-clutch transmission in our experience), but it’s also front-wheel drive only and therefore not as suited to weekend adventures. 

Unless you travel very low mileage, the fuel consumption differential as shown in the below table also shows you’ll likely pay off the higher cost of the diesel model over a few years.

Moreover, while both are rated to tow 2000kg, the diesel does it far more economically. 

For us, the diesel just makes more sense. 

The Kia Sorento Plug-in Hybrid (PHEV) is set to launch in the third quarter of 2021, but the ‘self-charging’ Sorento Hybrid now isn’t due until the first quarter of 2022.

You can see a side-by-side comparison of the options and inclusions across the various trim levels by downloading the official brochure or visiting the official Kia Sorento Page.

Kia Sorento petrolKia Sorento diesel
Engine 3.5-litre V62.2-litre four
Power200kW148kW
Torque332Nm440Nm
Transmission8-speed auto8-speed DCT auto
Driven wheels FrontFront/rear
Towing capacity2000kg braked2000kg
Fuel econ overall9.7L/100km6.1L/100km
Fuel econ urban13.7L/100km7.4L/100km
Fuel econ highway7.5L/100km5.3L/100km
CO2 overall222g/km159g/km
Fuel tank capacity67 litres 67 litres

Dynamics

The main differences from a dynamics perspective are the various wheel and tyre packages (the Sport plus and GT-Line are worse at ironing out sharp bumps); the diesels’ AWD with locking centre and terrain-specific throttle modes; and extra tare weight. 

All Sorento models have electrically-assisted power steering, MacPherson strut front and multi-link rear suspension with an Australian-specific damper tune, and 325mm-rotor ventilated disc brakes front and rear.

Running costs

All Kias come with a seven-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty that’s above average in the industry.

Petrol and diesel models have 12 month or 15,000km servicing intervals.

The average annual service price for the petrol is $493, the average for the diesels is $495 over the first five years of ownership.

Verdict

Ultimately, the Kia Sorento range offers a variant for everyone. We recommend the Sport Plus as the best pick for the money.

Find out more about the car in our Kia Sorento buyers guide.

Like to Know More?

MORE: Everything Kia Sorento

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Mike Costello
Mike Costello
Mike Costello is the Comparisons Editor at CarExpert.
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2022 Kia Sorento Buyer's Guide
2022 Kia Sorento Buyer's Guide