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BabyDrive Verdict

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…

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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.

BabyDrive Indepth

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9 Comments

  1. I do beleive that the side curtain air bags run from the front to the back 3rd row window. My 2011 model does and I can’t see them down grading this and still getting a 5 star rating. Wish I could update to the newer model but they don’t come in manuals anymore. Best car ever!!!

    • Hi Sally,
      Thank you for your message. We have just spoken with Kia to clarify and they said the side curtain airbags do extend just past the second-row seats but they cannot claim to offer protection to the third-row passengers as they do not go back far enough.
      They are fabulous cars though, I loved it!!
      Tace

  2. Would you do a review on the Kia Sportage? It would be good to compare the Mazda CX5 against the Sportage since they are both considered to be medium SUVs.

    Cheers
    Eugene

    • Hi Eugene,
      There is a new one just come out so I will see if I can get one to review and let you know!
      Thank you
      BD

  3. Hey Tace,

    Can’t thank you enough for putting this site together! We are on baby train no. 2 and finding a new car is on my agenda! I keep coming back to read car reviews on your site to create my shortlist :))

    We just came back from the Kia showroom and were convinced the Sorento is the car for us, but the salesperson wasn’t sure about two things:
    1. Can we put two car seats next to each other in the 2nd row and still be able to access the third row? (Seats could be middle and side or both the outer ones). Did you try this?
    2. Can we fit a booster seat in the third row? Apparently it’s not safe to do so…

    Keep the reviews coming, love this site.

    Regards,
    Max

    • Hi Max,
      I’m glad you have found the site useful 🙂
      The Sorento second row seats slide on a 60:40 split so if you had your child seats in the outer seats then the 40% should slide forward independently. However, I do not remember if there was then enough room to climb through to the second row without removing a child seat I’m sorry! I would suggest that you ask the dealership for a 24hr or day loan of a Kia Sorento so you can test this and anything else you want to, most dealerships will do that especially as you will be spending a lot of money with them potentially!
      I would recommend contacting the ACRI to get a definite answer about putting booster seats in the third-row seats, their logo (link to their webpage) is on the right-hand side of my homepage or give them a call 03 9467 9496 and I believe they will be able to answer that for you. I would be interested to know what they say.
      Thanks
      Tace 🙂

  4. Hello! I’m looking through your reviews and had a question for you. In the CX9 and the Outback you tested them with 3 Britax seats, whereas with this one you tested with the other seats I wondered if there is any reason for that? We have two Britax seats currently and are considering a third child and trying to decide which one of those would best accommodate all three seats! The oldest is 7, so close to being able to sit without a booster… But we’d like to keep her in one if possible.
    Thanks for all the great info!
    Jenny

  5. Will 2 car seats fit in the second row next to each other, allowing one of the outside seats to be folded down for access to 3rd row?

    • Hi Christine, it is hard for me to be 100% accurate because it was while back now that I reviewed the Kia Sorento but looking at my images, notes etc there probably wouldn’t be. I had a rear-facing infant capsule and slim booster seat next to each other and the booster seat in the centre did overlap the other outboard seat slightly which would stop the seat back being able to fold down slightly if it was a fixed back child seat.

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