In launching the Sorento, the South East Asian car manufacturer, Kia, had taken a significant step upmarket. Erstwhile know for their cheaper compact cars, Kia made the move to introduce this real family sized 4 x 4 in 2003. And the Sorento turned out to be, perhaps surprisingly, exceptionally good. If you are looking for a lower priced 4 x 4, which nonetheless displays quality, style and reliability then the Sorento may be the solution.
In fact, the Kia manufacturers got rather lucky so to speak. It was forecast that their rivals SsangYong were going to beat them in introducing a 4 x 4, with the Rexton. However, while the debate continued as to who was going to market the Rexton, Kia moved in with the Sorento and monopolised the budget family 4 x 4 market. The result was that sales far exceeded expectations, while the 2.5 litre diesel model proved much popular than the 3.5 litre petrol version, which was deemed as somewhat thirsty.
Bang for your Buck
The used Kia Sorento underwent an extensive facelift towards the end of 2006. Included in the facelift were exterior improvements such as new light clusters and bumpers, while the equipment levels were also improved. In addition, improvements were made under the bonnet with the 2.5 litre engine receiving a boost up to 168bhp. This was due to the introduction of a turbocharger (variable geometry). A short time after, the 3.5 litre engine was replaced with a decidedly more efficient and powerful 3.3 litre version.
There were two basic 4 x 4 systems produced. This largely depended on the trim level chosen with the top range version coming with a full-time four wheeled drive operation. The lower budget versions on the other hand featured a system whereby a full four wheeled drive operation could be selected manually. Nonetheless even the latter was adequately made for some serious off-road driving.
However, many feel that the Kia Sorento for sale did so well in this particularly competitive market due to the high quality of its interior. Indeed, the interior is constructed with fine soft touch materials where you may have rightfully expected brittle hued plastics. The overall verdict with regards to the interior is that it is clean, unfussy and stylish.
What You'll Pay
For a basic 2.5 litre diesel Kia Sorento model (03 plate) that has an approximately average mileage, prices can start from around £13,500. If you would prefer to go for the XS version, then you should expect to pay at least an extra £600 on top of that price. However, there are certainly plenty of good options available on the market if it is a 2.5 litre version you are after. On the other hand, finding a good 3.5 litre used Kia Sorento is not quite so easy -- especially if you are set on an XS version. These are much rarer and the pricing can vary considerably. The 2.5 litre model is insurance group 12, while the 3.5 litre model is in group 14.
What to Check
As noted above the cheap used Kia Sorento does not suffer from the usual complaints regarding Kia vehicles, which generally focus on the poor quality of the interior. Thus the place you really need to be checking is underneath. As with all off-road vehicles, the Kia Sorento for sale can be liable to exhaust, differential and suspension damage. In addition, the seat backs and luggage bay tend to receive a good deal of heavy treatment so check these for signs of damage. While the Sorento is mechanically as good as Kia's reputation warrants still go for one with a full service history.
Fortunately, parts for the Kia Sorento are no exception to Kia's widespread reputation for good value. For a new radiator, for example, expect to pay a reasonable £155, while brake pads are around £51 for both front and back. Alternators are around £280, starter motors £175 and exhaust systems (less the converter) approximately £560.
How it Drives
While the size of the vehicle means the 138bhp engine doesn't put the Sorento in the road racer category, this is not really what the vehicle is designed for. More pertinent for potential buyers will be the impressive 343Nm of torque available, which makes any off-road terrain more than manageable and the very impressive return of around 36.2mpg for the manual version and a fine 33.6mpg for the automatic version.