Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Kia Sorento 3.5 V6 XS

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Kia Sorento 3.5 V6 XS

Article excerpt

Byline: By Chris Russon

Whatever yardstick is used to judge a vehicle made by Kia there is one criterion that must always be borne in mind - price.

Across this South Korean manufacturer's range, which starts with the budget-buy Rio hatchback at pounds 5,995, all models represent terrific value for money.

And when you get into the big league, keeping that standard to the fore is no mean feat.

In quite remarkable fashion, Kia has managed to enter the world of big four wheel drives with a car that is as big as a Mercedes M Class, comes fully kitted, and costs a shade under pounds 22,000.

That is more than pounds 10,000 below the average big off-roader of similar specification, such as the Jeep Grand Cherokee, the Land Rover Discovery or the Mitsubishi Shogun.

Cynics would say it is because the Kia Sorento is just not as well put together or has no real off-road ability - and they would be spectacularly wrong.

How Kia has managed to produce a car of this quality for the price is beyond me - but the result is phenomenal.

Introduced last year, the Sorento cut a dash instantly with two diesel powered models costing pounds 17,995 and pounds 20,495. Now there is a flagship 3.5-litre V6 petrol engined Sorento, and at pounds 21,995 it is the most expensive car Kia has put into production.

It comes with everything from climate control to self levelling suspension, and not one aspect of the Sorento is a let- down.

To be ultra-critical, its ride - despite suspension tuned by Porsche - is a bit soft, the steering a touch light, and the V6 has a fair thirst. I managed only 17 miles to the gallon despite Kia's claims that the car can average 22.4.

The overtly plastic wood in the trim is also on the tacky side, but nothing that can't be lived with. And there are many more plus points to the Sorento to more than offset those minor whinges. …

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