First Drive: Kia Sorento
SECTOR Mid-size estate PRICE £16,895 – £24,795 FUEL 67.3 – 64.2mpg CO2 109 – 116 g/km
The clue is in the title; the new Sorento, which helps because, to the untrained eye – or, for that matter, the trained eye – not too much seems to have changed on Kia’s flagship SUV.
Actually, that’s not entirely fair because there are lots of differences. They just happen to be well hidden.
Visually, the main changes can be found around the front-end, which now sports a new set of projection headlights and LED running lights. And, although the tailgate still looks very similar to the old one, it too has been completely redesigned to give better access and also incorporates a smarter rear light cluster.
The interior has had a few tweaks to smarten it up, with softer and more tactile plastics being used throughout. It comes with a lot more standard equipment, including a third row of folding seats, which go some of the way to justify the £1,500 price hike.
In the top spec KX-3 trim, the Sorento is now close to £35,000, which is within spitting of distance of some other premium brand SUVs and perhaps why Kia is being realistic by saying that it expects most sales to come from the mid-range KX-2 CRDi six-speed manual at £28,895.
But it’s the platform underneath which has had the most attention. This is now 18% stiffer, with a 10mm lower ride height and revised 2.2-litre turbo diesel engine – the only unit available in the new car – offering an 11% improvement in efficiency.
These improvements have made a noticeable difference and the engine is now a sweet-thumping 194bhp unit capable of returning 47.9mpg while emitting 155g/km. As for its handling, it too has been enhanced, yet it still leans into corners too much and lacks the sort of overall finesse expected from a car at this end of the market.
Like every other Kia, it will carry a seven-year or 100,000 mile warranty. Orders are being taken now for early December delivery.