Sorento gets a first-class upgrade
Less than three years into its life-cycle, Kia’s evergreen large SUV, the Sorento, gets a first-class upgrade for the 2013 model year with a re-engineered bodyshell; a new 2.4-litre direct-injection petrol engine among a range of enhanced and highly efficient powertrain; improved ride, handling and refinement; additional high-tech convenience and safety features and a fresh new look.
The revised Sorento will be available with one petrol and two turbodiesel diesel engines generating from 148 to 194 bhp, depending on market. The all-new 2.4-litre GDI direct-injection petrol, appearing in a Kia for the first time in Europe, and the 2.2-litre diesel engine, have both been re-engineered to improve fuel efficiency. A 2.0-litre diesel engine is also available.
The revised 2.4-litre Theta II GDI engine is fitted with a new cylinder head, pistons, and fuel injection and intake systems. It generates 9 per cent more power (188 bhp) and 6.6 per cent more torque (242 Nm) than the 2.4 multi-point injection engine available in some markets outside Europe while delivering14 per cent better fuel economy and lower emissions, from 199 g/km.
The two turbodiesel engines are from the R family. In the upgraded Sorento, the 2.2-litre, 194 bhp TCI (turbocharged intercooler) engine features a new exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) system which reduces CO2 emissions by 14 per cent – down to as little as 153 g/km. Maximum torque is 436 Nm (automatic models) and 421 Nm (manuals). The smaller capacity 2.0-litre TCI engine generates 148 bhp and 382 Nm.
Every Sorento continues to have a six-speed gearbox, while the choice of front- or four-wheel drive is again available to buyers, depending on model. The 2WD drivetrain is approximately 60 kg lighter to the benefit of fuel economy.
The 4WD drivetrain is an ‘on demand’ system that delivers 100 per cent of engine torque to the front wheels during routine city and highway driving. Whenever a front wheel loses grip up to 50 per cent of the torque is automatically transferred to the rear wheels. In severely slippery conditions the driver can select Lock Mode, which delivers 50 per cent of torque to each axle.
Improved on-road performance, retained off-road capability
Kia chassis engineers have made extensive changes to the set-up of the Sorento to deliver an even more sophisticated ride/handling balance to rival the best vehicles in its class.
While the basic specification of the suspension is unchanged – front MacPherson struts and a multi-link set up at the rear – the subframes which support the suspension are completely new, stronger designs. They give more precise location of the suspension components and have revised mounting bushes to dampen vibrations. Larger suspension bushes, longer trailing arms at the rear and High Performance Dampers work together to improve ride comfort and stability.
For precise vehicle control and good feel, the upgraded Sorento’s steering is now more direct, with 2.95 turns of the wheel lock-to-lock. Kia’s new FlexSteerTM system is an option, providing Normal, Sport and Comfort modes with three different levels of assistance and weighting to match customer preference.
A fresh new look with premium appeal
Sorento has a fresh look that reflects its more premium quality and enhanced specification, The front and rear now have larger areas of body-colour surface. At the same time, careful attention to surface detailing has cut aerodynamic drag to Cd 0.34.
New front and rear bumpers now feature unconventional upright fog lights. There is a new front grille and headlamps with LED positioning lights, and a new tailgate with reshaped LED combination lamps. Depending on model, the Sorento’s updated styling is completed with 17-, 18- or new 19-inch alloy wheels.
A new two-part glass panoramic sunroof with a single powered roller-blind shade is also available.
New high-tech features and top quality trim
Sorento’s cabin has been refreshed with premium high-tech equipment and an extended choice of options.
Inside the seven-seater cabin there are more soft-touch surfaces – with a satin chrome finish for the door handles, air-vent surrounds and switches – plus a new LCD instrument cluster, new centre stack with seven-inch LCD display screen and a new centre console featuring (on automatic transmission models), a straight-gate selector with a leather-booted lever – reinforcing the vehicle’s more luxurious character.
Further premium options include powered, heated and ventilated front seats, heated second-row seat cushions, a Bluetooth® hands-free system, UV-reflecting Solar glass and independent air-conditioning for the third-row seats.
Access to the cabin is improved by the 10 mm lower ride height. The cabin floor has also been lowered, increasing legroom by 30 mm (second row) and 9 mm (third row).
Kia engineers have implemented a host of measures to reduce NVH (noise, vibration and harshness) to ensure that the Sorento has even greater refinement than the previous model, making it one of the quietest vehicles in its class.
Five-Star safety standards with advanced new systems
When it was introduced in 2009, the second-generation Sorento was awarded a five-star Euro NCAP safety rating. Today, official crash test standards in Europe are much tougher, so Kia engineers have strengthened the structure and safety equipment to ensure that the new model will also win the maximum safety accolade in Europe and the USA.
Extensive revisions to the bodyshell, which already incorporates a higher percentage (70.4 per cent) of high-strength steel than most competitors, have improved front, side and rear impact protection. Hot stamping is used to heat steel to 900º C and press immensely strong components for the front bumper, centre floor member and rear floor side members – improving crashworthiness.
A bracing bar between the top of the front suspension towers is fitted and the bodyshell’s torsional rigidity has been raised by 18 per cent. This enhances refinement and creates a stronger foundation for the suspension and steering, which benefits ride comfort and directional stability.
Inside, the Sorento will be equipped with up to six front, side and curtain airbags, while for maximum stopping power, larger diameter (320 mm) ventilated front disc brakes are fitted. All Sorentos will be fitted with an active bonnet which raises the rear edge during a collision to reduce the severity of pedestrian injury.
Active safety technologies available will include ESC (electronic stability control), VSM (vehicle stability management), a reversing safety camera mounted on the tailgate with a 130-degree wide-angle lens, HID Xenon headlamps and HAC (hill-start assist control), which prevents slip-back when pulling away on inclines.
Benny Oeyen, Vice President Marketing and Product Planning, Kia Motors Europe, says: “Since its introduction in 2009, the second-generation Kia Sorento has achieved more than 34,000 sales across Europe, following global sales of almost 900,000 units achieved by the original Sorento from 2002. This all-new model was a ‘landmark’ vehicle in the history of our brand, starting the process of changing public perceptions of Kia as a maker of supposedly only small cars.
“During the last decade, Sorento has earned widespread public acclaim and attracted thousands of new customers to Kia. While creating the upgraded Sorento, Kia’s design and engineering teams have paid careful attention to owners’ feedback, and the result is a new Kia model which is not just a cosmetic exercise but represents a major step forwards.”