Korean car makers have been racing ahead in leaps and bounds for years now. In fact, the upward customer satisfaction curve has been maintained for at least a decade. But today Kia announced its new flagship SUV, the fourth generation Sorento.
The Sorento is a large SUV. It’s a proper one too, as opposed to the more compact, crossover options such as the Seltos and Sportage.
Can you believe the Sorento was first launched back in 2002? Overseas markets are blessed with the very large Kia Telluride, if we got that people would leave self-isolation immediately and buy the big and burly SUV. Unless we start driving on the other side of the road, we really do miss out big time being a right-hand drive market (RHD).
Emilio Herrera, Chief Operating Officer for Kia Motors Europe, said:
“While the car was initially launched in 2002 as a utilitarian all-terrain vehicle, the fourth-generation Sorento has been transformed into something altogether more desirable. It is an important model for Kia, particularly now that it also represents the first use of electrified power in our flagship SUV.”
What this means is people who buy an SUV don’t want to tackle the Telegraph Track, Cape York.
I’ve just spent 10 minutes looking at the car and I’ve come up with this conclusion, it’s going to get bagged in our comments section. There is a lot going on, with high-tech LED headlights that look like diamonds from Goldmart.
The grille has been messed around a bit too much for my liking. The so-called “Tiger-nose” grille was designed by the three studios within Kia’s worldwide design network, in Korea, Europe and North America. So, we can’t blame an Aussie, just FYI.
The rear-end has indents and creases all over the shop, while the taillights are split by the tailgate. A low-slung twin exhaust system peeps out from below.
I was able to swallow the side-on pics, without reaching for my heart burn tablets. It does get a bit odd as you move along to that familiar D-Pillar, but yeah, I’m cool with it.
But having said that, the cabin looks glorious. There’s a 12.3-inch digital driver instrument cluster that almost sits flush against the centre 10.25-inch touchscreen. It’s not the “plank” used by Mercedes-Benz and its new MBUX system, but it comes close.
The striking cabin makes great use of ambient lighting, something we are seeing more and more of. In fact, the brands are getting a tad trippy. Kia, via 12-speaker BOSE surround-sound audio system, offers a new ‘’Sound of Nature’’ ambient sound function. That allows occupants access to a range of relaxing natural soundscapes. The ambient lighting system takes the experience even further, with the razzle dazzle drawn from a full gamut of 64 colours.
Haptic buttons have been deployed to control the screen and further down the dashboard for the climate control system.
For those who carry a tape measure around I can tell you this. The new Sorento is 1900 mm wide, or 10 mm wider than the outgoing Sorento. It’s also 10 mm longer at 4810 mm, this is due to a new global platform.
There are some key features we won’t get at launch, such as what Kia call “Smartstream” or what I call, a hybrid engine. So we will have more to say about that later.
The Sorento will launch with all the driver assist and safety software you will ever need.
At launch in June, Australian Sorentos will arrive with just the 2.2-litre turbocharged in-line four-cylinder diesel. This unit has output of 148 kW at 3800 rpm and a hefty 440Nm of torque spread between 1750-2750rpm, power is delivered by an eight-speed double-clutch transmission. FWD or AWD can be optioned as well.
Australian sales of diesel models will commence in June, but we will have to hold off for the hybrid towards the end of the year. Pricing is yet to be confirmed. But as with all Kia models it will be covered by the 7-Year unlimited kilometre Warranty, 7-Year Capped Price Service and 7-Year Roadside Assist.