Kia has given its Sorrento a fresh new look, along with increased levels of comfort and efficiency to offer a very competent SUV. It’s a market that’s currently packed full of competitors, principally the Sorrento will go up against the Mitsubishi Outlander, Honda CRV and Hyundai Santa Fe, all of which have their own strong points.
There are two models of the new Kia Sorrento available in Ireland the entry-level (€37,990) EX model and the Platinum variant. The EX model which we test drove comes well equipped as standard, just some of its many items include, all-wheel-drive, 17” alloy wheels, a roof rack, parking sensors, climate control and Bluetooth. The additional specification on the Platinum variant includes, leather upholstery, heated front seats, rear privacy glass, reversing camera and HID (high intensity discharge lamps).
The quality of the interior has seen an improvement over its predecessor, with quality switch gear throughout. It’s spacious and comfortable for both driver and passengers, the floor has been lowered which increases the legroom for the second row by 30mm and by 9mm for the third row of seats. There’s also ample room for carrying goods as the rear two rows of seats fold flat with the simple pull of a lever.
The Sorrento impressed us with its on-road dynamics, we would not have expected this 7-seater all-wheel-drive SUV to give the level of feedback it offers. It’s stable around corners with excellent damping on uneven roads, the 2.2-litre diesel engine is sweet with ample power in reserve at all times, it pushes out 197hp and a vigorous 421Nm of torque. With emissions of 155g/km of CO2 it’s seated in tax band C, with an annual road tax fee of €390. The six-speed manual transmission is light and effortless to use, you can also opt for a six-speed automatic transmission. Kia’s all-wheel-drive is an ‘on-demand’ system, it delivers 100 per cent of engine torque to the front wheels for normal driving. When a front wheel loses grip, up to 50 per cent of torque is automatically transferred to the rear wheels. You can also select a ‘Lock mode’ for extreme conditions, this delivers 50 per cent of toque to both the front and rear axles. During our test drive we took the Sorrento across some particularly muddy fields where it happily sailed through the tricky conditions despite running on road-going tyres.
The new Kia Sorrento is an excellent all-rounder, it comes with Kia’s seven year warranty as standard as well as a host of safety equipment including, ESC (electronic stability control), VSM (vehicle stability management) and HAC (hill-start assist control). The choice of which SUV to purchase has just been made more complex.
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