The new Sorento is constructed on the Korean marque’s latest N3 platform which uses a blend of steel and aluminium which both lightweight and strong. Dimensionally speaking, the new car is 10mm wider than before at 1,900mm while its length has grown by 10mm to 4,810mm, yet it has shorter over hangs front and rear. The Sorento’s wheelbase, too, has been expanded by 35mm to 2,815mm.
In terms of looks, this Korean follows in the footsteps of other recently outed Hyundai Motor Group products like the i30 Sedan/ Elantra and Genesis G80 – they look rather good. This all-new Sorento does look the part as well. The front-end features an evolution of Kia’s ‘tiger nose’ grille and is complemented by the slim triple LED headlights along with its L-shaped Daytime Running Lights.
The rear end sports a bold design with the use of sharp lines and radical angles. The tailgate features prominent creases which gives this SUV a rather muscular and I dare we say, premium look.
The interior is just as polarizing as the exterior and the company couldn’t agree more. “The interior of the fourth-generation Sorento represents a step-change in quality and design for Kia cabins. From the first-generation 2002 Kia Sorento, which provided occupants with a practical, robust and utilitarian space, the Sorento today provides owners with something altogether more striking, desirable and comfortable”. In other words, much thought has gone into the interior’s design.
The dashboard features a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster that’s twinned with a 10.25-inch touchscreen which displays infotainment and satellite navigation. There are also haptic buttons located on either side of the screen that can be used to control a host different features and the climate control system. The transmission meanwhile, is operated via a rotary wheel.
The cabin also features a 64-color ambient lighting system as well as a 12-speaker Bose Surround Sound system. There is also a wireless smartphone charging pad in the centre console. The interior of the Sorento is a made from a blend of metallic trim, leather, and embossed satin. In Australia, the Sorento will be available (depending on the trim variant) with embossed black fabric, leather appointed black cloth and black quilted Nappa leather.
Because of the redesigned chassis and clever use of space, there is space for seven passengers with up to 821 litres of boot space for luggage and up to 910 litres with the third row folded away, which can be done at the press of a button. That’s an increase of 32 percent in interior real estate over the outgoing car.
Second row occupants are treated to amenities such as pull-up sun blinds, climate control vents, cup holders, smartphone tray and two USB ports integrated into the backs of the two front seats. The third-row passengers get charging ports too, meaning all seven passengers can keep their device charged up at all times.
Powering this handsome mid-size SUV is a choice of engines, with or without electrification. The primary engine on offer is the ‘SmartStream’ 2.2-litre turbodiesel, which is now constructed from aluminium rather than cast iron. The result is an engine that weighs 19.5kg lighter than the one found in its predecessor. The oil burner puts out 148kW and 440Nm and is mated to Kia’s new eight-speed wet double-clutch transmission.
Australia is said to retain the 3.5-litre petrol V6 engine that’s used at present. In other markets, the company’s new 207kW, 2.5-litre turbo GDI engine will be offered. It also seems unlikely that Australia will be offered with the new electrified powertrain, which is a first for the model range. The system is made up of a 1.6-litre T-GDI engine and a 44.2kW electric motor that’s fed by a 1.49kWh lithium-ion polymer battery pack. The system is then mated to a six-speed automatic box.
While the first generation Sorento rode on a ladder-frame chassis, the second-generation till the present-day fourth generation Sorento has been monocoque-based, which improves the car’s on-road behaviour. With the N3 platform in place, the company says the new Sorento “delivers an even more assured, comfortable ride and more satisfying, enjoyable driving character than its predecessor, aided by a heavily revised fully-independent suspension system.”
In terms of safety, the new Sorento is loaded up with a host Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) such as AEB with pedestrian, cyclist and vehicle detection, Blind-spot View Monitor, Surround View Monitor, Blind-spot Collision-avoid Assist, Intelligent Speed Limit Assist, Smart Cruise Control with Stop & Go, Lane Following Assist, Driver Attention Warning and Highway Driving Assist. It also gets up to seven airbags.
The Sorento – when it lands in Australia – will be the flagship of the SUV range. However, no definite date has been provided for its local debut. Some say its arrival will come as soon as June this year, but nothing concrete has been laid out. Stay tuned as we bring you those updates.