With its new Sorento, Kia has joined the big players in the seven-seater SUV market. It’s bigger inside and out, chock full of features and value, and is noticeably more refined.

By Alex Forrest

That’s just as well, because one third of the vehicles sold in Australia are SUVs. As a vehicle manufacturer, having the right one in your range is a huge deal.

It’s safe to say Kia has a lot riding on this new Sorento.

2015 Kia Sorento Platinum

The new Sorento shares the same platform as the current Carnival people mover, not the older Hyundai Santa Fe SUV. This means the Sorento’s underpinnings are a later design than those of the current Santa Fe.

So for now at least, these two Korean SUVs are no longer twins under the skin.

Pricing starts from $45,750 drive away for the two-wheel drive petrol Si, ranging up to $62,920 for the range-topping four-wheel drive diesel Platinum.

Drivetrain options comprise a 3.3-litre, 199kW/318Nm petrol V6 available in the front-wheel drive models. Four-wheel drive versions come with the 2.2-litre diesel, which has 147kW and 441Nm.

The most significant changes made to the Sorento, which was launched in June 2015, have been improvements to the vehicle’s overall refinement.

Generally speaking, in this area Korean vehicles (particularly diesels) have been a step behind European models , however the improvements in the Sorento’s refinement bring it right alongside its continental compatriots.

2015 Kia Sorento Platinum

The new Sorento also gets improved safety kit, including a rear view camera as standard across the range. All model grades have six airbags (including front to rear curtains), ESC, hill start assist and brake assist. There are also seat belt reminders for all seats.

On the range-topping Sorento Platinum (the biggest-selling Sorento variant), additional safety systems include lane departure warning, active cruise control, blind spot detection and rear cross traffic alert. Auto braking isn’t available, but it does have a 5-star ANCAP safety rating.

The new Sorento is now a serious competitor against the more expensive Toyota Kluger, Mazda CX-9 and Nissan Pathfinder. And unlike these, the Sorento can be had with a more efficient diesel.

Kia Sorento Platinum Specifications

Price driveaway (as tested): from $45,750 drive away
Engine: 2.2-litre turbo diesel
Power: 147kW
Torque: 4441Nm
Claimed fuel economy: 7.8 litres/100km
ANCAP Rating: 5 stars
CO2 Emissions: 205g/km