Let's say you want a decently sized SUV for family duties. A compact RAV4-style soft roader is too small. A bigger full-sized Discovery or Land Cruiser-class model too large and expensive. No, potentially what you want is something like this, Kia's third generation Sorento.
This car, along with its Hyundai Santa Fe cousin, has long offered this kind of appealing compromise for family SUV buyers in search of spacious, affordable seven-seat versatility. Traditionally, its buying proposition has always been that for not much more than RAV4 or CR-V money, you could get three rows of seats, extra capability and better value for money. Job done.
Except that it wasn't. Even in its more polished second generation guise, the Sorento felt a touch utilitarian. And for longer journeys, the truth was that it could only really seat seven if the last two members of your party were of junior school age. In developing the MK3 version then, Kia's clear objectives were to make this car a little larger, as well as making it a little more up-market. If it could do that without dramatically affecting this model's biggest selling point, its value pricing proposition, then opportunities for sales growth looked certain.
That's exactly what this third generation Sorento design claimed to deliver. A model launched in the Spring of 2015 that was supposed to provide nearly everything you'd get from a large-segment European-badged SUV rival costing over 50% more. And a car that marked a further stage forward in Kia's intended transformation from value brand to premium quality car maker. Hence the fresh technology, the extra efficiency and the greater depth of engineering, refinement and quality. The MK3 model sold in its original form until early 2018, when it was then replaced by an updated model featuring updated safety technology, a revised trim structure and a new 8-speed auto gearbox. It's the original pre-facelift version of this third generation design though, that we look at here.