- Sport grade is excellent value for money
- Practical and good quality cabin
- Fantastic ride and handling balance
- V6 engine is far too thirsty
- Service pricing isn't cheap
- No third row airbag coverage
We’re big fans of the Kia Sorento here at DiscoverAuto. It’s the epitome of what’s going right at Kia at the moment and offers a lot to buyers – it’s well priced and well sized, drives well, is loaded with standard equipment and like other new Kia models, features a long warranty. While the EV6 electric car is getting accolades, we think the Sorento is the most relevant Kia at the moment. We’ve only tested the top-spec GT-Line and second-from-top Sport+ before, so does the Sorento flag fly as high in a lower spec? We tested the 2022 Kia Sorento Sport V6 to find out.
While the Sorento range is priced from $50,790 drive away for the base S V6 and hits as high as $87,500 drive away for the plug-in hybrid. On offer locally are four drivetrains: a 3.5-litre petrol V6, a 2.2-litre turbo-diesel and both a hybrid and plug-in hybrid that use a 1.6-litre petrol engine and electric bits for Toyota-rivalling fuel economy. We tested the cheapest engine: the V6.
Price & Equipment: 9/10
Priced from $53,790 drive away, the 2022 Kia Sorento Sport is the second model up from the base model S. Standard equipment includes 18-inch wheels with a full-size alloy spare, LED headlights, auto lights and wipers, a 10.25-inch touchscreen with satellite navigation, digital radio, wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a six-speaker sound system, four USB charging ports, cloth upholstery, a 10-way electrically adjustable driver’s seat, dual-zone climate control with third row vents and a fan speed controller.
Safety equipment includes seven airbags (including a front centre unit), auto emergency braking (AEB) with pedestrian and cyclist detection, intersection assist, lane keep assist with lane trace assist, adaptive cruise control with stop and go functionality, auto high beam, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert (both with braking), a reversing camera with front and rear parking sensors, speed sign recognition and driver attention alert.
Colour options for the 2022 Kia Sorento Sport include the no cost ‘Clear White’, as well as the $695-extra ‘Mineral Blue’, ‘Gravity Blue’, ‘Aurora Black’, ‘Steel Grey’, ‘Snow White Pearl’ and our test car’s ‘Silky Silver’. The sole interior option is black cloth.
We think that the Sorento Sport is quite well equipped, especially for a second-from-base model though we’d also like to see equipment like keyless entry and start, wireless phone charging, an electric tailgate, auto rear braking and LED rear lighting added to the list.
Chief competition to the Sorento Sport V6 includes the Hyundai Santa Fe Active V6 ($54,500 drive away), Mazda CX-8 Touring SP FWD (around $53,000 drive away) and Toyota Kluger GX V6 FWD (around $53,000 drive away). While not sized quite the same – the Kluger is a little larger than these rivals – they are equipped somewhat similarly with a full suite of active safety equipment, front-wheel drive drivetrains and aside from the Mazda, petrol V6 engines.
The Santa Fe has leather upholstery as standard, while the Mazda has a combination of faux leather and suede, versus the Sorento and Kluger’s cloth upholstery. The Sorento has the largest infotainment screen at 10.25-inches – every other competitors’ screen is 8.0-inches – while the Kluger is the only car with regular air-conditioning, instead of dual-zone climate control (or the Mazda’s tri-zone climate control). The Mazda’s wheels are the biggest at 19-inches.
Performance & Economy: 6/10
Under the bonnet of the 2022 Kia Sorento Sport V6 is a 3.5-litre petrol V6 engine that makes 200kW of power and 332Nm of torque. In Australia, the V6 is front-wheel drive only and solely matched to an eight-speed automatic transmission.
The V6 is quite smooth, it’s quiet in regular driving, it also sounds pretty good when you’re revving it and it goes reasonably well when you’re flooring it, but it’s also thirsty, old and torque-less. Because the peak 332Nm is produced at a high 5,300rpm – with not much underneath – you need to rev it, which increases the fuel consumption further. The eight-speed automatic is a great unit, though it’s not that well tuned to the V6’s lack of torque and tends to hunt a bit for the right gear.
A far superior petrol drivetrain exists overseas in the form of the 210kW/420Nm 2.5-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine, which is sold only in Australia in the Hyundai Sonata N Line. According to overseas sources, the 2.5-litre turbo petrol engine is not only punchier than the V6, but also quicker with a 7.3 second 0-100km/h sprint (versus 8.1 seconds for the V6).
Kia claims that the Sorento V6 uses 9.7L/100km on a combined cycle, and in mixed driving, we achieved 12.8L/100km. It uses 91RON regular unleaded fuel and uses a 67-litre fuel tank. It’s this poor consumption that would make us choose the 2.2-litre diesel as in our testing, it achieves under 7L/100km, which is almost half that of the petrol V6. It also comes with all-wheel drive, unlike the V6 and it’s also more effortless to drive. In our opinion, the Sorento’s excellent diesel renders the V6 rather pointless and the extra $3,000 spend is very much worth it.
