Kia reveals its new fourth-generation Sorento
Covid-19 may be wreaking global havoc but it hasn't stopped Kia from pulling the wraps off its new fourth-generation Sorento SUV.
A collaborative design effort between all three studios within the marque's worldwide design network (Korea, Europe and North America), this striking SUV comes out swinging with an exterior that will have no trouble attracting the world's attention.
Trading the rounded shapes of its predecessor for much sharper lines and creases, the new Sorento makes a strong statement up front with its ultra-wide 'Tiger Nose' grille and headlamps fitted with all-new ‘Tiger Eyeline’ LED daytime running lights. Around back you'll find that characteristically wide D-pillar as well as new vertical tail lamps that wrap around the side of the body (a stylistic nod to the Telluride available to the US market).
Local specifications are yet to be released but we can tell you that in Europe the new Sorento will be available with a choice of 10 paint finishes as well as the option of 17-, 18-, 19- and 20-inch alloy wheels. Although the latter might not work well in cities like Johannesburg.
As can be expected the latest Sorento has grown in size and stature compared to the outgoing model. Get out your handy pocket measuring tape (we all know you carry one) and you will see that it is 10mm wider, 10mm taller and 10mm longer that the old third-generation model. This increase in length has been built into the wheelbase allowing for improved passenger comfort. Kia also shortened the car's front and rear overhangs, which not only disguises this extra length but makes the new Sorento appear more sporting.
Kia is always looking to improve the quality, fit and finish of its interiors and as such the cabin of the new Sorento is miles better than the one it replaces. Climb inside and you'll be met with a smorgasbord of metallic trim, leather upholstery, and embossed satin-effect surfaces. Applied throughout the interior and across the dashboard, this bestows the new Sorento with an air of sophistication previously unknown to cars within the Kia stable.
In Europe, buyers will have the choice of seating materials including black cloth, leather (grey or black single-tone, or black-and-grey two-tone), or black quilted Nappa leather.
Kia says that the new Sorento is the most technologically advanced vehicle it has ever built and as such it comes loaded with new connectivity and infotainment features.
Depending on specification, the cabin incorporates the brand's latest 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment system, offering audio-visual navigation, and a new 12.3-inch high-resolution digital instrument cluster. Combined, the two twin digital displays deliver information to the driver with increased clarity. An eight-inch display audio system is also available as standard, while all infotainment systems enable full, seamless smartphone integration with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto - must-haves for the modern motorist.
Another cool feature is that the infotainment system lets two Bluetooth smartphones pair at the same time: you can listen to music off one phone and make a call using the other.
The new Sorento also offers Kia’s UVO Connect telematics system, connecting drivers by providing invaluable information via the in-car touchscreen and on their smartphone. Featuring Kia Live services and accessible through the optional 10.25-inch LCD widescreen, the system displays live traffic information, weather forecasts, points of interest, and details of potential on- and off-street parking (including price, location and parking availability). UVO Connect also enables drivers to send route directions to their car before a journey, and check the location of their vehicle at any time.
Finally, audiophiles will be happy to hear that Kia will be making available the option of a punchy 12-speaker Bose surround-sound audio system that's guaranteed to deliver a more immersive sound to all three rows of seats. Complemented by a mood lighting system that offers no less than 64 colours, this should all make the Sorento the ideal road-trip partner.
Moving on to the subject of engines and European customers will for the first time ever be able to purchase a new hybrid model that offers both improved fuel consumption and lower CO2 emissions. The Sorento Hybrid is powered by a new ‘Smartstream’ electrified powertrain that here pairs a 132kW/265Nm 1.6-litre T-GDi petrol turbocharged engine with a 1.49 kWh lithium-ion polymer battery pack and 44kW/264Nm electric motor.
However don't hold your breath waiting for this powertrain to come to SA. The engine we're most likely to get is a new version of Kia's familiar 2.2-litre turbodiesel. Featuring a new aluminium block it now weighs 38.2kg lighter than its predecessor. Mated to a new eight-speed wet double-clutch transmission it produces 148kW and 440Nm. We can't at this stage give you any fuel efficiency or emissions data as Kia is only going to be releasing this information closer to the car’s European on-sale date later in 2020.
The fourth-generation Sorento also sports enhanced all-terrain capability thanks to a new Terrain Mode system. Paired with the optional all-wheel drive system, Terrain Mode makes the Sorento more capable in mud, snow and sand. With each mode selectable from a dial on the centre console, Terrain Mode controls the car’s electronic stability control (ESC), as well as the distribution of torque to all four wheels. It also adapts transmission shift times to help the car find and maintain traction in a range of driving environments.