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|With a focus on sleek design, better road manners and more flexibility, Kia decided to completely re-invent the Sorento when it began planning the new model. But there was also the shift in usage to take into account. Today's SUV buyers are younger, increasingly likely to be female and often wealthy urbanites who want the car for family use rather than the traditional country lifestyle. Sophistication, refinement, design and quality matter more than ruggedness and go-anywhere ability.|
So, Kia tasked its design studios in California, an area where they know a thing or two about lifestyle SUVs, to undertake much of the work on the new model, although Chief Design Officer Peter Schreyer masterminded the project. The result is a car with urban sophistication, premium levels of quality and equipment and MPV-like space and versatility - and we make no apologies if it is not quite as rough 'n' tough as before.
Seven seats were deemed essential so the new Sorento can satisfy the demands of buyers who see it as an alternative to an MPV, though a five-seat option remains available, too. Reductions in weight and aerodynamic drag were also high up the list of priorities to make the new Sorento quieter, more satisfying to drive and more fuel-efficient. And it had to be easily recognised as a modern Kia.
And here it is - the more stylish, more upmarket, more efficient but still highly capable anywhere, any time new Sorento. It is lower (by15mm) and longer (+95mm) than the model it replaces, and it sits 19mm closer to the ground. All of this has led to a significant reduction in drag - the Cd is now only 0.38 compared to 0.425 for the previous model. With its wedge profile, crisply defined greenhouse and accentuated wheelarches, the new Sorento is modern, sporty and futuristic.
At Kia, we know families can never have too much room. So, the proportions of the new Sorento have been completely changed to create space for seating in three rows. There has also been some detailed pruning of interior components to save every unnecessary millimetre. The wheelbase has been reduced, the A-pillars and the dashboard have been moved forwards, the tailgate has been moved rearwards and the first and second row seats are slimmer.
The new Sorento appears less aggressive and more socially acceptable as a result of the reduction in height, yet occupants in all three rows benefit from a more spacious feeling. It has wholesome accommodation in the third row. Access is also improved, as the H-point for the front and second row seats is lower.
In all versions, the second row has ample space for three passengers and features 60:40 split seats that double fold. The third row of seats (standard with diesel versions) is split 50:50 - both halves fold fully flat.
Luggage space in the new Sorento is 15 per cent greater than before as a result of shifting the tailgate back. When using the vehicle as a five-seater, with the third-row seats folded down, total capacity is 531 litres - 96 more than in the previous model. Cargo capacity with all seats upright in the seven-seater is 111 litres, and a massive 1525 litres when the centre and rear rows of seats are folded.
Family safety on all roads
All Kias are safe cars and for the new Sorento, with a more family focused SUV role, safety was given just as high a priority. This has resulted in the new Sorento becoming the third Kia, after the cee'd and Soul, to be awarded a full five-star Euro NCAP safety rating.
The safety specification of the new Sorento is uniform across the range - there are no class barriers when it comes to protecting lives. Particular attention was paid to the B-pillar areas, where a roll-over hoop is incorporated and very strong steel is used in the side sills and the floor cross members. Additional side impact protection is provided by re-designed interior door trim panels, which are absorbent.
To make accidents avoidable, every Sorento has anti-lock brakes (ABS) with Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) to allow drivers to steer and brake simultaneously in emergencies and to ensure the stopping effort is directed to the wheels with most grip.
They also have Electronic Stability Control (ESC) featuring Downhill Brake Control (DBC). ESC automatically corrects any tendency of the car to go out of control through understeer or oversteer, by braking individual wheels, reducing engine torque or both in slippery conditions or if the driver has entered a bend too quickly. DBC maintains a steady speed of 5mph on steep descents. There is also Hill-start Assist Control (HAC) to prevent wheel spin or roll-back when setting off on steep or greasy upslopes.
Six airbags (twin front, side and side curtains) are standard, as are active front headrests that prevent or mimimise whiplash injuries should the Sorento be hit from behind. There are also front seatbelt pre-tensioners and load limiters.
Socially responsible drivetrains
New diesel and petrol engines, new six-speed transmissions and the choice of front- or four-wheel drive mean there is a Sorento to suit all types of use while keeping fuel consumption and emissions low - to the benefit of pockets and the environment.
There are seven models powered by our new 2.2-litre 'R' diesel engine, first seen in the 2010 face-lifted Sedona. But we continue to provide a petrol alternative for the minority who require it. The 2.4-litre Gamma engine is available with Sorento 1 specification, front-wheel drive and five seats.
By every measurement, the new 'R' diesel engine from Kia is better than the engine it replaces, producing more power, greater torque, less emissions and all with a more efficient fuel consumption.
The fuel economy and emissions of every new Sorento are truly impressive, as the table below demonstrates. Diesel versions are capable of up to 43.5mpg, and even the petrol model comfortably exceeds 30mpg.
The essential figures
It delivers 100 per cent of engine torque to the front wheels during routine city and highway driving, but whenever a front wheel loses grip a variable percentage of torque is automatically transferred to the rear wheels to maintain forward motion.
For improved traction and greater safety in slippery conditions, the driver can manually select lock mode. This splits the torque 50:50 between the front and rear axles for better stability, and maintains that split up to a speed of 19mph.
Traction is also boosted by the Hill-start Assist Control (HAC), which prevents wheelspin and slipping backwards when setting off, and Downhill Brake Control (DBC), which limits vehicle speed to just 5mph during steep descents.
