Test drive Kia Sorento and Skoda Kodiaq
Test Drive

Test drive Kia Sorento and Skoda Kodiaq

Turbo engine and robot versus aspirated and automatic, strict and restrained style versus bright and daring design - this is not just another comparative test drive, but a battle of philosophies

All the same faces. Test drive Kia Sorento and Skoda Kodiaq
David Hakobyan
"It is clear that, as direct competitors, these cars are as close as possible in functionality, but in the Kia showroom you can see every ruble paid for it, but not in Skoda."

When I first met the new Sorento, a Korean economic miracle came to my mind all the time. Such a rather trivial comparison was pushed by the people from Kia themselves, who brought all generations of the car to the presentation.

After sitting in all the cars, I remembered how I twice visited Seoul with a long time interval and saw with my own eyes how this Asian metropolis had changed over the years. Of course, older people who have been in the Land of Morning Freshness back in the nineties and remember the first Kia Shuma on our market will say about a very colossal difference. But I'm still talking about a shorter time frame. Because even over the past decade, a lot has changed radically.

The Korean auto industry 10-12 years ago and now are two completely different industries. If in the late XNUMXs and early XNUMXs these cars showed that they could be no worse than European ones and at the same time cost less, now they are trying to step over the latter and look more stylish and technologically advanced in the eyes of the buyer. And even more so they are not shy with the price tag. Perhaps it is the Sorento that demonstrates this leap best of all.

Test drive Kia Sorento and Skoda Kodiaq

Just take a look at the interior design of the new crossover. In terms of interior decoration, this car puts on the shoulder blades not only the Skoda Kodiaq, which even with the top media system looks like a poor relative, but also the majority of Japanese classmates. It is clear that, as direct competitors, these cars are as close as possible in functionality, but in the Kia salon you can see every dollar paid for it, but not in Skoda.

And again, after examining the passenger seats and the trunk of the Sorento, all these branded Czech chips from the Simply Clever kit no longer seem so unique. The Korean boasts hooks, nets, and even USB ports in the backs of the rear seats. Who else has something like this? In the end, is not this the main thing for a modern car, when every second client is primarily interested in the possibility of synchronizing with a smartphone and a media system's touchscreen diagonal.

In fact, complaints about the Sorento can only arise from a sophisticated old-school car enthusiast, for whom interaction with the car and handling remain more important than fashionable ambient lighting and the presence of wireless charging.

Alas, the Kia does not ride as resiliently as the Czech crossover. Its seemingly soft and energy-intensive suspension turns out to be unable to swallow sharp irregularities as quietly and calmly as the Kodiaq does. Well, Skoda is much more confident and pleasant to keep on the arc and turns out to be more generous with feedback on the steering wheel.

Another advantage of the Czech should be dynamics, but in reality everything is not so simple. Yes, at the start, thanks to the higher torque, the tandem of the turbo engine and the fast-firing DSG robot picks up the Skoda more fun, but as the speed increases, the advantage in Newton meters melts.

So it turns out that in overclocking to "hundreds" of Kodiaq faster than Sorento by less than half a second. But at higher speeds and during acceleration on the move, a larger working volume of the aspirated engine and an additional 30 power forces practically neutralize the difference. As for the six-speed Kia automatic, it does not generally spoil the impression of the engine. The box is not perfect, but it does its job adequately. The shifting is soft, the ride is decent.

Test drive Kia Sorento and Skoda Kodiaq

And, by the way, the problems with increased oil consumption on SmartStream motors, which surfaced on the new Sonata by the time the Sorento was localized in Kaliningrad, have already been fixed. According to Koreans, the problem was related to the cylinder head and the intake system, but is now a thing of the past.

But there is a car and a diesel engine with the latest 8-speed robot - almost an ideal solution for such a large crossover. This Sorento is good for everyone, except for the price. The problem is that, giving preference to a heavy fuel engine, you have to pay extra for a bunch of equipment, including expensive driver's assistants. And cars in simpler trim levels simply do not rely on it.

But the Sorento has another advantage over the Kodiaq. Specifically, our test car is significantly more expensive than Skoda due to the richer equipment. But if you look at the initial versions, it turns out that the slightly more expensive Kia is much better equipped "in the base". And if you order four-wheel drive for both cars, the Skoda will be even more expensive.

All the same faces. Test drive Kia Sorento and Skoda Kodiaq
Mikhail Kononchuk
"Cars Volkswagen and Skoda have long gone through a crisis of mistrust caused by fragile" robots ", oil-hungry turbo engines and glitchy electrics - but the Koreans seem to have all this just ahead."

