The Kia Sorento isn’t the first vehicle on most consumers’ minds. On the outset, the previous generation model barely appealed to a minority. This bulky, uncomfortable off-roader wasn’t just unattractive but also slow in performance. Thankfully the latest Kia Sorento has vastly improved in terms of performance and design. The current Sorento sports a modern seven-seater SUV design that not only appeals to the eye but also targets an audience much larger than what was covered by its previous model. Read on to know how else the latest Sorento delivers with its new design and broader target market.
Kia makes sure that the Sorento is equal to its competitors, including multi-link rear suspension, a state-of-the-art engine, monocoque construction, and a six-speed automatic gearbox to its basic features. And although the Sorento appears to be a serious off-roader, the latest Sorento aims to “diversify” its capability for on road performance as well. Unlike typical off-roaders, this model doesn’t have a transfer box. But it isn’t a “soft roader” vehicle either, as it it’s able to go on all-wheel drive to take on rougher road conditions.
Apart from the six-speed auto gearbox, the Sorento also includes a lighter and smaller five-speed box that can boost your fuel consumption to as much as 12 per cent. The entry-level 2.0-litre turbodiesel engine is paired with a six-speed manual as its standard, and also includes front-wheel drive and five seats. For greater power, there’s the 2.2-litre unit that includes front-wheel drive. The 2.2-litre unit impresses even more than the 3.0-litre of the Toyota Land Cruiser, offering more torque at 311lb ft at 1800 rpm. This powerful unit is also able interact seamlessly and cohesively with the brand new six-speed gearbox. Another good bet is the 2.2 CRDi Sorento that can go into a 60mph sprint in just 9 seconds.
At first ride, the Sorento is able to handle most smooth surfaces and offer a comfortable experience. But after repeated drives, it proves to lack body control and grip. Thankfully for such a large car, the Sorento is able to deliver a sensibly geared and precise steering rack. But if one would assess the model’s overall ride and handling, it could still use serious improvements especially in terms of torsional strength and tuning.
The 2.2-litre unit may impress in terms of speed, but it does tend to be noisy when going into harder acceleration conditions. The gearbox also doesn’t perform as smoothly when on automatic mode. The ZF unit in the Land Rover Discovery 4 performs smoother in comparison. Steering is also lacking on the wheel despite its weight being decent enough. The four-wheel drive is the best performer in terms of ride and handling, but its front wheels tend to slip when the pulling power is brought towards the rear. Trouble could arise when off road drivers need the extra traction out back; thankfully the lock mode can split the torque 50:50 to both the front and back wheels. Hill start assist control also prevents the wheels from spinning in case of extreme conditions.
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