The best of everything
The new Sorento is a premium SUV that combines the best elements of modern road-biased models with the right degree of traditional 4x4 all-terrain ability and towing capability.
The biggest change over the previous model is the adoption of monocoque construction in place of the previous body-on-frame arrangement. While we acknowledge that this entails a reduction in towing capacity and ultimate off-road ability compared with the previous car, we are convinced that the new Sorento is now better engineered to meet the needs of 21st-century SUV buyers. And it comfortably out-performs the majority of rivals in a towing contest. The outgoing Sorento was a monster tow car, capable of pulling 3,500 kg, the maximum allowed by law, so the reduction in tow capacity still makes it a highly competent tow vehicle by any measure.
Sophisticated fully-independent suspension gives a ride-and-handling balance to rival the best vehicles in class and speed-sensitive hydraulically-assisted power steering makes the car more responsive and more manoeuvrable. The result is precise and rewarding driving, shifting the bias towards the on-road experience, in terms of ride quality and steering feel, while retaining the vast majority of the previous model's off-road abilities.
To top it off we've given our new car the best warranty in Europe. Kia believes in putting its money where its mouth is and the best-in-Europe seven year warranty made famous on the Kia cee'd is now available on the new Sorento, giving seven years peace of mind to the buyer, and anyone that owns the car in the first seven years of it's life. An unbeatable offering from Kia, living up to its slogan The Power to Surprise.
Four trim grades
In keeping with modern Kia practice of using numbers to denote trim grades, there are four simple trim options, badged Sorento 1, KX-2, KX-2 and KX-3. The 'KX' denotes a four-wheel drive equipped Sorento, where the entry level Sorento 1 is two-wheel drive. The generous specification, even on Sorento 1, is lavish, giving the look and feel of a premium vehicle.
There is black wood-grain dash and door trim to co-ordinate with the black cloth upholstery, while Sorento KX-2 and KX-3 have metallic finish dash/door trim and black leather upholstery. The Sorento KX-3 also offers buyers the option of cream leather, at no extra cost.
Leather trimmed steering wheel and gearshift knob are standard across the range. Sorento 1 has manual air conditioning and the mid-range and upper versions have dual climate control.
For music fans, Sorento 1 has a six-speaker audio system with RDS radio, CD player, MP3 compatibility, USB and Aux. sockets and an iPod cable. Upgrade to Sorento KX-2 and you also get steering wheel-mounted audio controls, while Sorento KX-3 adds a six-CD autochanger and an additional front-centre speaker, external amp and sub-woofer. All audios feature Kia's innovative 'PowerBase' technology to overcome the inherent challenges of an in-car sound system and deliver concert hall-quality sound.
For comfort and convenience, all models have driver's seat height adjustment and tilt-and-telescopic steering wheel adjustment, all-round electric windows with auto-down on the driver's side.
Sorento KX-2 also comes with chromed exterior door handles, cruise control, auto up/down on the driver's window, folding door mirrors with integrated LED indicator repeaters, heated front seats, privacy glass and reversing sensors.
And for the full luxury experience, Sorento KX-3 adds 18- instead of 17-inch alloy wheels, rain-sensing front wipers, aluminium illuminated door scuff plates, an electric panoramic sunroof, an electrically-adjustable driver's seat with lumbar support, a smart key with stop/start button ignition, xenon headlamps with auto levelling, rear spoiler and LED rear lights.
Sorento range pricing
Metallic/mica paint £424
Self-levelling suspension (4WD only) £500
BEAUTY AS WELL AS BRAWN
Just because it's tough it needn't lack style
The world of SUVs has changed enormously in the years since the outgoing Sorento was conceived. Climate change and global warming have become everyday topics of conversation. Anything that smacks of conspicuous consumption is frowned upon, if not regarded as plain anti-social. SUVs have had to adapt or die.
It is against this background that the design team under CDO Peter Schreyer set out to re-invent the Sorento, with much of the work being carried out at Kia's Californian studios. The result is a car with urban sophistication, premium levels of quality and equipment and MPV-like space and versatility - and we make no apologies if it is not quite as rough 'n' tough as before. It is still more than capable of fulfilling the needs of all types of SUV buyers.
Seven seats were deemed essential so that the new Sorento can satisfy the demands of buyers who might want an alternative to an MPV, though a five-seat option remains available, too. Reductions in weight and aerodynamic drag were also high up the list of priorities to make the new Sorento quieter, more satisfying to drive and more fuel-efficient. And it had to look like a modern Kia, with a clear link to the Soul and the revised Sedona and cee'd ranges.
The result is a car that is lower (by15mm) and longer (+95mm) than the model it replaces, and that sits 19mm closer to the ground. All of this has led to a significant reduction in drag - the Cd is now only 0.38 compared to 0.425 for the previous model. With its wedge profile, crisply defined greenhouse and accentuated wheelarches, the new Sorento is modern, sporty and futuristic.
The bold front incorporates a new variation of Kia's tiger nose grille that blends seamlessly into four-light, black-bezel wrap-around headlamps. Although the vehicle's width is unchanged, the overall stance is much stronger because the track has been widened by 38 mm (front) and 41 mm (rear) compared with the previous model, pushing the wheels to the outer edges of the arches.
The rising upper belt line and unique trapezoid C-pillars give the new Sorento a highly distinctive profile. Rugged lower character lines emphasise that this is still a highly capable off-road and towing car. The visual impact is boosted by alloy wheels of 17 or 18 inches in diameter.
