Ian Waller and his family enjoy a touch of luxury motoring 

“It’s got a sunroof!”

You see, when you’re choosing a new family car, it’s not all about how quickly it goes from 0-70mph or the time it takes for a tame racing driver to zoom it around a test track.

Trying out a new family car for the first time brings with it its very own set of needs and requirements, and judging by the reaction of my nine-year-old to the Kia Sorento we had to try out for a week, this included a whopping great sunroof!

When those nice people at Kia had got in touch to ask if we would like to try out one of their most popular family cars, we were only too pleased to accept. When the Sorento turned up – or the Kia Sorento 2.2 CrDi ‘GT-Line S’ Auto AWD to give it its full and rather catchy name – my nine year old was positively bouncing with excitement.

No, it wasn’t the eight-speed auto gearbox, 2,199cc four cylinders diesel engine or the 197bhp max power that were the cause of the excitement, but rather the sunroof, heated seats and the fact that with the press of button, this car could actually park itself – which actually is pretty amazing, no matter how old you are…

Of course, the real test of a family car is how it handles the role of the family taxi, running to and from singing lessons, drama lessons, a trip to Sainsbury’s and all of those other chasing here and there jobs that we mums, dads and carers so enjoy.

And I have to say, the Kia was rather good at them all. Being bigger than our usual family run-around, the Sorento had us feeling tall wherever we went, which meant a great all round view and was very handy for squeezing through Bath streets and dropping off outside church halls and sports centres. Of course, the auto parking thingy, parking sensors and rear camera certainly helped too, plus there was even a sensor that told you if you were being overtaken – very clever.

The big test, however, with a weekend jaunt to Cornwall. Now normally this would be a bit too far for us for just a couple of days, but with the Sorento’s super comfy seats, loads of leg room and a boot big enough to swallow a family’s worth of luggage with no problem, we decided to give it a go.

Suddenly I loved this car. Super, super smooth on the motorway, the kids were soon dozing in the back inbetween watching their portable DVD players, my wife was chilling out with Audiobook and I was catching up on Desert Islands Discs (the one with footballer Ian Wright is amazing!). The miles whizzed by in quiet comfort with no moans of travel sickness or achy backs, while the diesel consumption of around 40mpg was better than our petrol Vauxhall.

Was the journey perfect? No, of course not. A soft drink’s spillage in the back made us happy that the leather seats were easy to wipe clean, while having my youngest’s favourite feature – the sunroof – open at anything over 30mph created an unpleasant whomping noise and vibration. 

So did the Sorento do its job as a decent family car? Yes, it really was very good indeed – loads of toys, plenty of room and super comfy to drive. OK, at £42,925, it’s not exactly budget motoring, but you do get an awful lot of car for the money, plus there’s that huge sunroof to keep my youngest very happy indeed.

www.kia.com