Powerful new 3,8-litre V6/five-speed automatic flagship
Reduced noise, vibration and harshness
Bold styling revisions with new grille, bumpers, wheels
Higher safety levels
More rear legroom
Revised suspension settings for improved ride and handling
Benchmark warranty 10years / 150000km
The Sorento, a product which has been in the vanguard of propelling Kia into an arena where it competes on value and not merely on price, has been upgraded.
Introduced to this market at Auto Africa 2002, the Sorento has become a highly successful model line, introducing hundreds of owners to an SUV lifestyle and the pleasures of off-road driving in comfort and style, with all-round performance. It’s about to get even better.
The basic concept for Kia’s premium SUV remains unchanged, and while its primary role is that of a rugged all-terrain SUV, it incorporates a higher level of versatility, safety and car-like comfort. The Sorento will compete on value instead of price, a new strategy for the 21st century. The Sorento is targeted at the medium segment of the SUV market. Customers are expected to remain largely, male, family-orientated, professionals between 35- and 45-years of age.
Power and Performance
To answer a call for more performance, the chief mechanical change for the facelifted Sorento is the adoption of a 3,8-litre version of the DOHC, 24-valve petrol V6, boosting power to 198 kW at 6 000 revs/min and torque to 360 Nm at 4 500 revs/min. Of all-aluminium construction, the engine also features variable valve timing and is now mated to a five-speed automatic transmission to provide a better choice of ratios and more relaxed cruising.
The 2ND generation CRDi engine displaces 2,5-litre litres and provides enhanced performance and fuel economy by accumulating and delivering ultra-high pressure fuel to the injectors. The injectors are electronically controlled to ensure perfect ignition timing and optimum combustion efficiency. The result is an impressive powerplant that delivers a maximum power of 104Kw @ 3,800 rpm and a maximum torque of 350NM @ 2,000 rpm.
All that power is channelled through a crisp, solid 5-speed manual transmission sporting an enhanced synchro mechanism or automatic transmission.
The Sorento also comes with a state of the art full time four-wheel drive ATT
(Active torque transfer). The transfer switch can be selected in two modes: 4×4 to low to suit changing road conditions.
The ATT system incorporates and active torque transfer ECU which relays information about front and rear wheel speed and brake status before engaging the internal electronic clutch. This ensures optimum power to the front and rear wheels under different driving conditions; such as: normal driving, quick starting, accelerating, turning and negotiating steep inclines.
In order to satisfy the demands of customers wanting a 4×2 Sorento derivative, during in the first quarter of 2007 a 4×2 derivative will be available in diesel and petrol versions.
The most obvious changes to the Sorento (named after a romantic village on Italy’s ruggedly beautiful Amalfi Coast) is a revised front end with a new bumper, grille and headlights. Indicator lenses (not just the globes) are now orange, with projector-style lighting more obvious behind the clear polycarbonate of the all-in-one headlight pod. Circular foglights are incorporated in the bumper. There’ still that trademark high and prominent bonnet, giving the front view an unmistakeable resilience and strength.
There are also minor changes to the rear; and tail lights have a wrap-around effect to make them more visible from certain oblique angles. The re-sculptured bumper and a chrome garnish above the tailgate release echo the frontal treatment. If black or silver is chosen as the exterior colour, the protective cladding and new-look waistline garnish are colour-coded, or contrasts with the choice of paint colour.
The new Sorento grows by 20 mm as a result of the bodywork changes and the overall effect is modern and fluid, with new alloy mag rims on the 16-inch alloy wheels contributing to the clean and uncluttered look.
With its impressive 2,71-metre wheelbase the Sorento has plenty of interior space, and easily accommodates five occupants and their luggage. The facelift sees improvements to the cabin too, with more rear legroom thanks to redesigned seats, and a more upmarket look and feel.
Luxurious black leather upholstery, an electrically 16 way adjustable driver’s seat, Height adjustable steering column, Power steering with cruise control, full dual-zone air conditioning with full auto climate and amb temperature gages with rear vents, eight-speaker/MP3-compatible CD/tuner sound system and a comprehensive roof-mounted multifunction trip computer with compass, distance to empty, average speed and elapsed time mean that all occupants spend their time in a high-class ‘pleasure zone’. Generous shoulder, hip and head room contributes further to overall comfort.
Rear park distance control reduces the driver’s load, as do revised instruments with brighter LED lighting. Improved oddment/drink storage solutions round off an impeccably appointed cabin, while an optional sunroof will please all occupants. Finally, an updated sound deadening package has reduced extraneous noise.
The rear seat is split 60/40 and when folded creates a cargo area of gargantuan proportions. Even with the seats up, the Sorento provides 890 litres of storage space over and above the storage facilities in the passenger compartment. Seating configurations are quick and easy to adjust, thanks to simple seat lock and adjustment mechanisms.
But the Sorento isn’t just about sitting pretty: it’s a genuine dual-purpose SUV, designed for playing hard. There’s 203 mm of ground clearance, an approach angle of 28.4 degrees, a departure angle of 25.8 degrees, and a limited slip differential on the rear wheels. The roll over angle is at 40 degrees.
A front double wish bone spring suspension and a rigid 5 link rear axle, suspended on coil springs, ensures clearance to the differential remains uncompromised by a combination of the terrain and wheel travel.
Kia has formed associations with product experts in a number of fields; to this ends Sachs supply the gas dampers, the LS rear differential is from Eaton, and the gearbox/transfer case is by Borg-Warner.
The Sorento’s body is mounted on a strengthened main chassis frame to provide both excellent handling characteristics and rigidity. Revisions to the front end of the structure have resulted in even more effective dispersion of impact energy.
This means cabin deformation is kept to a minimum in event of an accident, providing a highly secure environment. Side impact bars with side impact sensors developed by Siemens and a heavy duty roll-bar help keep the passenger areas secure while the Sorento’s highly rigid construction helps maintain the integrity of the body shell even in the most extreme conditions.
In internal tests by Kia’s engineers, the new Sorento has scored a five-star rating for both driver and passenger safety, compared to four-stars for its predecessor. In tests conducted by various North American safety institutes, new Sorento has shown improved crashworthiness, with five-star and ‘Good’ ratings compared to previous four-star and ‘Acceptable’ scores.
Its Euro NCAP rating is Four Star – considered an excellent result for a vehicle with a ladder-frame chassis.
Four airbags (dual front and side curtain airbags), active head restraints, and pre-tensioning front seatbelts are fitted to all models, as are all-wheel ventilated disc brakes with ABS and EBD.
Ride and handling
Improved handling characteristics also contribute to Sorento’s impressive active safety, both by reducing driver fatigue and improving roadholding.
The front suspension now has enlarged mounting bushes for a better ride and less transmission of road noise and vibration, and the castor angle has been increased to aid straight line stability.
At the rear, a number of changes have been effected to suspension mounting points of the five-link axle. Premium quality dual-purpose tyres measuring 245/70R16 are now fitted.
Pricing and Warranty
Staying true to the KIA value equation of delivering value for money – the Sorento 2.5 CRDi 4×2 manual will retail for R 299 995 with the automatic version costing R 314 995 whilst the 3.8 V6 4X2 automatic will retail at R319 995.
On the 4×4 version the 2.5 CRDI manual will come in at R 329 995, the automatic at R 344 995 whilst the flagship V6 4X4 sells for R 349 995. An optional factory fitted sunroof will be available at additional cost of R 6000.00 on all models.
Pricing includes a 10 year/100 000 km warranty incorporating 3 year/unlimited km roadside assistance and 3 year/60 000 km maintenance plan as standard. Servicing is required at 15 000 km intervals on all models.