The rear window stretches to the outer edges of the deliberately simple tailgate to give a hint of the space within. There are large LED-look multi-colour rear combination lamps (full LED combination lamps on Sorento KX-3 and a two-tone bumper with black lower mesh garnish. LED lamps are also used for the indicators in the door mirror housings on KX-2 and KX-3.
A two-part glass panorama roof is standard on Sorento KX-3. The rear section is fixed, while the front section is powered and can be tilted for ventilation or slid fully back. Inside, a multi-position roller blind allows the level of shade within the cabin to be finely adjusted.
The look of the interior complements the sophisticated exterior and ensures that, from the moment they open a door, buyers are left in no doubt that the Sorento has taken big steps forward in terms of quality, space and style.
The sweeping dashboard design fuses seamlessly into the matching door trims and is characterised by high-quality fit and discreet trim accents. It is dominated by a neatly ordered tall centre stack, with three distinct displays, all backlit in subtle red lighting, separated by rows of large, logically arranged buttons.
The instruments are housed in what has become Kia's trademark overlapping 'three-cylinder' arrangement, now with high-tech 3-D effects - on the KX-3 - and white illumination. The hooded dials not only look stylish but prevent reflections. They are viewed through a four-spoke steering wheel - another Kia trademark - with metallic-effect lower spokes. Audio controls are mounted on the steering wheel spokes in Sorento KX-2 and KX-3.
The driver control area is finished with leather around the steering wheel and gearlever knob. In all manual versions the instruments contain a gearshift indicator to advise drivers of the most economical point to upshift.
Sorento KX-3 is further distinguished by Kia's new Supervision cluster, containing a message centre that gives digital information about average and instant fuel consumption, current fuel level, range-to-empty, average speed, elapsed journey time and engine temperature and 'door and tailgate open' alerts.
Sorento 1 and KX-1 versions have black cloth upholstery and black woodgrain dash and door trims, while Sorento KX-2 and KX-3 have black leather upholstery and a metallic finish to the dash and door cappings. Alternatively, Sorento KX-3 can be ordered with cream leather upholstery at no extra cost on certain exterior colours.
The style and quality of the dash fittings is carried through to the door trim. All versions have metallic interior door handles, and Sorento KX-2 and KX-3 add cloth-wrapped door pillars and sun visors. There are also illuminated aluminium scuff plates on Sorento KX-3, giving the car a sophisticated and welcoming ambience when you step aboard at night. Once inside the cabin, the mood lighting and chrome finish accents around the air vents, audio dials, instrument cluster housing and even the cupholders attest to the car's status as a premium SUV of the highest quality.
We've given it an extra couple of seats
The role of the SUV has changed since the last Sorento was designed and engineered. Today's owners are likely to be urbanites who want the car for family use rather than the traditional country lifestyle. They often choose an SUV instead of a premium family saloon/estate or an MPV. Sophistication, refinement and quality have replaced ruggedness and go-anywhere ability as priorities.
It is against this background that the design team under chief design officer Peter Schreyer set out to re-invent the Sorento. And one of the first decisions they made was to give the new Sorento a unitary monocoque construction in place of the traditional body-on-frame arrangement. They also opted for seven-seat functionality, though a five-seater version remains available for buyers who will never need the full flexibility of a seven-seater.
At Kia, we know families can never have too much room. So, the new Sorento is longer (by 95mm) than the model it replaces to create space for seating in three rows. This necessitated a major shift in the proportions of the car, as well as some careful pruning of interior components to save every unnecessary millimetre. The wheelbase has been reduced by 10mm to 2700mm, the A-pillars and the dashboard have been moved forwards, the tailgate has been moved rearwards and the first and second row seats are slimmer.
The new Sorento is also lower (by 15mm) so that it is appears less aggressive, yet occupants in all three rows benefit from greater space. Headroom is increased by up to 64mm and legroom by up to 102mm compared with the previous model. There is also more shoulder room, despite no increase in width.
Comparison of exterior dimensions (mm)
In all versions the second row has ample space for three passengers and features 60:40 split seats that double fold, either to make it easier to enter and exit the third row or to create more cargo room when full seating capacity is not required.
The third row of seats (standard with diesel verions) is split 50:50. Both halves fold fully flat to give the option of a vast level cargo bay. The second-row seats have adjustable reclining backs and double-fold forward for easy rear-row access.
Every new Sorento driver will be able to create the ideal driving environment thanks to the multi-adjustable seat and standard tilt-and-telescopic adjustable steering wheel. The fore/aft range of seat travel has been increased by 25mm to accommodate the tallest of drivers.In Sorento KX-3, the driver's seat is electrically adjustable and features variable lumbar support.
All drivers should also benefit from the change to a floor-mounted, organ-type accelerator for smoother operation and enhanced crash safety.
Luggage space in the new Sorento is among the best in class and 15% greater than before as a result of shifting the tailgate back by 70mm. When using the vehicle as a five-seater, with the third-row seats folded, total capacity is now 531 litres � 96 more than in the previous model. Cargo capacity with all seats upright in the seven-seater is 111 litres, and a massive 1525 litres when the centre and rear rows of seats are folded down.
A low sill and high-lifting tailgate make it easy to load and unload, especially when tackling heavy or bulky items. There is a luggage area lamp to supplement the centre room lamp.
