BY Padraic Deane
Kia is a car manufacturer on the move with five model replacements and another four new entry models arriving in the next three years.
The latest is the new third-generation Sorento SUV, which features a new design while remaining distinctly recognisable. It is now longer, slightly wider, but it sits lower.
The additional space in the cabin is put to good use with increased headroom for occupants in all three rows, and greater legroom.
Cargo space also increases, with a longer cargo bay floor, and capacity with the third row seats folded flat. There is also a new under-floor tonneau cover storage compartment
The new Sorento has a more premium, modern look and feel, and although the styling changes are evolutionary, the new model has a bolder on-the-road presence. It gets here early next month (March ).
The new Sorento’s key rivals includes the Hyundai Santa Fe from the same Korean family with which it shares a common platform. The Hyundai costs a little less, but it does not have sat-nav as standard and it is also due a facelift later this year. The Mitsubishi's Outlander would also be a direct rival.
The five seat EX starts at €38,995 ex-works, while the main selling seven-seater platinum trim starts at €43,995 with 149g/km CO2 emissions for the manual transmission version, and €390 annual road tax. The automatic adds about €3,000, but the emissions rise to 177g/km pushing road tax up to €750pa. The Sorento has a new system in the catalytic converter, which helps lower CO2 emissions.
The new model also offers increased body torsional rigidity and 14 per cent yielding better handling and crash performance. It also helps improve noise, vibration and harshness characteristics to increase refinement.
Inside the new Sorento is where some of the most significant improvements are to be found.
Kia’s designers have created a more stylish, more luxurious cabin, featuring significantly higher quality materials. It is also spacious and practical.
The dash includes a seven-inch touchscreen, which delivers sat-nav and a reversing camera standard. The new Sorento buyers will be able to specify a choice of interiors.
Buyers of the new Sorento will be able to choose from a wealth of ‘active’ safety technologies – depending on market.
The platinum version has full leather and heated seats with electrically adjustment as standard. Air-con, Bluetooth, cruise control, panoramic sunroof and 17 inch alloys are also part of a generous spec.
The new Sorento also debuts a number of new, advanced on-board technologies to improve convenience and further enhance the ownership experience.
Available in five or seven-seat versions, the new Sorento features 40/20/40 second row split folding for improved versatility, with a higher folding centre armrest. The second row seats of the seven-seat version are equipped with ‘remote folding’, controlled by two levers for the second row, and also slide to allow easy entry and exit to the third row of seats.
Kia says its engineers worked to improve every aspect of the new Sorento’s driving experience, creating upgrades for the engines, such as higher compression in the most popular 2.2 CRDi turbo-diesel – now a wider range, 200 PS and great torque (pulling power ). It also delivers a more precise steering and more comfortable suspension. On the road you feel the improvements in ride comfort, high-speed stability and handling response. Engine noise has also been reduced.
The new Sorento will be offered with a 2.4-litre petrol direct injection (GDI ) unit.
Although the new Sorento has grown in size, Kia says it has still realised improvements to the car’s fuel economy and emissions.
The new vehicle’s base CO2 emissions start from 149g/km for the 2.2-litre turbo-diesel engine, expected to be the best-selling model in the Sorento range across Europe. This represents an improvement of 2.6 per cent, while fuel economy is improved by 1.7 per cent to 5.7 litres per 100 km (manual models on 17-inch wheels ).
The new Kia Sorento has been awarded the maximum five-star crash safety rating by Euro NCAP. And of course every Kia sold in Europe, comes with Kia’s unique seven-year, 150,000km factory warranty.