Road Test by Dean Evans
Two faces lit up with excitement as the white 2018 Kia Sorento pulled into the driveway. Not because daddy’s home, but because daughter one and two had been told about the imminent seven-seater. Nothing new in Sorento world, but the novelty thrill of sitting in the third row is palpable for a five- and two-year old. Partly because they’re close together and the two girls can hold hands; and partly because they’re a row further from mum and dad, enabling discipline-free naughty-ness.
At least that happiness spreads throughout the cabin, with the facelifted 2018 Sorento offering a few tweaks and updates to what has, and is, one of the best seven-seat SUVs on the market.
Flagship to the Kia range, the heart of the Sorento is its 2.2-litre turbo diesel engine that, when launched in the mid-2000s, was a decade ahead of its time. It’s the same great engine in the 2018 model – 147kW and 441Nm – but it’s been mated with a new eight-speed automatic transmission that’s as discreet as it is efficient. Kia quotes “a slick-shifting, more decisive drive, while improving economy and reducing emissions,” but a good automatic transmission is like a good referee: it simply does its job effectively without even realising it’s there. Smooth and efficient, the only clue is the number ‘8’ that appears on the dash in manual mode...
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