A standard tonneau cover and net hooks help secure luggage, and Sorento KX-2 and KX-3 also have a luggage net. All versions have a secure under-floor luggage box.
Cabin storage space has been boosted thanks to a redesigned and much larger centre console with a 15.9-litre capacity - 10.1 litres more than the previous Sorento. The twin cup-holders are positioned in tandem alongside the gear selector, to create room for the new console. Additional storage spaces include a large glovebox, an illuminated lower tray in the centre stack and four door pockets. The second row seat also features a folding centre armrest with twin cup-holders.
Comparison of interior dimensions (mm)
All Kias are safe cars, but for the new Sorento, with its revised role, safety was given the highest priority during the design and engineering stage. This has resulted in the new Sorento becoming the third Kia, after the cee'd and Soul, to be awarded a full five-star Euro NCAP safety rating, with scores of of 87% (adult), 84% (child), 44% (pedestrian) and 71% (safety assist) in the four categories of the test.
The safety specification of the new Sorento is uniform across the range - there are no class barriers when it comes to protecting lives. It starts with a stiff bodyshell featuring high-strength steel in critical areas to add strength. Particular attention was paid to the B-pillar areas, where a a roll-over hoop is incorporated and very strong steel is used in the side sills and the floor cross members. Additional side impact protection is provided by re-designed interior door trim panels with broader, flatter areas to minimise injuries to the pelvis.
In order to make accidents more avoidable, every Sorento has anti-lock brakes (ABS) with electronic brake-force distribution (EBD) to allow drivers to steer and brake simultaneously in emergencies, and to ensure the stopping effort is directed to the wheels with most grip.
They also have electronic stability control (ESC) featuring downhill brake control (DBC). ESC automatically corrects any tendency of the car to go out of control through understeer or oversteer by braking individual wheels, reducing engine torque or both in slippery conditions or if the driver has entered a bend too quickly and DBC maintains a steady 5mph speed on steep descents. There is also hill-start assist control (HAC) to prevent wheelspin or roll-back when setting off on steep or greasy upslopes. It works through the sensors that control the ESC system.
Six airbags (twin-front, side and side curtains) are standard, as are active front headrests that prevent or minimise whiplash injuries should the Sorento be hit from behind. There are also front seatbelt pre-tensioners and load limiters to minimise the wearer's body travel in an accident while limiting pressure on the chest. Three-point seat belts are fitted to every seat, and there are ISOFIX child-seat mounting points with top tethers and anchors. The front passenger airbag has a cut-off switch so that a rear-facing child seat can be safely carried there.
The Sorento model-by-model
New diesel and petrol engines, new six-speed transmissions, front- or four-wheel drive and, for the first time, five or seven seats - the new Kia Sorento offers buyers greater choice than ever within an eight-model line-up based on a three-tier trim and equipment range. The range will be badged to reflect both trim and two or four-wheel-drive and models will line-up as Sorento 1, Sorento KX-1, Sorento KX-2 and Sorento KX-3.
Seven of those models are powered by our new 2.2-litre 'R' diesel engine. But we continue to provide a petrol alternative for the minority who require it. The 2.4-litre Gamma engine is available with Sorento 1 specification, front-wheel drive and five seats.
All diesel models are seven-seaters. Sorento 1 and KX-1 offer every combination of manual/automatic transmission and front/four-wheel drive; Sorento KX-2 is four-wheel-drive only, manual or automatic; while Sorento KX-3 has the best of everything - our terrific new six-speed automatic gearbox and the torque-on-demand all-wheel drive system.
The equipment specification, even on Sorento 1, is lavish, giving the feel of a premium vehicle even before you open the door. Approach the car and your eyes fall upon 17 inch alloy wheels, standard body-coloured door handles and electric heated door mirrors, a chrome grille and rear garnish, front door courtesy lamps and tinted glass. All models have roof rails and towing hooks, and four-wheel-drive versions have black side garnish and sill mouldings.
Step aboard. Sorento 1 and KX-1 have black wood-grain dash and door trim to co-ordinate with the black cloth upholstery, while Sorento KX-2 and KX-3 have metallic finish dash/door trim and black leather upholstery. Sorento KX-3 also offers buyers the no-cost option of cream leather, depending on exterior colour.
There is leather steering wheel and gearshift knob trim across the range. Sorento 1 and KX-1 have manual air conditioning and the mid-range and upper versions have dual-zone automatic climate control with a cluster ioniser and eight-speed fan.
For music fans, Sorento 1 and KX-1 have a six-speaker audio system with RDS radio, CD player, MP3 compatibility, USB and AUX sockets and an iPod cable. Upgrade to Sorento KX-2 and you also get steering wheel-mounted audio controls, while Sorento KX-3 adds a six-CD autochanger and an additional front-centre speaker, external amp and sub-woofer. All audios feature Kia's innovative PowerBase technology - first seen on the Soul. This system employs psychoacoustic audio technology to overcome the inherent challenges of an in-car sound system and deliver concert hall-quality sound with lively reproduction of bass tones.
All versions have double reclining front seats and reclining and folding second-row seats, while diesel models have flat-folding third-row seats. Storage includes a centre console storage box, an armrest with cupholder in the second-row seats, front and rear map pockets, an illuminated lockable glovebox, a sunglasses case, front seat-back pockets and a luggage area with lamp, tonneau cover, net hooks and an under-floor luggage box.