Ride & Handling: 9/10
As is the case with a lot of Hyundai Kia products locally – and the last generation model – the local tuning program has produced a winner. Put simply, we think it offers the best mix of comfort and driving fun in this segment. Of course, a large seven-seat SUV is no race car and nor should it be driven like one, but the Sorento can offer its driver reasonable thrills behind the wheel thanks to its grippy chassis, well weighted steering and responsive all-wheel drive system.
Benefitting your family further is that – like the Hyundai Santa Fe – the Sorento is locally tuned for Australian roads, which means that Sorentos sold in Australia have a different suspension tune to ones sold elsewhere in the world and are more comfortable for Australian buyers’ tastes.
What that means is that the Sorento’s ride quality is well balanced, with a good mix of firmness but great body control as well. Especially on the 18-inch wheels of the Sport, the Sorento’s ride is very composed and combined with its relatively low road noise levels and good visibility, it’s a comfortable and quiet car to drive.
Dynamically, we find the CX-8 to be inferior to the Sorento because of its softer – but less settled – ride quality and its particularly heavier steering. The Sorento’s ride and handling balance is more fluid than the Hyundai’s and Toyota’s.
Interior & Practicality: 8/10
The interior of the 2022 Kia Sorento Sport V6 is definitely one of the best in its segment. It’s modern, comfortable, good quality, full of tech and roomy for its size.
Centre of the cabin is a 10.25-inch touchscreen with wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, satellite navigation and digital radio. It’s used in a plethora of other Kia products and it’s highly responsive, has a very intuitive layout and is bright and colourful. We’d like to see wireless phone mirroring added to its feature list, but it’s otherwise a great system to use.
The Sorento’s cabin is quite practical with plenty of storage space, including big door bins, big cupholders in the centre console, a big bin underneath the centre armrest, a bin underneath the air-conditioning controls for the USB chargers and a big glovebox.
The second row of the Sorento is well featured with the same big door bins, air vents, bottle holders on the doors, ISOFIX points on the outboard seats, map pockets, a centre armrest with cupholders, a USB charger and a 12V socket. Missing are the extra USB chargers on higher grade models in the back of the front seats, as well as a separate climate zone that the Mazda CX-8 features.
The second row of the Sorento is spacious and comfortable. The seats themselves are soft and supportive – they also slide and recline – and the available room is great, even for taller folk. Both portions of the seat tilt and slide forward for easy access to the third row, and room back there is reasonable with enough space for six-footers for shorter journeys. The third row has air vents, a fan speed controller, two cup holders and some other storage – though not the USB ports of higher-spec Sorento models. Unfortunately, unlike the CX-8 and Kluger but like the related Santa Fe, there’s no airbag coverage for third row occupants.
Behind the third row of seating lies 187-litres of boot space, 616L behind the second row and a huge 2,011L with all the rear seats folded. The boot has a few features like multiple points for the boot cover, under floor storage and points for nets. The longer Mazda CX-8 offers 209L with all seats in place and 775L with the third row folded – Mazda doesn’t quote for all seats folded, though we reckon it would be similar to the Sorento at around 2,000L. Unlike the CX-8, the Sorento has a full size spare wheel.
Service & Warranty: 8/10
Like other new Kia products, the 2022 Kia Sorento Sport V6 comes with a seven-year/unlimited km warranty one year of roadside assistance topped up with each scheduled service for a year up to eight in total. Five years/75,000km of servicing costs $2,388 ($478 per service).
Hyundai, Mazda and Toyota all have shorter five-year/unlimited km warranties – Mazda gives you five years of roadside assistance, Toyota gives you none and Hyundai gives you up to five years if serviced at a Hyundai dealership. Five years/75,000km of servicing the Kluger V6 costs $1,250 ($250 per service), the Santa Fe costs $1,995 ($339 per service) and the CX-8 costs $2,064 ($412 per service) – but only up to 50,000km thanks to its shorter 10,000km service intervals.
The 2022 Kia Sorento Sport V6 DiscoverAuto Rating:
The 2022 Kia Sorento Sport V6 is a genuinely really great seven-seat SUV that must be on your test drive list when looking for a family SUV. It’s great value for money, very well equipped, it drives quite well, features a good quality build, is very practical and with that long warranty, has good ownership prospects as well. No wonder there’s a long wait for them at the moment.
But the V6 really isn’t the engine to choose in the Sorento range. It’s thirsty, old, heavily polluting, not that quick and is thoroughly outclassed by the $3,000-more expensive diesel, which also has all-wheel drive. We hope in the future that Kia can import the 2.5-litre turbo-petrol engine from North American-spec models as it sounds far superior. With the diesel engine, the Sorento is also fuel efficient and grunty and for now, it’s definitely the engine you should choose. The Sport model is also a good spec with just enough equipment, and it’s great value for money. So yep, the Sorento is just as great lower down the range – but make sure you get the diesel and not the petrol V6.