It is very difficult for me to imagine a person who, statically, would prefer the Kodiaq to the new Sorento. Against the background of Korean special effects, the Czech crossover is simply lost - and, I confess, a couple of times I couldn't find it outright even in my own yard. The soulless gray interior also cannot be called salvation from the autumn-winter Moscow melancholy, it seems to say: "Yes, my friend, now is not the time to have fun - and in general, have you forgotten what year it is?" 

In general, if Kia resembles a frivolous but bright Christmas tree, then Skoda is a tree that has not even been brought to a box of garlands. And not everyone will like this minimalism.

Test drive Kia Sorento and Skoda Kodiaq

Yes, we have only the average version of Ambition, which costs half a million rubles less than the test Sorento in almost full minced meat. But even if you load all the options into the Kodiaq, every single one, it will not become much more colorful. Maybe it will be beaten off by the brand's trump cards - spaciousness and practicality? Also not: Kia is much larger, and therefore wins both in terms of trunk volume and in terms of space in the second row. And personally, even the traditional Simply Clever tricks do not convince me against this background: it's great that there are hooks and pockets in the trunk, and a small bin is on duty in the driver's door - but what about at least a bit of fun?

Say, Kodiaq is a function car where convenience is paramount? Well, in Sorento, despite the intricacy of the interior, the ergonomics are good, and all the key functions are left behind the physical keys. Therefore, for example, turning on all possible heating in the morning is a familiar quick ritual, not a quest. But immediately after its implementation, the alignment of forces is turned upside down.

Test drive Kia Sorento and Skoda Kodiaq

On the go, the Kodiaq feels more organic and simply more enjoyable. I am happy to feel the micro-profile in detail in exchange for the absence of unpleasant surprises: compared to the Kia, this chassis is not as rigid as it is more assembled. There is almost no risk of catching an unexpected blow out of the blue, there is no feeling of laxity at the joints of the TTK - except that on the speed bumps, the front suspension still rumbles on rebound, like eight years ago in the very first cars on this platform. Who would have thought that one of the few shortcomings of the MQB cart would be a carefully guarded tradition!

However, other fundamental values ​​are in place, such as the measured effort on the moderately sharp handlebars and the understandable, grippy chassis. Let’s say that you will hardly be able to get high from “Kodiak”, but unlike “Sorento” it does not cause feelings of disunity either. Would you say that all this is not very relevant in the context of large family crossovers? And I will answer that naturalness and convenience are never superfluous - ultimately, this is also a matter of comfort.

Test drive Kia Sorento and Skoda Kodiaq

Still there is a new eight-speed "automatic", which has already been implanted by "Karoku" and "Octavia" with the same 150-horsepower 1.4 engine! But no, the Kodiak still has a six-speed DSG, and it does not carry any revelations. In normal mode, it is lazy and thoughtful, in sports mode it creates unnecessary fuss, but as you spur it, it will give a convincing acceleration for an instant gear change. According to the passport, Sorento is slower by 0,3 seconds to hundreds - and it feels like too, even if its aspirated 2.5 outperforms this turbo engine by 30 forces, yielding only 18 Nm of torque.

But it is not the dynamics itself that is more important, but the convenience of its control: the classic "hydromechanics" of Kia is far from ideal. In transient modes, with sudden rearrangements in city traffic, the gearbox regularly gets confused in gears, twitches, surprises with jerks - although the rest of the time it works adequately. As with the suspension, it is not these moments themselves that upset, but their unpredictability - and therefore Skoda with long-learned flaws is again closer to me.

Test drive Kia Sorento and Skoda Kodiaq

And this is a more serious factor than it might seem at first glance. Cars Volkswagen and Skoda have long gone through a crisis of mistrust caused by fragile "robots", oil-hungry engines and glitchy electrics - but the Koreans seem to have all this just ahead.

In general, everything has somehow become more complicated. The Koreans made a giant breakthrough in terms of design, interior features and electronics, but they took half a step back in sledding disciplines and suddenly broke through in reliability. And yes, from "Kodiak" I still want to yawn until my muscles hurt - but if from these two cars I had to choose not an attraction for a week, but a position in a loan agreement for several years, now it would be Skoda that would be written there.

Test drive Kia Sorento and Skoda Kodiaq
A typeCrossoverCrossover
Length / width / height, mm4697 / 1882 / 16814810 / 1900 / 1690
Wheelbase, mm27912815
Cargo space, l635705
Curb weight, kg16841779
engine's typeBenz. turbochargedBenz. atmospheric
Working volume, cubic meters cm13952497
Max. power, h.p. (at rpm)150 / 5000-6000180 / 6000
Max. cool. moment, Nm (at rpm)250 / 1500-3500232 / 4000
Drive type, transmissionFull, RCP6Full, AKP6
Max. speed km / h194195
Acceleration from 0 to 100 km / h, s10,010,3
Fuel consumption, l / 100 km7,58,9
Price from, $.24 11428 267


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