The comprehensive safety and security specification is made up of anti-lock brakes (ABS) with electronic brake-force distribution (EBD), electronic stability control (ESC) with downhill brake control (DBC), front active head restraints, six airbags with passenger's side cut-off switch, front seatbelt pre-tensioners and load limiters, height-adjustable head restraints on all seats, impact and speed-sensing door unlocking/locking, ISOFIX child seat mounting points with top tethers and anchors, deadlocks, remote central locking and childproof rear locks.
For comfort and convenience, all models have driver's seat height adjustment and tilt-and-telescopic steering wheel adjustment, and four electric windows with auto-down on the driver's side.
Sorento KX-2 also comes with chromed exterior door handles, cruise control, auto up/down on the driver's window, folding door mirrors with integrated LED indicator repeaters, heated front seats, a luggage net, privacy glass and reversing sensors.
And for the full luxury experience, Sorento KX-3 adds 18- instead of 17-inch alloy wheels, rain-sensing front wipers, aluminium illuminated door scuff plates, an electric panoramic sunroof and an electrically-adjustable driver's seat with lumbar support, front headlamp washers, interior chrome accents, LED rear combination lamps and mood lighting in the front doors, a smart key and stop/start button ignition and xenon headlamps with auto levelling.
What you get with each trim level
Three interior grab handles
3-point seat belts for all five seats
12-volt power sockets front and rear
17-inch alloy wheels with 235/65 tyres
60:40 split second-row seats
ABS with EBD
HAC (Hill Start Assist Control)
ESC with DBC (Downhill Brake Control) and TC (Traction Control)
Advanced anti-theft system with immobiliser and alarm
Armrest with cupholder in second-row seats
Black cloth upholstery
Black side garnish (4WD versions only)
Black sill moulding
Black wood-grain dash and door trim
Body-coloured door handles and electric heated door mirrors
Centre console storage box
Centre room lamp
Childproof rear locks
Chrome rear garnish
Day and night rear-view mirror
Driver's seat height adjustment
Foot-operated parking brake (automatic versions)
Front and rear electric windows with auto-down on driver's side
Height-adjustable head restraints for all seats with active head restraints for front seats
Front and rear foglamps
Front and rear map pockets
Front door courtesy lamps
Front map lamp and sunglasses case
Front seatbelt pre-tensioners and load limiters
Front, side and side curtain airbags with passenger's side cut-off switch
Front wiper de-icer
Full-size alloy spare wheel
Gas bonnet strut
Illuminated lockable glovebox
Impact and speed-sensing door unlocking/locking
Instrument lighting rheostat
ISOFIX child set mounting points with top tethers and anchors
Leather steering wheel and gearshift knob trim
Luggage area lamp, tonneau cover and net hooks
Manual air conditioning with four-speed fan
Metallic finish to interior door handles
Particulate filter (diesel versions)
Rear wash/wipe system
Reclining and folding second-row seats
Six-speaker sound system
RDS radio with CD player, MP3 compatibility, USB and AUX. ports with iPod cable
Remote central locking with folding key
Seven-seat interior (diesel version)
Sun-visors with mirrors
Tilt and telescopic steering wheel adjustment
Under-floor luggage box
Variable intermittent front wipers
4WD Torque-on-demand system
Seven seats on diesel version
Sorento KX-2; As Sorento 1 and KX-1 specification, plus;
2.2-litre CRDi diesel engine
4WD torque-on-demand transmission
Automatic light control
Black leather upholstery
Chromed exterior door handles
Driver's window auto up/down
Dual-zone automatic climate-control with cluster ioniser and eight-speed fan
Folding door mirrors with integrated LED indicator repeaters
Heated front seats
Metallic finish dash/door trim
Privacy glass (rear side and tailgate windows)
Steering wheel-mounted audio controls
Vanity mirror lights
Sorento KX-3; As Sorento KX-2 specification, plus;
18-inch alloy wheels with 235/60 tyres
Aeroblade rain-sensing front wipers
Additional front centre speaker, external amp and sub-woofer
Aluminium illuminated door scuff plates
Cream leather upholstery (no-cost option � but exterior colour dependent)
Electric panoramic sunroof with safety function
Electrically-adjustable driver's seat with lumbar support
Front headlamp washers
High-tech supervision cluster
Interior chrome accents
LED rear combination lamps
Mood lighting in lower front doors and console tray
Smart key and stop/start button ignition
Xenon headlamps with auto levelling
THE TECHNICAL STORY
Engines, gearboxes, suspension, steering and brakes
The new Kia Sorento is a car that reflects its times. Featuring monocoque construction in favour of the previous body-on-frame arrangement; state-of-the art engines and transmissions, including a new 2.2-litre turbodiesel and six-speed automatic; fully independent suspension; torque-on-demand four-wheel drive or front-wheel drive; and the latest electronic safety aids, it addresses the environmental, running costs and safety concerns of buyers in full.
Kia has downsized one of the engines in new Sorento - the 2.2-litre diesel replaces the former 2.5 - and improved the efficiency of the 2.4-litre petrol unit, which was not previously available to UK customers. Later this year a new 2.0-litre diesel engine, related to the 2.2, will become available.
The 2.2-litre 'R' family turbodiesel
The all-new 'R' family of turbodiesel engines demonstrates Kia's world-class engineering capabilities. Ultimately, this family will include several different capacities, but the first unit to reach the European market is the 2.2-litre (2199cc), 194bhp unit first seen in the new Sedona.
