RETURN TO SORENTO – IT'S HARD TO FAULT
WHETHER you see the Kia Sorento as a crossover vehicle or a compact SUV, it's a car that strives for relevance. In this latest guise it finds it as well, offering good looks, a great reliability record, a good safety record and modest running costs. It's a seven-seater package that's increasingly hard to fault and one that'll certainly be helped by Kia's increasingly smart image.
This is Kia though and everything has changed. Straight line stability, ride comfort and body control have all improved, while the old hydraulic power steering system has inevitably given way to a more efficient setup.
The suspension revisions also help improve refinement, as does additional soundproofing and wind deflectors. All versions of the Sorento are 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 a six-speed automatic. It can sprint to 60mph in just 9.4 seconds and then on to a top end of 118mph.
The Sorento has a seven-seat-only formula now – and a more spacious one. All occupants benefit from more luxurious surroundings, with notable improvements in the soft-touch materials used to trim the cabin and higher levels of equipment for all trim grades.
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The downside of more passenger space is a marginally smaller boot of between 116-litres (seven seats upright) and 1,530-litres (all rear seats folded) but it does include utility features like an under-floor storage tray and power outlet. All models get a leather-trimmed wheel, body-coloured bumpers, chrome exterior door handles, aero blade-type front wipers, projection headlamps with cornering lights, electrically folding, adjustable and heated door mirrors, chrome interior garnish, rear air ventilation, LED daytime running lamps, cruise control and reversing sensors.
Go for a KX-2 version and you'll also get rain-sensing front wipers, a leather-trimmed instrument panel and a 4.3-inch LCD colour touch-screen with reversing sensors.
The 2.2-litre diesel engine has been improved in a bid to better the car's efficiency. It drives all four wheels via a six-speed manual gearbox or you can opt for a six-speed automatic. An exhaust-gas recirculation system has helped the Sorento achieve class-leading fuel economy and CO2 emissions.