It isn’t the most exciting announcement to be made at the upcoming 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show next week but perhaps one that’s going to have a more immediate impact on buyers as Kia will be unveiling their facelifted Sorento.
The third-generation of Kia’s up-to-7-seats SUV came about in 2014, making a revised version for the 2018 model year just about as on schedule as one can get in the automotive industry. It’s due to reach European showrooms as early as late 2017, corresponding to this deliberate unveil in Germany.
As with this being a facelift, the exterior alterations are the first to be noticed. Kia has included its revised ‘tiger-nostril’ grille, front and rear bumpers, new LED headlamps and tail lamps. Aside from this, which isn’t a very long list, there will be a few new colour options - Rich Espresso and Gravity Blue - along with new alloy wheels designs in 17-, 18-, and 19-inch varieties.
There are also some mildly significant changes to the interior as well, and though it retains the same overall layout and control placement, there’s now more soft touch materials spread throughout to supplement the leather (or cloth) upholstery and trim. Customers, Kia says, will be able to choose from either a black monotone, brown leather, or light grey leather.
Its infotainment package also sees an upgrade, now coming equipped with a larger 8-inch touchscreen with navigation powered by TomTom. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support is still there, of course, but now the in-car entertainment package is enhanced by an optional Harman/Kardon stereo, comprising of an array of 10-speakers outputting 640-watts.
On the safety front, the new Sorento will be available with Kia’s DRiVE WISE driver assistance systems, a suite that will now include Driver Attention Warning in addition to the already included Lane Keep Assist, Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB), and cross traffic alerts.
A new GT-Line grade will join the range as well, bringing the sportier motif variant to Kia’s largest SUV. With it selected, the 2018 Sorento will receive exterior upgrades that up its road presence such as four-lamp LED fog lights, red brake callipers, more prominent side step, GT-Line badging, quilted leather seats, satin chrome interior highlights, and unique gear shift paddles.
For Sorentos powered by the 2.2-litre turbodiesel engine, those shift paddles will input manual shifts instructions into a new 8-speed automatic transmission, replacing the ageing 6-speed unit. In the main, though, the engine situation has stayed static, although Kia hasn’t stipulated whether petrol-powered versions will be retaining the older auto. However, but it would be a shame if they (the 2.4-litre MPi or 3.3-litre V6) missed out. A manual option is also available on certain variants, boasting 6 forward ratios.