This new engine comfortably out-performs most four-cylinder and many V6 diesel units from rival brands, while complying with EU5 emissions standards. The R2.2 engine benefits from a third-generation common-rail fuel-injection system with piezo-electric injectors that deliver diesel at high pressure (1800 bar) with an unprecedented degree of accuracy and control.
Outstanding features of the R2.2 engine include all-aluminium construction, an electronic variable geometry turbocharger (VGT), an advanced engine control unit with a 32-bit microprocessor, high-efficiency exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) with cooler and bypass valve, a chain-driven double overhead camshaft 16-valve intake/exhaust system with needle-roller bearings and hydraulic lash adjusters, a balancer shaft and a close-coupled diesel particulate filter.
Like the new Sorento's petrol engine, the diesel features weight-saving plastic components on the intake manifold (with swirl control valves), cylinder head cover and oil filter housing.
The R2.2 generates its maximum power of 194bhp at 3800rpm and 422Nm of torque from just 1800rpm.
When fitted with the R2.2 diesel, the new Sorento outperforms the 2.4-litre petrol versions, reaching 62mph from standstill in 9.4 seconds (manual) and 9.7 seconds with the automatic transmission in two-wheel-drive specification, and 9.6 and 10.0 seconds respectively with four-wheel drive. All versions have the same 118mph top speed.
Fuel economy is truly impressive, as the table below demonstrates. In the official combined cycle, two-wheel-drive models attain up to 43.5mpg, while four-wheel-drive versions are only slightly behind at 42.8mpg. CO2 emissions are between 171 and 194g/km.
The 2.4-litre Theta petrol engine
Kia's revised 2.4-litre 'Theta II' engine - not previously available to UK customers -is fitted with upgraded electronics and low-friction components, while also featuring lighter construction. It delivers more power, improved durability, enhanced refinement and reduced fuel consumption and emissions.
This twin-cam four-cylinder 2359 cc unit has continuously variable valve timing for both the intake and exhaust valves, four valves per cylinder and weight-saving all-aluminium construction. It is offered only with the six-speed manual transmission, five-seat configuration and two-wheel drive.
Maximum rpm is raised by 200 to 6000rpm, and maximum power output is 172bhp, with 225Nm of torque at a commendably low 3750rpm. The petrol Sorento accelerates from 0-62mph in 10.5 seconds, has a top speed of 118mph and achieves 33.2mpg on the official combined cycle, with CO2 emissions of 203g/km.
Special Theta II features include a silent timing chain, a single serpentine rubber belt to run the ancillaries, a catalytic converter integrated into the exhaust system to release more power, DLC-coated mechanical lash adjusters, redesigned exhaust ports that reduce exhaust gas temperature and improve fuel efficiency at high-speeds, and a vibration-damping balancer shaft.
The essential figures
New Sorento buyers are offered a choice of six-speed transmissions � manual or automatic - featuring high top gear ratios for reduced engine revs and improved fuel economy when cruising at higher speeds.
Both transmissions are new or upgraded. Developed primarily with European markets in mind, the six-speed manual transmission is manufactured in two versions, with different torque capacities for use with either the petrol or diesel engines.
Both have multi-cone synchronisation, optimised gear design, reduced weight, enhanced efficiency, reduced power loss, an optimised differential casing and enhanced durability up to 300,000 kilometres, and they are filled with low-viscosity oil. Both are maintenance-free units requiring no servicing during the life of the vehicle.
Kia's all-new, innovative six-speed automatic transmission, first seen on the revised Sedona, is the most compact six-speed unit currently available anywhere in the world. It has 62 fewer parts than the old five-speed unit, is 54mm shorter, weighs 12 kilos less and boosts fuel economy by up to 12%. Part of the improved fuel economy results from the innovative Neutral Control, which automatically shifts the transmission from D to N whenever the car is stopped for more than a few seconds - reducing engine load.
It incorporates a unique flat torque converter, which accounts for 12mm of the reduction in overall length, and features three planetary gearsets and four pinion differentials.A clever redesign of the hydraulic pressure control unit allows the transmission's eight solenoid valves to be individually calibrated at the assembly plant, to ensure ultra-fast, smooth and precise gearshifts throughout the engine speed range.
A gate-type shift pattern offers the driver a choice of two operating modes - fully automatic for town driving, and a sport mode for a more involving driving style. In this mode, the driver can perform clutchless sequential manual changes - up or down.
With this transmission the Hyundai-Kia Group joins an elite group of just three automotive manufacturers (the others are Toyota and GM/Ford), to have designed, developed and built their own six-speed automatic transmissions.
2WD and 4WD
The petrol-engined Sorento is sold in the UK as a front-wheel drive car with manual transmission and five seats, while the 2.2-litre diesel offers buyers a choice of two- or four-wheel drive, manual or automatic gearboxes and seven seats.
The 2WD drivetrain is 60 kg lighter than the 4WD system, giving enhanced fuel economy with lower emissions to buyers who are unlikely to ever need the full off-road capability of the torque-on-demand all-wheel-drive alternative. Yet on-road safety and driving capability are not compromised thanks to the standard stability and traction (ESP with TCS) systems that are linked to the ABS anti-lock brakes.
For buyers who regularly face difficult driving conditions, tow trailers up to 2500 kilos (depending on model) or go off-road, the 4WD drivetrain is an ideal compromise between capability and efficiency.
