Kia has given its strong-selling family SUV a makeover.
With a new look outside and more technology inside, it’s more grown up than its predecessor – which was already a polished family four-wheel drive.
The changes are more than skin deep here. Kia has reworked the suspension on the Sorento to make versions riding on big wheels (like the GT-Line on test here) more comfortable on rough roads, without turning it into a floaty barge.
What hasn’t changed are the engines. Kia has left the petrol V6, turbo-diesel four-cylinder, hybrid, and plug-in hybrid powertrains alone for 2024.
It hasn’t left the price alone. The range-topping GT-Line Diesel AWD on test here is almost $4000 more expensive than the model it replaces, nudging it into the $70,000 bracket for the first time.
Does the update bring enough to justify the price hike?
2024 Kia Sorento pricing:
- 2024 Kia Sorento S V6 FWD: $54,090 (+$3300)
- 2024 Kia Sorento Sport V6 FWD: $57,090 (+$3300)
- 2024 Kia Sorento S Diesel AWD: $57,090 (+$3300)
- 2024 Kia Sorento Sport Diesel: $60,090 (+$3300)
- 2024 Kia Sorento Sport+ V6 FWD: $61,990 (+$3600)
- 2024 Kia Sorento Sport+ Diesel AWD: $64,990 (+$3600)
- 2024 Kia Sorento GT-Line V6 FWD: $69,690 (+$3700)
- 2024 Kia Sorento GT-Line Diesel AWD: $72,690 (+$3700)
Prices are drive-away
The Kia Sorento goes head-to-head with a range of seven-seat SUVs in Australia. To see how it shapes up, use our tool to build your own comparison.
The pre-update Sorento was already a spacious, luxurious car inside. This update has built on those strengths with better technology, and some new design cues.
Front passengers sit in heated and ventilated armchairs that offer plenty of support on longer drives. The driving position is excellent, with enough adjustment to accomodate lanky drivers – or to allow small drivers a good look at the road ahead.
The view over the bonnet is commanding, and the upright windows offer a palatial view of your surroundings.
The new dashboard looks modern, with more than a subtle nod to the EV9 SUV and a lot less gloss black than before, although the shiny plastic trim on the transmission tunnel remains a magnet for dust, fingerprints, and general grime.
Kia’s new one-piece, dual-screen infotainment system looks fantastic. It’s also very intuitive, with big icons and quick responses making it easy to jump around. Kia and Hyundai finally have wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto on variants with satellite navigation, which is long overdue.
The slim row of touch buttons below the dashboard is used for shortcuts around the infotainment system, and the climate controls. You can toggle between those functions with a button which changes the display, and how the two knobs on the dash function.
Although it has new graphics, very little has changed with the digital driver’s display. It’s still easy to read on the move, but you’re still not able to show a live map between the dials as has been possible in Volkswagen cars for years.
USB-C ports replace the USB-A plugs up front, and there’s still a wireless phone charger.
There’s an abundance of storage space up front, with a huge space for phones under the dashboard, two cupholders on the transmission tunnel, a deep bin under the central armrest, and spacious door pockets.
It all looks and feels pretty special given the price. The leather seats are soft and waxy, the metal effect finish on the dash looks premium, and the Bose sound system packs a serious punch. Features like the ability to broadcast messages over the speakers from the front to the back are thoughtful, and make life easier for parents who’d otherwise need to yell.
Second-row legroom and headroom are both impressive for even leggy teenagers and full-sized adults, to the point where six-footers can happily sit behind six-footers. It’s impressive.
You’re not short on amenities, either. A fold-down central armrest is on hand to keep warring children separate, and there’s plenty of cupholders back there for road trips. Although there are air vents, you don’t get temperature controls for second-row occupants.
ISOFIX points feature on the outboard rear seats, and there’s a trio of top-tether points for child seats back there.
The third row is okay without being outstanding. As is usually the case in seven-seat SUVs, the rearmost seats are best reserved for small kids. One-touch folding for the second row makes access easier, but it’s a tight squeeze getting back there if you aren’t young and flexible.
