All-new KIA Sorento conquers southern Africa
In the first week of July 2015, three intrepid adventurers set off from the Steve Biko Academic Hospital in Pretoria on an epic driving adventure. Their mission? To raise funds for the Little Fighters Cancer Trust through the Seven7 Drive. Their chariot? The all-new KIA Sorento.
- Seven7 drive completes its challenge of driving through seven southern African countries in just seven days
- All-new KIA Sorento shows its mettle by conquering the some of Africa's most challenging roads
True to its nature, KIA Motors South Africa added a twist to the tale. The trio of adventurers would not undertake their mission in the luxury, top-of-the-range seven-seat KIA Sorento SX AWD, but in the five-seat Sorento 2.4 LS, its 2,4-litre petrol engine powering the front wheels only. While some would rethink their options, the Seven7 Drive team didn't think twice. After all, neither Danie Botha, well-known off-road and adventure journalist, G.G. van Rooyen, Leisure Wheels photojournalist, nor Jan van Deventer, a logistics expert who counts top international film and television companies as his clients, were inexperienced travellers.
As such, it was no surprise that the Seven7 Drive completed its mission by driving nearly 7000km through seven southern African countries in just seven days. Leaving from Pretoria, the team travelled to Windhoek, Namibia, on day one before heading to Nata in Botswana on day two. Lake Kyle in Zimbabwe followed on day three, with Maxixe in Mozambique on day four. From Maxixe the trio headed to Manzini in Swaziland on day five and Mokhotlong in Lesotho - via the infamous Sani Pass - on day six before finishing back at the Steve Biko Academic Hospital on day seven.
"Driving 7000km in seven days on some of the best and worst roads Africa has on offer is no mean feat for any 4x4", says Danie Botha. "And this makes the performance of the KIA Sorento 2.4 4x2 all the more impressive. It never missed a beat despite taking heavy blows on some of the pot hole-infested roads and gravel roads, and it even scaled the infamous Sani Pass in cold and icy conditions. It exceeded all our expectations, including the ones from the most sceptical member of our team, who now looks upon the KIA brand with newfound respect. So much so that he wants to buy the Sorento!"
In this instance, Danie is referring to his travel companion, Jan van Deventer, who has a known affinity for another brand from the East's offroaders. "I assumed we would be doing the trip in some large 4X4 SUV and the thought of whether it was possible or not never crossed my mind," he recalls. "However, when he told me it was going to be done in a KIA, my scepticism was notable. When he added it was a 4X2, it almost overwhelmed me," says Jan. "That said, after completing the almost 7000km on real African roads, my scepticism has changed into utmost respect. So much so that I would purchase one in a heartbeat."
The all-new KIA Sorento 2.4 LS used for the Seven7 Drive received a handful of modifications, including the fitment of Bridgestone All-Terrain tyres, a custom-made roof-rack, and a funky, eye-catching body design by Graffiti. No mechanical alterations were made to enhance ride height or performance, and was a standard vehicle in every other respect.
"It's been especially exciting to bring the third generation Sorento to market due it showcasing the next step up the refinement ladder for the KIA brand, as evidenced by it's class win in the 2015 J.D. Power Initial Quality Study in the U.S. recently," says David Sieff, Marketing Director, KIA Motors South Africa. "The Sorento 2.4 LS offers top notch comfort, immense practicality and unbeatable value for money, and now we can add unquestionable reliability to the list as well."
The Seven7 Drive KIA Sorento will be displayed at this year's Gauteng Getaway Show, taking place at the Ticketpro Dome in Randburg from 28 to 30 August 2015.