There are facelifts, and then there are facelifts. This new Kia Sorento is a facelift. Less than three years into its lifespan, the purveyor of our Reasonably Priced Car has given its 4WD SUV a bit of a tickle.
There's a lot of different stuff underneath, including a new front subframe, longer rear trailing arms, new high-performance dampers all round, larger suspension bushes and a lower ride height.
But why, exactly, re-engineer something so early in its cycle? Well, the last Sorento came at the company's turning point, when it started churning out really good stuff, and thus stuck out a bit in Kia's New World Order. The Sorento needed to get better grades. This one's 18 per cent stiffer... not much, but an improvement nonetheless.
But, while there's talk of ‘agility' and ‘responsiveness', the tyre squeal is the first warning this new Sorento doesn't appreciate the finer complexities of corner entry and exit points. The drivetrain combination could best be described as ‘relaxed'. The diesel is reasonably quiet, punchy and refined, though. As is the six-speed auto 'box, which only occasionally forgets its purpose in life.
Truth be told, for a car weighing nearly two tonnes, it does a reasonable job of plodding along at pace. It's just you'd soon tire of bouncing around the cabin. But cars like this are about navigating the school-run circuit, not Silverstone. As such, the retuned suspension works wonders for refinement. The steering is perfectly acceptable too - not too vague, but accurate enough that you won't feel like a naval officer.
The cabin could do with a bit more glitz. The plastics are far from scratchy, but when a fully specced Optima feels like a mini-Audi, there's no reason why this SUV can't be treated to something better. Feels hard-wearing, though, and there's tons of room inside. It's a full seven-seater as standard - even if the rears are for kids only - but there's a decent boot if you fold them down. Plus, it doesn't look half bad either.
And that's the thing about the new Sorento - it's decent. Neither ground-breaking nor reprehensible, it's definitely worth a look.
2199cc, 4cyl, AWD, 194bhp, 311lb ft, 42.2mpg, 175g/km CO2, 0-62mph in 9.5secs, 118mph, 1891kg
Good, decent budget SUV that feels tough enough to last. It won't set the 'Ring alight, but it feels good value.