We drove the previous Kia Sorento before having our daughter and I remember being very impressed back then! I was eager to give this seven-seat SUV a good run now that we are a family with child seats, strollers and equipment to see how it would fare as a BabyDrive! Let's find out what we thought…
Our 10 days with the Kia Sorento (the lower-mid spec Sport model with a diesel engine and all-wheel-drive) were fantastic! It is early in the year but this is a serious contender for BabyDrive car of the year for 2018! It is on my list! Where do I start with my loves of this car?
Kia has made this new model Sorento a few centimetres longer and wider than the previous model which would account for the amount of interior cabin and boot space and the legroom. This car is seriously spacious for a seven-seater and we could fit a 184cm driver in front of a rear-facing child seat with a tall passenger in the third row too! The head and shoulder room was the only limiting factor in the third row but the legroom is definitely there.
This translated into a lot of boot space too! When you are using all seven seats you can fit five shopping bags in the boot or a basic Steelecraft Holiday 2 umbrella stroller in the boot with three shopping bags.
When the third row of seats is down the boot pace is very big. It would hold 16 shopping bags. With the twin stroller, it would hold eight shopping bags, with the Mountain Buggy Urban Jungle stroller it would hold seven shopping bags and with the basic Holiday 2 umbrella stroller, 13 bags of shopping!
There are also air-conditioning vents and controls in the third-row seats, which when you are not using them for passengers you can put on to keep your shopping cool in the boot on hot days!
Another fabulous feature in the boot was the retractable blind. It has two mount positions so if the second row seats are upright you put it in one position and if they are reclined you put it the other position. This sounds so simple but most other cars have complex and fiddly solutions to this involving clips and flaps! This is the simplest and best cargo blind I have seen to date! (Not something I thought I’d ever be writing!!) The ends of the cargo blinds bar are also covered with a strip of felt to stop them damaging the interior of the car when you are taking it in and out. I have not seen this on any other car and I always notice that they damage and scratch the cars interiors!
There are three top tether anchor points in the second-row seat backs, there are none in the third-row seats. There are two ISO Fix points for the second row of seats.
The second row of seats slides to adjust for legroom and access to the third row of seats. The seats in the second row can either fold in a 60/40 split or each seat back can come down individually 40/20/40, which0 makes access good.
I managed to fit three child seats across the second row of seats. The rear-facing Mountain Buggy Protect infant capsule on one side, the forward-facing Infasecure Compressor 4 on the other outer seat and the Infasecure Foldaway booster seat in the central seat.
The seats are all very comfortable and the third row of seats is VERY easy to put up and fold down by simply pulling a tape in the boot floor.
The 2018 Kia Sorento comes with lots of safety features as standard, autonomous emergency braking, radar-based adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assistance and driver attention alert, anti-lock brakes with brake assist and electronic brake force distribution, stability control and traction control.
Also standard are front and rear parking sensors with obstacle proximity display, a reversing camera with animated guidance lines, a digital speed readout and multi-function trip computer, automatic headlights, an electric park brake with auto hold.
There are however two negatives of the Sorento for me. One is the brakes, as they are not very confidence inspiring. I felt like I had to stamp on them to believe I was ever going to stop! Secondly and more scarily despite the Kia Sorento scoring one of the highest ANCAP safety ratings, the side curtain airbags do not extend far enough past the second row of seats to offer protection for passengers in the third row of seats. As you tend to put children in the third row who have graduated from child seats this is a worrying BabyDrive feature.