Headroom is tight for adults, and the flat seats mean your knees will be up around your chin if you have long legs. Separate fan controls for the third row are a plus, as are the USB charge points and storage for a small bottle and phone.
In terms of luggage space, the Sorento offers 187L with the third row in place, 616L in its five-seat layout and 2011L with the second and third rows folded flat.
All versions feature a full-size alloy spare, and there’s even space to spare to stow the rear cargo blind beneath the boot floor.
|Kia Sorento 2.2D AWD
|2.2L 4cyl turbo-diesel
|8-speed dual-clutch auto
|Fuel economy (claim)
|Fuel economy (observed)
|6.9L/100km (mixed driving)
|Fuel tank size
The latest Sorento has always driven with plenty of polish, but Kia has done a good job smoothing out what few rough edges existed in the GT-Line.
The turbo-diesel engine and eight-speed dual-clutch transmission remain excellent, at least for the most part.
It feels as though the engine over-revs as soon as you lean on the throttle from standstill, instantly jumping to 2000rpm for a smoother, quicker getaway without the hesitation common in older dual-clutch transmissions.
The fact it’s a wet-clutch setup means the transmission won’t burn itself out, and having revs to play with means the Sorento doesn’t bog down and lurch around on light throttle inputs.
It can occasionally get caught between first and second gear though, and reversing out of driveways with a bit of an incline can still have it lurching before the clutch engages.
With peak torque on tap at just 1750rpm, the Sorento never has trouble getting up and moving. Even with four big adults on board and a boot full of kit, in-gear response is excellent – aided by the fact the transmission is intelligent enough to change down quickly when more performance is required.
It’s also smooth and quiet once you’re on the move. There’s almost no wind noise from the mirrors on the highway, and the engine hums away in the background at cruising speed.
It’s a bit rattly at a standstill though, even once it’s warm. You don’t need to work it as hard as the V6 petrol, which means it feels more refined, more of the time… but when you do need to push it hard, the diesel can get shouty.
Kia hasn’t fitted idle stop/start to the diesel in Australia models, which is an oversight. When you’re rolling this is an incredibly efficient car, but so many of these big family four-wheel drives spend a lot of time idling outside schools, or stuck in city traffic.
Despite its substantial footprint, the Sorento isn’t tricky to drive in tight city streets. The steering is light at low speeds, and the squared-off bonnet makes it easy to place in carparks.
Kia’s blind-spot view camera is useful, and it’s now backed by a camera rear-view mirror that offers an unencumbered look out if the boot is fully loaded or there are passengers in the third row. Also excellent is the surround-view camera, which allows you to see a 3D model of the car and move around it as is the case in BMWs.
Up the speed and the Sorento is a planted, refined cruiser. Our main gripe about the pre-update GT-Line was the ride.
The big wheels were prone to crashing and bashing over pimply city streets, and never settled down in the way you’d hope of a luxurious family hauler at higher speeds. Kia has fitted new dampers to the car with the 2024 overhaul, and the result is a more comfortable ride.
Yes, it feels a bit heavy over big highway crests and dips, but for the most part the softer ride hasn’t come at the cost of control. This is still a satisfying car to drive, given its size.
Its suite of driver assists is hands-on – arguably too hands-on at times – but there’s no question they’ll keep you a set distance behind the car in front, stop you from drifting over a white line, and warn you if you’re getting tired.
The speed limit assist feature is every bit as annoying here as in other Kia and Hyundai models, and the fact you need to switch it off every time you start the car to mute the incessant beeping is infuriating.
