Finally got the chance to drive the enhanced Kia Sorento over 7 days and must say it is a much improved version, than it’s predecessor. This is in looks, as well as drive feel, to materials used in the cabin as well. It comes with a bit of fanfare, having won won red dot and iF Design Awards Globally. It is now a worthy flagbearer for the KIA brand.
The first thing you notice about the Sorento, is it’s length. It has a bit of stretch to it, and there are no rails on the roof. The new front end comes with a more detailed grille, with new headlamps and LED Daytime Running lights the higher spec models, which we drove. It has a larger bumper front and rear, with fog lights, which give it a confident look.
Enhancements to the rear design also include a new bumper design, sleeker taillamps, and a subtly revised tailgate. All models ride on newly designed 18-inch alloy wheels shod with 235/60 R18 rubber. All models feature a full-sized spare wheel.
Inside, Sorento has a far more premium look, and I love the low dashline. It oozes class, without the clutter & unnecessary appendages on it, with so many other models. A solid steering wheel & very premium leather seats, new gearshift lever all go a long way to making an attractive picture. It is a genuine 7-seater with a 40/20/40 split for folding down seats, and they can be lowered by handles in the cargo bay.
It has a cavernous boot space without the 7-seat option, offering 605 litres of luggage space, and also features an under-floor tonneau cover storage compartment and integrated cargo net to secure loose items. The enhanced Sorento LX features a raft of standard specification that includes, but is not limited to, dual zone automatic air-conditioning, automatic headlamp control (incorporating ‘Welcome Home’ and ‘Escort’ lighting), auto-folding and heated side mirrors with integrated side indicators, electric windows front and rear, and rear USB ports.
All derivatives feature a new 8-inch colour touchscreen with embedded Satellite Navigation, from which occupants can also control audio, whether it is a favourite radio station, via the USB/Aux jacks, or through their mobile device via Apple CarPlay (and Android Auto, once released in South Africa). Sorento is equipped with 6 speakers.
Engines & Transmission.
The Sorento comes with the tried and tested 2.2-litre ‘R’ turbodiesel engine, which is has excellent mid- and low-range torque. The engine produces 147 kW of power at 3 800 r/min, with maximum torque of 440 Nm available between 1 750 and 2 750 r/min. It reaches 100 km/h in 9,4 seconds, with a top speed of 203 km/h.
The enhanced Sorento is the first SUV from KIA available with the company’s new eight-speed automatic transmission. It is far more effective than the previous 6- speed version. I found it to be smooth and easy changing, a little bit of changing down was needed at altitude. The new transmission offers four different drive modes: Eco, Comfort, Sport and Smart.
An Electric Parking Brake with Auto Hold Function is also standard, as is Cruise Control.
Sorento features a full complement of safety and driver assistance systems, including ABS brakes with Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), six airbags and ISOFIX child seat anchors. The all-electric windows also have a safety function that automatically halts the window closing if an obstruction – like a child’s hand – is detected. Drivers will also benefit from Electronic Stability Control (ESC) and Hill-start Assist, while all models feature Park Distance Control at the rear, linked to a reverse camera displayed on the 8-inch colour touchscreen.
All Sorento models ship as standard with KIA’s industry-leading unlimited kilometre, five year warranty, as well as a standard 5-year/100,000km service plan and 3-years of roadside assistance.
KIA Sorento 2.2 CRDI LX R569,995
KIA Sorento 2.2 CRDI LX AWD R609,995
KIA Sorento 2.2 CRDI EX R599,995
KIA Sorento 2.2 CRDI EX AWD R639,995
In summary, the Sorento drives like a proper SUV, as it should not coming off a bakkie platform, as so many of the more popular large SUV’s do in SA. It drives great, has premium touches, and has a lot of space and comfort. It certainly should be on a list of choices for this segment.