Kia has boosted the lineup of its Sorento seven-seat SUV with the addition of a new range-topping GT-Line model. Priced at $58,490 (plus on road costs), the latest Sorento variant takes square aim at the similarly-named Mazda CX-9 GT and Hyundai Santa Fe SR.
For family buyers, the Kia Sorento GT-Line delivers a while lot of car for your coin with plenty of luxury and technology included. In fact, short of a higher-priced German, large SUVs don’t come any better than this.
Vehicle Style: Large SUV
Price: $58,490 (plus on-road costs)
Engine/trans: 147Kw/441Nm 2.2-litre 4cyl turbo diesel | 6sp automatic
Fuel Economy Claimed: 7.8 l/100kms | Tested: 8.9 l/100kms
The GT-Line eclipses the Platinum grade as the range-topping Kia Sorento model. At $58,490 (plus on-road costs) it is $1900 more than the Platinum but stands-out with 19-inch chrome-finish alloy wheels, stainless steel side steps, red brake calipers, LED ‘ice cube’ fog lights, red leather interior and paddle shifters for the six-speed automatic transmission. Autonomous Emergency Braking is included in the GT-Line and has been added to the Platinum model.
With family-friendly interior space, a plush ride and impressive refinement and performance from the 2.2-litre turbo-diesel engine, the upmarket Kia Sorento GT-Line underscores the ‘sea-change’ in the seven-seat SUV market where buyers are increasingly opting for luxury over rock-hopping agility.
- Standard Features: Leather-trimmed seats (electronic adjustment for the fronts); active cruise control; gloss-black/leather-wrapped (heated) steering wheel; 2nd row window sunshades; alloy sports pedals;
- Infotainment: 10-speaker audio, AM/FM radio, satellite navigation, 7.0-inch colour touchscreen, AUX/USB input, iPod and MP3 compatibility, Bluetooth functionality, speed-dependent volume control
- Cargo Volume: 320 litres (all seats in-place); 1,077 litres (3rd row folded); 2.066 litres (2nd & 3rd rows folded)
Kia calls it a ‘walk-in switch’ but actually it’s two switches on the right-side of the front passenger seat which enable the driver to slide that seat for/aft and adjust the backrest tilt for easy entry to the rear seats, which is an excellent idea that is very rare in this price range.
That’s just a small component of a top-notch interior for the Kia Sorento GT-Line which is certainly enhanced by the hip red hue for the leather-trimmed seats (unique to this model variant). And those seats score highly for comfort and support on long trips.
Passengers in rows two and three get their own air-vents and while the third row is best for youngsters (access is straight forward thanks to a tumble operation for the second row) adults will still find sufficient space (headroom, knee-room and foot-room) for short trips.
For the driver there are alloy pedals, a three-spoke leather-wrapped steering wheel with manual rake/reach adjustment and plenty of seat flexibility (10-way power adjustment and four-way lumbar) to ensure a comfortable operating environment.
Instrumentation comprises conventional round gauges in a largish binnacle and the seven-inch colour touchscreen for the satellite navigation and 10-speaker Infinity audio system is nicely presented in a silver-trimmed elementin the centre of the dashboard.
Storage cubbies are plentiful and cargo space runs to 320-litres with all seats in-place. Start folding those seats and the Kia Sorento proves its worth as a load hauler, comfortably passing our golf bag/buggy test.
ON THE ROAD
- Engine: 2.2-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel 147kW @ 3,800rpm/441Nm @ 1,750-2,750rpm
- Transmission: Six-speed automatic, all wheel drive (part-time with lock mode)
- Suspension: MacPherson strut front, multi-link rear
- Brakes: 320mm ventilated front discs, 305mm solid rear discs
- Steering: Electric power steering, 11.1m turning circle
- Towing Capacity: 2,000kgs braked, 750kgs unbraked, 100kg towball download
Kia’s 2.2-litre turbo-diesel is a hushed operator even when pushed hard and, with plenty or urge in the mid-range, provides efficient overtaking on the highway.
Other mechanical and road noise is also minimal, reinforcing the good job Kia has done on NVH and sound-deadening.
If you do venture off-road, the all-wheel-drive system can be locked via a switch to evenly distribute power 50:50 front/rear. However the on-road tyres will limit your adventures.
Suspension calibration gets the ‘thumbs-up’, of course helped in no small part by Kia’s ongoing local suspension tuning under the auspices of the credentialed engineer Graeme Gambold. It might be called the GT-Line but the range-topping Sorento doesn’t opt for sporty harshness, as it’s identical to other Sorento models in being refined and compliant without being a marshmallow.
ANCAP Rating: 5 Stars - The Kia Sorento scored 36.62 out of 37 possible points when tested in 2015.
Safety Features: Six airbags (dual front, front side, and curtain for fist and second row) 3 top-tether and 2 ISOFIX child seat anchorage points; ABS anti-lock brakes with electronic brakeforce distribution, brake assist, emergency stop signal and autonomous emergency braking with forward collision warning; stability and traction control; vehicle stability management; blind spot warning with lane-change assist, lane departure warning; rear cross-traffic alert; hill-start assist; front and rear parking sensors; reversing camera; adaptive front lights;
WARRANTY AND SERVICING
Warranty: Seven years/unlimited kilometres
Servicing: Five years capped price servicing: 1 year/15,000kms $314; 2 years/30,000kms $374; 3 tears/45,000kms $368; 4 years/60,000kms $559; 5 years/75,000kms $352
RIVALS TO CONSIDER
The Mazda CX-9 GT AWD is a bit more expensive at $61,390 but is all-class inside and out. Interior dimensions feel almost identical but, like the Sorento, using the third seating row does compromise luggage space somewhat. While the smaller (five-seat only) Mazda CX-5 is available with the SkyActiv 2.2-litre turbo-diesel (129kW/420Nm), the CX-9 is only sold with the 2.5-litre turbocharged petrol engine (170kW/420Nm).
Kia’s sister company Hyundai has the Santa Fe SR priced at $64,250 (plus on-road costs). Power comes from the same 2.2-litre turbo-diesel and the Santa Fe SR is also loaded with kit. On-road you will find the Hyundai’s suspension is a tad firmer.
TMR VERDICT | OVERALL
In the field of fully-kitted seven-seat SUVs, the Kia Sorento GT-Line ranks among the best.
Kia has loaded the GT-Line with an abundance of technology, it’s very comfortable and drives well.
And while the $58,490 sticker is considerable, Kia still undercuts its main rivals.
MORE: Kia News and Reviews
VISIT THE SHOWROOM: Kia Sorento - Prices, Features, and Specifications