Sorento S highlights:
- 7 seats
- 17-inch alloy wheels
- Full-size spare wheel
- Auto reflector-type LED headlights
- Auto high-beam
- LED daytime running
- LED front fog lights
- LED rear fog light
- Rain-sensing wipers
- Power-folding side mirrors
- Acoustic windscreen
- Basic digital instrument cluster incl. 4-inch LCD display
- 12.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system
- Wired Apple CarPlay, Android Auto
- Wireless Apple CarPlay, Android Auto
- DAB+ digital radio
- 6-speaker sound system
- Manual air-conditioning
- 2nd row vents
- Proximity entry and push-button start
- Remote engine start
- Shift-by-wire gear selector
- Leatherette-wrapped steering wheel
- Paddle shifters
- Embossed cloth seats
- 6-way manual driver’s seat adjustment
Kia Connect features include:
- Remote lock
- Remote climate control
- Vehicle tracking
- Vehicle status monitoring
- Voice assistant
- Destination send to vehicle
- Real-time traffic updates
- Valet parking mode
Sorento Sport adds:
- 18-inch alloy wheels
- Privacy glass
- Satellite navigation
- Dual-zone climate control
- Automatic defog
- 3rd row fan control and vents
- Electrochromic rear-view mirror
- 10-way power driver’s seat incl. 2-way lumbar support
- Highway Driving Assist
Sorento Sport+ adds:
- 19-inch alloy wheels
- LED combination tail lights
- Heated side mirrors
- Aero-blade type front wipers
- 12-speaker Bose premium audio
- 2nd row USB chargers
- 3rd row USB chargers
- 2nd row sunshade blinds
- Black high-gloss interior trim
- Alloy door scuff panels
- Heated steering wheel
- Leather upholstery
- Heated front seats
Sorento GT-Line adds:
- 20-inch alloy wheels
- 4-cube LED projector headlights
- Panoramic glass sunroof
- Side mirror reverse dip function
- 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster
- Passenger talk function
- Head-up display
- Wireless charger
- Digital rear-view mirror
- Interior ambient lighting
- Alloy sports pedals
- Suede headliner
- Luggage net
- Quilted Nappa leather upholstery
- 14-way power driver’s seat incl. 4-way lumbar support
- 10-way power front passenger’s seat
- Ventilated front seats
- Heated outboard 2nd row seats
- Blind Spot View Monitor
- Safe Exit Assist
- Electronic child safety lock
- Surround-view monitor
- Side parking sensors
- Remote Smart Parking Assist
The 2024 Kia Sorento carries over the pre-update model’s five-star ANCAP safety rating, based on Euro NCAP tests.
The Sorento managed an adult occupant protection score of 82 per cent, child occupant protection score of 85 per cent, vulnerable road user protection score of 63 per cent, and safety assist score of 89 per cent.
Standard safety features include:
- 7 airbags incl. front-centre
- Adaptive cruise control
- Autonomous emergency braking (AEB)
- Car detection
- Pedestrian detection
- Cyclist detection
- Junction assist
- Blind-spot assist
- Driver attention alert
- Highway Driving Assist (HDA)
- Adaptive cruise incl. stop/go
- Lane Following Assist
- Lane Following Assist
- Lane keep assist
- Intelligent Speed Limit Assist
- Parking sensors front, rear
- Rear cross-traffic assist
- Reversing camera
- Safe Exit Warning
- Tyre pressure monitoring
The 2024 Kia Sorento is covered by a seven-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty like the wider the Kia line-up.
Scheduled maintenance is required every 15,000km or 12 months, whichever comes first. Owners who service their cars within the dealer network also get up to eight years of free roadside assist.
2024 Kia Sorento service pricing:
|3.5 V6 FWD
Kia has improved on a good thing with the new Sorento.
The changes to the suspension have delivered a better ride, the interior updates make for a more modern and upmarket experience, and the diesel engine is still impressively efficient in such a big family bus.
It’s a shame the update has also brought with it some of the industry’s most annoying safety systems. Kia, it’s time to do something about how infuriatingly bad your speed alert is.
The diesel engine is the one to have in the Sorento. It’s more expensive, but it brings with it better fuel efficiency (especially on the open road) and all-wheel drive traction.
As for the GT-Line? You probably don’t need all the extra equipment it brings, and the $8000 increase in price over the Sport+ is significant when you consider how expensive life is in Australia at the moment.
But you will want all the extra kit – and even at the top end, the Sorento represents solid value.
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