Following its debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September 2017, the enhanced KIA Sorento this week makes it debut in South Africa. Featuring a refreshed exterior design as well as an upgraded interior, the enhanced Sorento also features enriched standard specification levels and even better value.
“The Sorento SUV has been a proud flagbearer for KIA’s design and quality credentials since the first generation model debuted in 2002,” says Gary Scott, CEO of KIA Motors South Africa. “It has not only won red dot and iF Design Awards, but is also a consistent segment leader in the annual J.D. Power Initial Quality Study.”
Improved design – inside and out
The current generation KIA Sorento made its global debut at the 2014 Paris Motor Show, and was introduced in South Africa in June 2015. Its elegant design, notably improved build quality and interior finishes set it apart from the largely utility-based competitor set.
The enhanced KIA Sorento retains its excellent SUV proportions, but thanks to its mid-life update now sports a tighter, sharper exterior design. The revised front-end features a more artfully detailed radiator grille, flanked by a new headlamp configuration featuring projection headlamps and revised LED Daytime Running Lights on higher specification models. The front revamp is complemented by a newly sculpted bumper design, incorporating projection-type fog lamps, that assists in giving Sorento a more aggressive overall expression.
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 maintains an upmarket look and feel thanks to numerous upgrades and enhancements, including a new, more tactile steering wheel, a new gearshift lever, and a revised instrument cluster with improved graphics. The redesign also includes alterations to the air vents and the centre console design, which – in combination – create an ambience that is thoroughly up to date.
Another important upgrade to the enhanced Sorento line-up is that all model derivatives offer seating for up to seven passengers, with leather upholstery as standard across the board.Featuring 40/20/40 second row split folding seats for improved versatility, with a higher folding centre armrest, these seatbacks canbe ‘remotely’ folded by conveniently located levers in the side of the cargo bay. The third row seats fold away flat in the luggage compartment, ensuring that luggage space is not compromised when the seats are not in use. When the seats are folded flat, Sorento offers 605 litres of luggage space, and also features an under-floor tonneau cover storage compartment and integrated cargo net to secure loose items.
Revised model line-up
As part of the Sorento’s mid-life enhancement, KIA Motors South Africa has also revised the model line-up of the local range. The entry-level LS specification has been discontinued, as well as the high-spec SX and SXL models. The Sorento range will henceforth comprise a mid-spec LX and a mid-high-spec EX derivative, both available either with front-wheel drive, or KIA’s renowned Dynamax all-wheel drive system.
“While Sorento has always played an important role in our SUV line-up, the mid-life enhancement provided us with a great opportunity to focus our offering in the medium SUV space,” says Stephen Crosse, Sales Director, KIA Motors South Africa. “The cosmetic updates endow the Sorento with an even more polished appearance, while new and upgraded specification increases the model’s value proposition.”
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.
The higher-spec EX model also features an auto defog system, illuminated door scuff plates, rear sun shade blinds, electrically adjustable front seats (with two-way adjustable lumbar support for the driver’s seat), integrated roof rails and a wireless smartphone charger.
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.
Automatic for the people
KIA has retained the popular 2,2-litre ‘R’ turbodiesel engine, which is synonymous with Sorento and renowned for its excellent mid- and low-range torque. Loved for smoothness and efficiency, 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. Featuring KIA’s fourth-generation fuel-injection system, the engine delivers greater fuel economy, performance and engine response while reducing engine noise. It reaches 100 km/h in 9,4 seconds, with a top speed of 203 km/h.
The vehicle also features an exhaust gas recirculation cooler to promote recirculation of clean, cold, low-pressure exhaust gas that reduces nitrogen oxide emissions and improves fuel efficiency. Finally, a newly adopted electronic swirl control valve in the intake manifold further reduces emissions by more carefully controlling the intake of oxygen to the combustion chamber. CO2 emissions are 164 g/km and 170 g/km for the front-wheel and all-wheel drive versions respectively.
The enhanced Sorento is the first SUV from KIA available with the company’s new eight-speed automatic transmission. Designed in-house by KIA and launched in 2016, the transmission boasts 143 newly-patented technologies and delivers a slick-shifting, more decisive drive while reducing emissions. Compared to other automatic transmissions, KIA’s new eight-speed unit requires fewer control valves, enabling a more direct mechanical link to the engine. This allows the transmission to shift more quickly than the outgoing six-speed automatic transmission, and enables more decisive acceleration.
The new transmission offers four different drive modes: Eco, Comfort, Sport and Smart. Drivers can select their preferred mode with the Sorento’s electronic Drive Mode Select system. Each mode enables the driver to customise the powertrain’s responses to driver inputs, enhancing fuel economy or acceleration characteristics depending on driver preference.
The Drive Mode Select also adapts the weight of the rack-mounted power steering system, for more relaxed or more immediate, engaging steering responses. The new Smart Mode is designed to understand and anticipate the driver’s steering preferences, automatically switching between Eco, Comfort and Sport modes. This enables the Sorento to adapt to the driver’s steering behaviour as road conditions change, pre-empting the driver’s preference for different speeds and driving environments.
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.
A new value proposition
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.
“The SUV segment continues to grow. South African families love the practicality, the space and higher ride height that an SUV offers,” adds Crosse. “The enhanced Sorento range delivers on all of that and more, bringing new levels of versatility to the segment, combined with an exceptional value proposition, industry-leading quality, class-leading refinement and an award-winning design.”
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
The enhanced KIA Sorento goes on sale through all KIA Motors South Africa dealerships on Monday, 22 October 2018.