As Hyundai South Africa readies their fourth-generation Santa Fe for its local introduction next month, their sister brand, KIA Motors South Africa has just launched a refreshed version of their 7-seater Sorento SUV.
“The Sorento SUV has been a proud flagbearer for KIA’s design and quality credentials since the first generation model debuted in 2002,” says Gary Scott, CEO of KIA Motors South Africa. “It has not only won red dot and iF Design Awards, but is also a consistent segment leader in the annual J.D. Power Initial Quality Study.”
Aside from gaining a fresh look, and some new technology, it also gains a new 8-speed automatic transmission. On the exterior, it gets a new Kia tigers' nose, while other tweaks include new LED head and tail lights as well as reprofiled front and rear bumpers that give the Sorento a sportier, more aggressive look. All models ride on newly designed 18-inch alloy wheels shod with meaty 235/60 R18 rubber, and are equipped with a full-sized spare wheel.
Inside, there’s a new four-spoke steering wheel, with a rather peculiar looking round airbag boss, replacing the old three-spoke steering wheel, as well as a new gearshift lever, and a revised instrument cluster with improved graphics. The redesign also includes alterations to the air vents and the centre console design. A new 8” infotainment touch-screen is available on all derivatives, with embedded Satellite Navigation, from which occupants can also control audio, whether it is a favourite radio station, via the USB/Aux jacks, or through their mobile device via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
The 2.2-litre CRDi diesel motor is unchanged, boasting outputs of 147kw and 440nm, but the big news is Kia’s all-new 8-speed automatic transmission. Designed in-house by Kia and launched in 2016, the transmission boasts 143 newly-patented technologies that compared to other automatic transmissions, requires fewer control valves, enabling a more direct mechanical link to the engine. This in turn delivers a slick-shifting, more decisive drive, while reducing emissions slightly to 164 g/km and 170 g/km for the front-wheel and all-wheel drive versions respectively.
The new transmission offers four different drive modes: Eco, Comfort, Sport and Smart. Drivers can select their preferred mode with the Sorento’s electronic Drive Mode Select system. Each mode enables the driver to customize the powertrain’s responses to driver inputs, enhancing fuel economy or acceleration characteristics depending on driver preference.
The model line-up has been further streamlined to include just two specification levels - LX and EX, with both specification levels available as either a front-wheel drive or KIA’s renowned Dynamax all-wheel drive system.
The Sorento LX features a raft of standard specification that includes dual zone automatic air-conditioning, automatic headlamp control (incorporating ‘Welcome Home’ and ‘Escort’ lighting), auto-folding and heated side mirrors with integrated side indicators, electric windows front and rear, and rear USB ports.
The higher-spec EX model also features an auto defog system, illuminated door scuff plates, rear sun shade blinds, electrically adjustable front seats (with two-way adjustable lumbar support for the driver’s seat), integrated roof rails and a wireless smartphone charger.
“While Sorento has always played an important role in our SUV line-up, the mid-life enhancement provided us with a great opportunity to focus our offering in the medium SUV space,” says Stephen Crosse, Sales Director, KIA Motors South Africa. “The cosmetic updates endow the Sorento with an even more polished appearance, while new and upgraded specification increases the model’s value proposition. The enhanced Sorento range brings new levels of versatility to the segment, combined with an exceptional value proposition, industry-leading quality, class-leading refinement and an award-winning design.”
The KIA Sorento includes KIA’s industry-leading unlimited kilometre, five year warranty, as well as a standard 5-year/100 000km service plan and 3-years of roadside assistance.
Sorento 2.2 CRDI LX R569 995
Sorento 2.2 CRDI LX AWD R609 995
Sorento 2.2 CRDI EX R599 995
Sorento 2.2 CRDI EX AWD R639 995