Kia's comprehensive revision of new SorentoBy Chris Walsh
November 06, 2012
Less than three years into its latest guise, Kia’s no-nonsense SUV has been comprehensively revised.
Sitting somewhere between a facelift and an all-new model, the front-to-rear and top-to-bottom re-engineering of the car has done a lot to improve safety, comfort, luxury and driving dynamics while lowering fuel consumption, emissions and running costs.
There is also an all-new platform to contend with, offering a more rigid bodyshell with additional front, side and rear structures to disperse impact energy.
Torsional stiffness has been increased by 18 per cent compared with the previous model, thanks to the use of 25 per cent ultra-high-strength steels in the body construction.
This should ensure the new Sorento maintains the crucial five-star Euro-NCAP safety rating awarded to the previous model, despite increasingly tougher test conditions.
All versions of New Sorento are now powered by a revised version of Kia’s 2.2-litre CRDi turbodiesel engine, driving all four wheels via a six-speed manual gearbox or the company’s’ six-speed automatic.
A new exhaust-gas recirculation system has helped the Sorento achieve class-leading fuel economy and CO2 emissions of 47.9mpg and 155 g/km (for the manual), which in turn rewards the customer with a saving of around £155 in the first year’s road tax.
Automatic versions of the new Sorento have Kia’s Active ECO feature, which adjusts the operation of the engine and transmission to promote maximum fuel economy.
Returns of 42.2 mpg and 175 g/km with the 17-inch wheels fitted are likely.
Performance-wise, the 2.2-litre CRDi engine develops 194bhp at 3,800rpm and 422Nm of torque from just 1,800rpm, which should give the Sorento enough grunt to get around the muddy bits.
Otherwise, a not so impressive 0-60mph of 9.4 seconds and a top speed of 118 mph is all that is left to comment on.
The new platform has improved space for passengers in rows two and three without any increase in the car’s overall footprint or wheelbase.
The middle row has an extra 30mm of knee room while the third row gains an extra 9.
All occupants benefit from better surroundings, with general improvements in the soft-touch materials used around the cabin and higher levels of equipment for all four trim grades – ‘KX-1’, ‘KX-2’, ‘KX-2 Sat-Nav’ and ‘KX-3’.
In ‘KX-3’ the standard three-dial instrument cluster has been replaced by a 7-inch TFT LCD multi-function high-definition display, which really demonstrates just how far Kia have come.
In all models dual-zone automatic climate control with rear-seat air ventilation is fitted, allowing all occupants to fine-tune the temperature in their area of the cabin.
Additional equipment to be found as standard on all versions of the new Sorento includes projection headlamps with cornering lights, rear air ventilation, LED daytime running lamps, cruise control, reversing sensors, high-performance dampers and MDPS steering.
Prices for the entry-level 2.2 CRDi manual ‘KX-1’ start from £26,495 while prices top out at £35,095 for the 2.2 CRDi Automatic ‘KX-3’.
Deliveries are expected around December.