The original Kia Sorento was one of the most popular tow cars of its time. The new Sorento is a definite return to form, although the car’s origins as a budget 4×4 have been left behind.

At motorway speeds the Sorento is stable, unless caught by a strong gust of wind. When we drove at up to 70mph we could feel a little more movement from the caravan, but nothing alarming.

In the lane-change test the Sorento wasn’t a match for the other cars in the heaviest weight class, but it still put in a solid performance. On the third and fastest run, the caravan was pulling hard at the back of the car, but the Kia knuckled down and pulled the caravan straight again – just.

The Kia’s conventional handbrake needed a second, firmer pull to hold car and caravan still on the 1-in-6 slope. Some careful balance of clutch and throttle was needed to pull to the top.

In everyday driving the Kia Sorento is an improvement over its predecessor. It’s relaxing to drive with a supple ride. Some SUVs may be more fun, but the Kia is grown-up, refined and comfortable.

Inside, the standard of finish has taken a definite step forward, and there’s plenty of passenger space in the seven-seat cabin. With the third row of seats folded away, our practicality testers found space for a full load of holiday luggage, and appreciated the easy access to the spare wheel and the handy reversing camera.

Efficiency improvements mean the new Sorento now achieves 46.3mpg on the combined cycle. However, while owners will save more at the pumps, the latest Sorento is far from cheap, although the long list of standard equipment is some compensation.

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