It is a single-ratio 4WD system, with a default status that delivers 100% of engine torque to the front wheels during routine city and highway driving.While in two-wheel drive mode, fuel efficiency is enhanced. Whenever a front wheel loses grip, a percentage of torque is automatically transferred to the rear wheels to maintain forward motion.
For improved traction and greater safety while driving in slippery conditions - such as rain, snow, mud, unpaved roads and off-road - the driver can manually select lock mode. This splits the torque 50:50 between the front and rear axles for better stability, and maintains that split up to a speed of 19mph. Once speed rises beyond that point, lock mode is disabled, automatically resuming when speed falls below 19mph again.
Traction is also boosted by the hill-start assist control (HAC), which prevents wheelspin and slipping backwards when setting off, and downhill brake control (DBC) that limits vehicle speed to just 5mph during steep descents.
Suspension and running gear
To ensure the new Sorento satisfies its role as a more road-focused SUV, Kia's chassis enginers have used the new monocoque construction and sophisticated fully-independent suspension system to give it a ride-and-handling balance to rival the best vehicles in class.
The new Sorento is precise and rewarding to drive, shifting the bias towards the on-road experience, in terms of ride quality and steering feel, while retaining the vast majority of the previous model's off-road abilities.
The suspension has been lowered by 10mm front and rear and the centre of gravity has been lowered by 54mm compared with the outgoing model. Depending on version, the front/rear weight distribution of the unladen vehicle ranges from 58/42% to 59.5/40.5%.
The basic suspension layout continues to be based on compact MacPherson struts at the front, mounted on a lightweight hydro-formed subframe, with a fully independent multi-link arrangement, also mounted on a subframe, at the rear.
The front subframe mountings and the rubber bushes throughout the suspension have been firmed up to deliver a more sporty ride and better steering feel, without affecting comfort or causing vibrations to be channeled into the cabin. The rear coil springs have been aligned to reduce side-loads and friction, and automatic self-levelling is available as a cost-option on 4WD diesel models to compensate for varying passenger and cargo loads.
But the new Sorento is still a capable off-road performer, with an approach angle of 25.1 degrees, a departure angle of 23.1 degrees and a ramp-over angle of 17.1 degrees.
For precise vehicle control and improved maoeuvrability, the steering is a speed-sensitive hydraulically-assisted rack-and-pinion system. The steering gear ratio has been raised to 15.35:1 from 17.6:1, and the steering is now more direct, requiring just three turns of the wheel lock-to-lock, compared to 3.7 previously.
All versions are equipped with anti-lock brakes (ABS) with electronic brake-force distribution (EBD) to allow drivers to steer and brake simultaneously in emergencies, and to ensure the stopping effort is directed to the wheels with most grip.
They also have electronic stability control (ESC) featuring downhill brake control (DBC). ESC automatically corrects any tendency of the car to go out of control � either through understeer or oversteer - by braking individual wheels, reducing engine torque or both in slippery conditions or if the driver has entered a bend too quickly, DBC maintains a steady 5mph speed on steep descents. There is also hill-start assist control (HAC) to prevent wheelspin or roll-back when setting off on steep or greasy upslopes. It works through the sensors that control the ESC system.
Attacking NVH (noise, vibration and harshness)
The new monocoque construction, independent suspension and modern drivetrains allowed the development team to make major improvements in refinement and NVH (noise, vibration and harshness). The stiff unitary bodyshell structure is an excellent basis - the new Sorento features a much higher percentage (70.4%) of high-tensile strength steel compared to the previous model (40%).
Significant improvements include reinforced engine bay front side members, tougher longitudinal front floor members, more rigid joints between the dashboard bulkhead and the floor, and stiffer rear wheel housings. The use of high-tensile steel in the B-pillars, and the floor and roof cross-members linking them, plus the side sills and side header rails, is a key factor in creating the stiffer structure.
The new bodyshell design was evolved alongside new designs for front and rear subframes that allow the engine and suspension to be precisely mounted from beneath the vehicle during assembly. These subframes also enabled the engineers to isolate the cabin and its occupants from road shocks and vibrations.
Other measures taken to reduce NVH include lining the engine bay bulkhead with new three-layer materials and injecting sound-dampening foam into the hollow sections of the bodyshell at key noise-transference points.Further noise-reducing actions include the creation of a more streamlined bodyshell with an aerodynamic drag figure of Cd 0.38, the use of 4mm thick glass in the front side windows, the optimised shaping of the A-pillar and door mirror housings to minimise wind noise, and the fitting of improved seals to the doors, especially at sill-level, and to the windows.
THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN-YEAR WARRANTY
Confidence in quality leaves the industry gasping
Kia set a new benchmark when it launched the cee'd in 2007 by equipping its ground-breaking model with an industry-best seven-year bumper-to-bumper warranty. Well that has now been extended to every model in the Kia range; from the Picanto city car to this all-new Sorento, every customer will get the seven year warranty Kia has become famous for.
That warranty is not just a headline-grabbing PR or marketing gimmick riddled with get-out clauses. The only stipulation to keep the warranty intact is that all servicing and repair work has to be undertaken to Kia specified standards, using original factory parts.
Kia's sensational warranty covers every major part of the car (except consumables), from front bumper to rear, for seven years or 100,000 miles. And it is transferable to subsequent owners, a major selling point for anyone trading in the car before the warranty period has expired. It is also supported by a 12-year anti-perforation warranty.
