Refined Sorento lifts the bar

Friday, 5 June 2015
The latest iteration of Kia’s multi-award winning Kia Sorento will bring a unique blend of style, practicality and technology to an Australian new car market deep in the throes of an SUV love affair.

With improved noise, vibration and harshness levels; revised engines, an all-new steering set-up, an unbeatable safety suite, state-of-the-art manufacturing and quality interior style and trim the third-generation Sorento stands apart.

“There can be no argument that Australian new car buyers love their SUVs, and what this style of car represents in way of lifestyle choices,” Kia Motors Australia Chief Operating Officer Damien Meredith said.

“The rugged style, the space and the command driving position all hold the promise of adventure and lifestyle exploration while the sophistication, comfort, global 5-star safety, practicality and technology are a tacit admission that most of the car’s life will be spent in an urban environment.”

Mr Meredith said one the major advances for the new Sorento was in the car’s refinement in ride and handling – an area of Kia’s vehicle development where Australia’s focused product team is taking a world-best role.

“As with all models we introduce into Australia there has been extensive localisation work done for the Sorento. With hundreds of man-hours and thousands of kilometres invested the outcomes are, in this case, particularly pleasing.

“Sorento represents the best of all worlds, with the promise of adventure and the guarantee of day-to-day refinement, safety and comfort for a growing family.”

The new Sorento will be available in three trim levels _ Si, SLi and Platinum _ with the choice of a new 3.3-litre petrol V6 (Si and SLi) driving the front wheels or a proven 2.2-litre R Series diesel with an active AWD system (Si, SLi and Platinum). All models feature Kia’s praised in-house six-speed automatic gearbox.

Prices range from $40,990 for the Si petrol through to $55,990 for the Platinum diesel.

Using the development styling name of “Streetwolf”, Kia’s design team settled on an evolutionary language which subtly highlights the new Sorento’s sleek, sinuous profile, while ensuring the new model has a bolder on-the-road presence.

The front of the new Sorento incorporates long, wrap-around headlamps and more prominent fog-lamps, as well as a larger, more upright ‘tiger-nose’ grille, with a distinctive three-dimensional diamond pattern that was first seen on the 2013 Kia Cross GT concept.

The family resemblance with the recently launched Kia Carnival is striking, both in its street presence and styling language.

However, it is inside of the all-new Sorento where owners will find a more sophisticated, more luxurious cabin, featuring significantly higher quality materials. Using a greater proportion of soft-touch materials and leather creates a modern luxury feel to the cabin and gives the new Sorento the ambience of a genuinely premium interior space.

Sorento comes with a standard seven-seat configuration across the range, offering style and convenience for the growing family.

Along with the improvements in interior styling comes a range of high-tech features to improve convenience and further enhance the ownership experience.

All models now feature standard satellite navigation, a full suite of active and passive safety technology - including front-to-rear airbag protection - and a 5-Star ANCAP safety rating.

Throughout the development of the new Sorento, Kia engineers also focused on improving NVH characteristics to increase refinement and create a tranquil travelling environment that is as sophisticated as the new model’s styling.

NVH-reducing measures adopted for the new Sorento include new soundproofing material for the transmission tunnel, a 29 percent thicker dashboard soundproofing panel, larger engine and transmission mounts for greater powertrain refinement and, for diesel models, a new DPF cover and an acoustic shield integrated into the engine’s timing chain cover. Cabin noise is reduced by 3-to-6 percent, depending on driving conditions.

Under the bonnet is either the 3.3 litre MPI V6 petrol with 199kW of power and 318Nm of torque and a revised version of the popular R2.2 diesel (147kW and 441Nm). Both engines are designed to offer greater mid- and low-range torque, providing the smooth operation that drivers would expect from an SUV.

Owners can also customize the car’s driving characteristics to match current driving conditions with the Drive Mode Select system, activated via a switch on the centre console. ‘Normal’ mode is best suited for day-to-day driving, ‘Eco’ mode reprograms the shift points of the automatic transmission to achieve optimum fuel economy, while ‘Sport’ mode allows the gearbox to delay shifting and reduces the level of steering assistance for a sportier feel.

When developing the new Sorento, a key focus for the Kia chassis engineering team was achieving improvements in ride comfort, high-speed stability and handling response, with significant upgrades to steering and suspension in order to match the leaps forward in interior quality and NVH.

On the safety front - a non-negotiable for KMAu - owners will benefit from a wealth of ‘active’ safety technologies, depending on specification. All grades will have ABS (anti-lock brake system), ESC (electronic stability control), BAS (brake assist), VSM (vehicle stability management), HAC (hill start assist), ESS (emergency stop signal), rear view camera, front and rear parking sensors and tyre pressure monitoring. There are six airbags, including front-to-rear curtain coverage.

Stepping up to the Platinum grade will add Lane Departure Warning, Smart Cruise Control, Blind Spot Detection and Rear Cross Traffic Alert to the driver safety aids.

The all-new Sorento’s Vehicle Stability Management (VSM) system helps ensure the car remains stable when simultaneously braking and cornering, particularly on low-grip surfaces, by carefully controlling both the Electronic Stability Control (ESC) and R-MDPS. Both systems are activated as soon as the car’s sensors detect a loss in traction, helping the driver to remain safely in control of the vehicle.

Sorento will be on sale in Australia from June 7.


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