Luxurious, large and lavishly equipped, Kia’s Sorento might just be the car to prove you can have your cake and eat it.

The third-generation sports utility vehicle packs in seven seats, an eight-speed automatic gearbox and potential 40mpg fuel consumption.

If that’s still not enough to catch your eye, then the sporty new GT-Line S version that sits at the top of the range certainly will.

Riding on 19-inch double five-spoke alloy wheels, it has an aluminium side step, ice cube-style front fog lights, red brake callipers, twin exhaust pipes and LED headlights with a dynamic bending function.

Inside, there are black leather seats with light grey stitching, a perforated leather-trimmed steering wheel and a GT-Line design leather gear shift.

Power for all versions comes from a 197 horsepower, 2.2-litre turbodiesel engine, driving all wheels through electronically-controlled four-wheel-drive. An engine stop/start system ensures no fuel is used and no emissions are released when the car comes to a halt.

Kia said when work started on the car it was in something of a quandary about whether to make the third-generation more sophisticated than the outgoing model or to retain its towing and off-roading capability and in the end, it was able to do both.

On the move the Sorento delivers a luxury-car ride and surprisingly precise handling for such a large vehicle, thanks in part to all-independent self-levelling suspension and electrically-powered steering.

The test car also came with a drive mode selector, allowing you to choose between five steering modes, from a more comfort-oriented setting to one which is firmer and sportier. It also modifies the automatic transmission shift pattern accordingly.

The all-wheel-drive system normally delivers 100 per cent of engine torque to the front wheels, but it can be redistributed up to a maximum of 60:40 front-to-rear to enhance cornering stability, or if road conditions deteriorate.  For off-road driving, owners can manually select lock mode, which gives a 50:50 torque split at speeds of up to 25mph.

Hill-start assist control prevents roll-back when setting off uphill and all versions have trailer stability assist to make towing safer, by continuously monitoring vehicle stability and gently applying braking to the relevant side of the vehicle if it detects a potential loss of control.

Safety and convenience technologies fitted to the car include adaptive smart cruise control to maintain a gap to the vehicle ahead, a speed limit information function, a 360-degree around view monitor which is a great help for parking in tight spaces, smart park assist system  with reverse and parallel parking functions, rear cross traffic alert  to prevent you from backing out of a parking space into the path of an approaching vehicle, lane keep assist system, blind spot detection and  forward collision avoidance assist.

Other neat touches allow the second-row seat remote folding mechanisms to be operated from within the boot, along with a powered tailgate which can be set to different heights.

As the company’s flagship SUV in the UK, the Sorento has plenty of space and versatility, thanks to an increase in overall length compared with its predecessor and an 80mm longer wheelbase. Sleeker looks are helped by a 15mm reduction in height and a slightly wider body when measured against the previous model. As a result there is ample space in all three rows of seats and more luggage capacity.

Top that off with Kia’s seven-year, 100,000-mile warranty and the Sorento looks a rather tasty offering.

Auto facts

Model: Kia Sorento 2.2 CRDi GT-Line S

Price: £42,950

Insurance group: 25 (1-50)

Fuel consumption (combined): 39.2mpg

Top speed: 127mph

Length: 480cm/188.5in

Width: 189cm/74.2in

Luggage capacity: 23.3 cu ft (five seats in place)

Fuel tank capacity: 15.6 gallons/71 litres

CO2 emissions: 161 g/km

Warranty: Seven years/ 100,000 miles