Kia has recently introduced a new Used Car Programme whereby customers buying a used Kia with less than 18,000 miles on the clock and less than 18 months old, can have their warranty topped back up to new. That means if a customer bought an 18 months old cee'd, they could still have a seven year warranty. Add to that a 60 day exchange and Kia has one of the best Used Car offerings available.
It all adds up to unequalled product confidence and customer peace of mind, factors that reduce running costs and improve resale values.
Big SUVs don't have to be expensive to own
The new Kia Sorento is a car for its times - an SUV engineered to offer motorists the maximum choice in space and versatility and the ultimate variation in on- and off-road capability, while keeping fuel economy and CO2 emissions to a minimum.
Like any Kia, it reflects our belief that premium-car quality and specification are possible without asking buyers to pay a premium-car price, and the after-sales package shows similar values. Insurance and servicing costs and even company car benefit-in-kind tax rates - and we believe the new Sorento is a model that will have greater appeal than ever to business users � make it far more attractive package than many rival offerings.
Routine servicing is needed only once a year or every 10,000 miles in the case of petrol models, or 12,500 miles/12 months for diesels. Over a typical three-year ownership period, a Sorento will cost between £77.26 and £163.15 for servicing components. Labour rates will vary in different parts of the country.
Warranty and support
Seven years, 100,000 mile manufacturer warranty
12 years anti-corrosion warranty
Five years, 100,000 mile paintwork warranty
One year Europe-wide roadside rescue through KIAssist
MANUFACTURING AND THE ENVIRONMENT
Built at Hwasung, Kia's major plant
The Kia Sorento is built at the Hwasung plant in Asan Bay alongside theOptima (Magentis), as well as the Cerato (Forte), Cadenza and Mohave (Borrego) models which are not exported to the UK. Hwasung also makes knock-down kits of the Carnival (Sedona), Picanto, Cerato (Spectra), Sorento, Rio, Carens and light commercial vehicles for assembly in other countries, and is the home of the Alpha II, Beta, Gamma and Theta gasoline as well as U and D passenger diesel engine ranges.
Hwasung is Kia's largest plant, with a capacity of 600,000 cars a year - double the maximum volume from the Zilina plant in Slovakia, for example. It was opened and began producing cars in July 1989, and officially launched in 1990. Total production is now homing in on 6,500,000 units.
Hwasung is also home to a 425-acre proving ground with 16 driving courses - opened in 1993. Recently, a new employee sports centre was added giving the 15,000 workers and their families access to gymnasiums, swimming pools, squash courts, weight-training and community facilities.
The facility has recently undergone major changes aimed at improving the quality of production processes and the cars leaving the factory gates. This has been recognised by the American publication Consumer Reports, which gave the (outgoing) Sorento a top recommendation.
Constant efforts are also being made to minimise the plant's effect on the environment. There have been major initiatives to increase recycling, reduce the amount of pollutants and waste in the production process, lower greenhouse gas emissions and cut air pollution through more eco-friendly production systems. Energy-saving measures have also been introduced and Hwasung has a target of zero landfill scrap disposal.
Improved painting facilities have been installed, and every aspect of vehicle production has been under scrutiny to ensure the plant uses less energy and produces less waste. Water and power consumption, dust and CO2 emissions per vehicle produced and contaminants and waste volumes have all been reduced.
Kia has made reducing the amount of raw materials being fed into the production process a major priority in every production facility around the globe. The last few years have seen significant progress in reducing waste, increasing recycling and developing cleaner production processes.
The overall waste generated by Hwasung is under constant review and a number of programmes have seen dramatic improvements. Recycling waste has also increased and is now well in excess of 95%. Exhaust pollutants from Hwasung have also decreased dramatically - dust,nitrogen dioxide and sulphur dioxide output have all been reduced significantly.
New technology is playing a significant part in environmental improvement. Typical cast melting furnaces produce large amounts of dust and contained within this is a high proportion of zinc. The captured dust is treated and the zinc extracted before being re-used within the production process.
Another simple energy-saving process has been implemented within Hwasung's huge and complex air conditioning systems. A fixed amount of heat was supplied, regardless of the outside temperatures, to some areas of the plant. Using smart control units, the fans now only run to supply heat where and when needed.
More technology is being employed in the machining shops where gearboxes are produced. Another pilot project has sampled the use of compressed air as a coolant when machining intricate gearbox internals, rather than cutting oil. This and the associated oil mist are problem pollutants and the new scheme will gradually reduce oil use to less than half of one per cent.
The green landscape around each facility is an important part of each plant make-up. One ongoing programme is based on a number of 'ecology gardens' which are filled with trees and plants which are resistant and also sensitive to environmental changes in air pollution. The Hwasung plant is no different with over 3,251,923m2 of green areas with 228,752 trees planted in and around the facility. This has the added benefits of providing a more comfortable environment for the staff and local population and offsetting some of the CO2 output from the facility. These 'ecology gardens' are continually monitored since they act as real-world indicators of air quality.
Each site is broadening its green 'patches' and constantly monitors air pollution in neighbouring communities. A monthly task for each facility is the 'One Stream Cleanup' programme where Kia cleans and maintains local, natural streams. This is not only to monitor cleanliness but also to keep them maintained for the local communities to enjoy.
The overall effect of the many 'green initiatives' reducing the use of raw materials, recycling more and reducing waste - has resulted in Hwasung being officially recognised as an eco-friendly worksite by the Korean Ministry of the Environment.