All-New Sorento Drives Kia Further Upmarket

- New, third-generation flagship for Kia in the UK

- Start of second phase of Kia’s brand transformation

- Major strides in engineering, refinement and quality

- New technologies, some never before offered in a Kia

- Seven seats, EU6 diesel engine and all-wheel drive as standard

- Emissions reduced; fuel economy improved

- Longer, lower, wider, roomier and more practical and versatile

- Priced from £28,795

Kia has launched the all-new Sorento, a car that is set to build on its consistent appeal to a diverse range of customers. This third-generation model will again change the way people see the brand as it is better equipped, more refined, stylish and technologically advanced than ever before. Six versions of Kia’s UK flagship are now on sale, with prices starting at £28,795.

All versions of the new Sorento are powered by an EU6-compliant 2.2-litre turbodiesel engine which produces fewer harmful tailpipe emissions, is more fuel-efficient, less damaging to the environment, and which reduces running costs for personal and business owners. All have a new, permanent, intelligent all-wheel drive system and a versatile seven-seat interior. There are four trim levels, badged KX-1, KX-2, KX-3 and KX-4. Depending on model, buyers have the choice of six-speed manual or automatic transmission.

The third-generation Sorento is longer, lower and wider than the previous model thanks to an all-new platform, while an extended wheelbase creates greater room in all three rows of seats. Minutely detailed body and chassis engineering work has resulted in a car which is not only more engaging to drive, but also much more refined to travel in. Safety and convenience technologies new to the Sorento, and in some cases new to any Korean SUV, include Advanced Smart Cruise Control, Blind Spot Detection, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Lane Departure Warning, Around View Monitoring, Adaptive Front Lighting and Speed Limit Information.

Executive class in every way

In 2006 Kia began a design-led revolution following the appointment of Peter Schreyer as Chief Design Officer – now President of Design for the entire Hyundai Motor Group. It was to be the start of Phase I of Kia’s move away from being a company primarily focused on value. Phase II, which starts with the new Sorento, will see Kia match and surpass not only customer expectations but also the world’s best car manufacturers for engineering, technology, refinement and quality.

The new Sorento offers executive-class space and versatility to match its executive-class style, quality and refinement. It is 95mm longer than the second-generation Sorento, has an 80mm greater wheelbase (now 2,780mm), is 15mm lower and 5mm wider. The significance of these dimensions is that headroom and legroom have been improved in all three rows of seats, and there is up to 90 litres more luggage capacity.

When starting work on the car, Kia had to decide whether to make it even more gentrified and saloon-like than the outgoing model, or to retain that car’s much-valued towing and off-roading capability. In the end, it was able to do both.

The new model preserves familiar Sorento design cues like the shape of the D-pillar, but now has a sleeker profile which disguises its increased size, and deeply sculpted surfaces. The lower roof, rising belt line and more sweeping profile make it look bolder and more muscular, and for the first time there are pronounced rear shoulders in place of a crease line beneath the windows to give the car greater three-dimensionality.

Wrap-around, frame-integrated side doors fit more snugly into the overall profile of the car and allow for a wider opening. They also help to keep the seals completely free of dirt and moisture thrown up from the road, preventing passengers’ clothes and hands from getting soiled. The rear features a highly sculpted registration plate housing, made possible by new laser-welding technologies being employed by Kia for the first time.

The new Sorento is the first car to be produced under Kia’s new Global Quality Strategy, which became fully operational at the start of 2014. In the choice of materials, fit and finish and technology, the new Sorento is a significant step forward for Kia.

The Sorento designers spent a lot of time on the architecture of the cabin to reinforce its increased quality, space and practicality. The shape of the bottom of the windscreen was carefully crafted to emphasise the car's width, for example, while the sculpted lines give an impression of solidity, originality and modernity. Switches and buttons have been fastidiously grouped according to function and ergonomics, and they have an almost machined finish and action.

The standard instrument cluster features clear, stylish, white-on-black graphics which deliver essential information at a glance, but in KX-3 and KX-4 versions this is replaced by a seven-inch TFT (Thin Film Transistor) display which adds an even more premium look to the dashboard and allows greater personalisation of the information provided.

Already the new Sorento is reaping design awards. It has received the prestigious IF Design Award in Germany, with the international jury recognising not only the car's aesthetics but also its finish, innovation, environmental impact and safety. The Sorento is the seventh Kia to receive an IF Design Award.

Cleaner, more fuel-efficient EU6 diesel engine

In the UK all versions of the Sorento are powered by the 2.2-litre version of Kia's R-family turbodiesel engine, which now meets EU6 emissions requirements. It features a new, fourth-generation common-rail fuel injection system with increased injection pressure.

The engine now develops 197bhp (an increase of 3bhp) and 441Nm of torque (plus 19Nm), endowing the Sorento with outstanding driveability on- and off-road. A balancer shaft reduces vibrations and ensures the engine is extremely refined. Performance has been improved so that acceleration from 0-62mph now takes just 9.0 seconds (auto 9.6 seconds), and all versions have a top speed of 124mph.

For the first time in a Kia, automatic models as well as manuals feature the company’s Intelligent Stop & Go (ISG) engine stop/start system to ensure that no fuel is used and no emissions are created when the car comes to a halt. This helps to improve both air quality and noise levels in urban areas. Automatic versions also have Kia’s Active ECO feature, which adjusts the operation of the engine and transmission to promote maximum fuel economy in motion. As a result, all versions of the new Sorento have lower fuel consumption and emissions. Manual models on 17-inch wheels have combined economy of 49.6mpg with CO2 emissions of only 149g/km, while for all automatics the respective figures are 42.2mpg and 177g/km.

All versions have Trailer Stability Assist to make towing safer. It works through the ESC system, and continuously monitors vehicle stability, gently applying some front braking force if it detects a potential loss of control.

Drive Mode Select is also fitted to versions with automatic transmission. This allows the driver to select three steering modes, from a more comfort-oriented to a firmer, more sporty feel, according to preference. It also modifies the automatic transmission shift pattern.

Four trim levels and advanced new technologies

All four luxuriously appointed trim grades have seven seats, now with a 40:20:40 split in the middle row and a 50:50 split in the rear.

Depending on model, the new Sorento features a number of highly advanced new safety and convenience technologies. Some are firsts for any Kia, while others are appearing on a European-specification Kia for the first time.

They include Adaptive Smart Cruise Control to maintain a gap to the vehicle ahead, Speed Limit Information, Around View Monitoring, Cross Traffic Alert to prevent the owner from backing out of a parking space into the path of an approaching vehicle, a Smart Park Assist System which now includes reverse and parallel departure functions, Lane Departure Warning with Blind Spot Detection and self-dimming Adaptive Front Lighting.

UK versions of the new Sorento are built at Kia’s Hwasung factory in Korea, and, as with every other model, are covered by the company’s industry-leading seven-year or 100,000-mile transferable warranty, subject to the exclusion of routine wear-and-tear items.

For more information, please contact Westover Kia in Poole or Salisbury.