There are two ways, it seems, to best consider the Sorento. The first, as written on the tin, is as a potentially sub-£30k genuine seven-seater; old-fashioned Kia territory, then, and here it largely excels.
It’s sufficiently roomy, very well kitted, easy to drive, comfortable to sit in and broadly competitive to run. The second view, as Kia itself has prompted, is as a new marker of its progress. The evidence here is that the giant leaps of the past are now harder to come by.
The Sorento is certainly improved, but in a way that marks it out as evolutionary rather than newly extraordinary. It's a real threat to volume-brand rivals but less so to the premium players. Consequently, for the £40k asking price of our test car, Kia’s best effort is a bit too noisy, too plain and ultimately less interesting to steer than its similarly priced European rivals.
However, trumping a raft of other more mainstream options to finish in our compact SUV top five is, in and of itself, an advancement.
Best of the rest, in a segment of ever-increasing popularity, is no bad place to be.