Futuristic styling and new technologies make a ‘stand-out’ CUV
The original Kia Sorento was a ‘landmark’ vehicle which took the Korean brand into a whole new section of the automotive market all around the world. Introduced in 2002, it marked a huge step for Kia, challenging many established brands and starting the process of changing public perception of Kia as a ‘maker of small cars’.
The Sorento earned widespread media and public acclaim for its innovative styling, durability, off-road abilities and value-for-money. Over the next seven years, it attracted thousands of customers who had not previously considered buying a Kia, and achieved global sales of almost 900,000 units. It also paved the way for the successful introduction of the smaller Kia Sportage.
At its launch, the original Kia Sorento injected fresh visual excitement into the CUV segment with its stand-out looks. Now under the direction of Kia’s chief design officer Peter Schreyer, the Kia design team aimed to deliver futuristic styling with a bold sense of power and dynamism, to once again differentiate Kia’s larger CUV from potential rivals by incorporating Kia’s new design DNA into the all-new Sorento.
The new Sorento is also significantly sleeker than the previous model with an aerodynamic drag figure of Cd 0,38 – down from 0,425 – enhancing fuel economy and refinement.
It’s a seven-seater – a longer, lower, sleeker CUV with a host of new attributes. Ride and handling are more supple and more responsive. The cabin is more spacious and more luxurious. The vehicle delivers enhanced performance while consuming less fuel. The broader line-up offers a wider choice of engines, transmissions and drivetrains.
Kia engineers ditched the old body-on-frame structure and designed an all-new unitary (monocoque) bodyshell with room for up to seven occupants. The different construction method helped the new Sorento to achieve a weight loss of up to 215kg, depending on model, compared with the previous Sorento – even though the new model incorporates numerous additional technical, safety and comfort features.
The new, longer bodyshell created for the new Sorento, with its repositioned A-pillars and dashboard (moved forwards) and extended tailgate (moved rearwards), ensures that the cabin is much more spacious than the current model.
Kia has downsized some of the engines available for the Sorento – the petrol V6 shrinks from 3,8 to 3,5-litres and the 2,5-litre diesel is replaced by an all-new 2,2-litre unit – while improving the efficiency of all the powertrains.
Kia’s latest CUV will be available with two-wheel drive or four-wheel drive and manual or automatic transmissions, in a selection of 11 exterior colours and two interior colours, with a broad choice of equipment levels and a vast range of factory-fitted optional extras.
Models and specifications for South Africa have not yet been finalised. Read the full story and our Korean driving impressions in the August issue of Leisure Wheels, ob sale 20 July.