The next Generation Kia Sorento – Launched!

Mar 13, 13 The next Generation Kia Sorento – Launched!

 

 

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No one seems to be as driven to quickly revise their models as do the Koreans. Many has the opinion that they’re still behind the Japanese when it comes to engine, ride and handling refinement while some agree that in terms of cabin comfort, they may be on par if not better than their Nihon counterparts. But one thing that has definitely got everyone talking is the styling. The formula is simple: Hire an experienced continental car designer, make a car that visually connects with potential buyers, plonk in a modern engine that’s measures up with other manufacturers of the same engine size/type. Wala! Excellent sales figures month after month …

 

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… except, here in Malaysia, not every Korean model sells like hot cakes. The Kia Sorento is one of those models that “should” make perfect sense. A full sized SUV, a 2.4litre engine and seats seven people comfortably at the price of a Honda CRV? It can’t go wrong …. except, sister company Hyundai brought in the Santa Fe with its 2.2litre turbo diesel 442Nm engine. Compared to the Sorento’s 226Nm output, the Santa Fe out-specs the Sorento in terms of power and mileage returns.

 

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And yet, there are always some buyers who still go for the Sorento. In my test drive of it (found HERE), I find it very easy to drive, comfortable and not as fuel thirsty as I would expect for a car this size. I thought it was quite complete for an urban SUV … and Nazakia will be launching the highly anticipated Next Generation Sorento at its nationwide Kia Customer Day on Mar 16 and 17 2013. With over 33 enhancements, the Next Generation Sorento is not just a Botox facelift …. it’s a boob job, liposuction, tooth whitening, orthodontics and every other beauty related treatment one can want for affluent customers between the ages of 35 to 50 years-old.

 

 

Design

 

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It may “look” like the current Sorento but Kia is stressing that the new FL has been completely re-engineered with the target of providing drivers improved safety, comfort, luxury and driving dynamics while lowering fuel consumption, emissions and running costs.  Thought its dimensions remain unchanged at 4,685 mm and 1,885 mm respectively, New Sorento is 10 mm lower than the outgoing model at 1,700 mm as a result of a corresponding reduction in ride height.

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What’s clearly obvious with the FL is the addition of LED DRLs that’ll probably make it stand out like a PaPa-Sportage. Other additions includes vertical axis fog lamps with static bending lights, body-coloured bumpers, chrome exterior door handles, aero blade-type front wipers, projection headlamps, electrically folding, adjustable and heated door mirrors. Speaking of door mirrors, they now feature stylish LED turn-signals while its chrome-plated door handles are equipped with pocket lights that light up when the driver approaches the car with the remote key …. much like how your children’s light up when you come home to see them. The simple pleasures that one forgets in the hustle and bustle of life.

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At the back, the Next Generation Sorento has a redesigned tailgate, reshaped LED rear-combination lamps, a stylish body colour bumper, vertical rear fog lamps and a rear spoiler to accentuate the SUV’s sporty image. In addition, the Next Generation Sorento comes with

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Sporty redesigned 18-inch alloy wheels …. appropriately styled Kia wheels.

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Performance

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In markets such as the UK, the Sorento gets a 2.2-litre CRDi turbodiesel engine, driving all four wheels via a six-speed manual gearbox or the company’s’ six-speed automatic. Since the Santa Fe has already “chup” that engine variant, we’ll be sticking with the 2.4litre DOHC 16 Valve Dual CVVT Theta II engine that produces 176PS @ 6,000rpm and 227Nm @ 3,750rpm mated to a six-speed automatic transmission with Manumatic (manual override like tiptronic in other words). No official word on Zero to hundred numbers but it should take about 9.5 seconds to hit triple digits and top speed is about 190kph.

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Ride and Handling

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The current MacPherson in front and independant multi-link for rear set-up is said to be carried over with a slight modification done by introducing a new H-shaped front subframe and an additional reinforcement at the rear to improve straight-line stability and ride comfort and raised road holding through more precise tyre contact with the road.

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A set of new high-performance dampers at all four corners, larger suspension bushes and longer trailing arms at the rear also add to New Sorento’s greater levels of comfort. I actually wonder if we can retrofit these components to the current generation since Kia said it’s the FL is going to be different.

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Also, the Sorento will feature Motor Driven Power Steering (MDPS) …. I hope steering feedback is not overtly artificial but in the previous model, it`s relatively communicative, for an Asian made car.

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Noise intruding into the cabin should be lesser as the engine bay is lined with three-layer noise-lowering materials while a new sound insulator is fitted in the transmission tunnel

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Cabin Convenience

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Inside the seven-seater SUV, you can find the following:-

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  • 7-inch colour thin film transistor (TFT) LCD Supervision cluster with trip computer
  • 4.3-inch LCD touch-screen audio system with a rear view camera
  • Radio/CDC/MP3/ Ext Amp with 6 speaker system
  • 6 CD changer
  • AUX + USB + iPod Connectivity
  • Fully automatic dual zone air conditioner with Cluster Ionizer
  • Third row dual air-conditioner vents
  • Electronic Chromatic Rear view mirror
  • Interior mood lamps
  • Leather wrapped gear shift knob
  • Leather seats
  • Active headrest
  • 8-way power seat (driver only)
  • 2nd row 60:40 split folding
  • 3rd row 50:50 split folding
  • Headrest adjusters
  • Center armrest with cup holder
  • 3-point ELR front seatbelts with height adjusters
  • 3-point ELR rear seatbelts
  • Leather wrapped steering (tilt and telescopic adjustable)
  • Hydraulic power, rack & pinion
  • Steering controls include audio control, auto cruise control and Bluetooth connectivity
  • Keyless Entry and Engine Start/Stop button
  • Auto up and down power windows with anti pinch feature
  • Panoramic sunroof with retractable front section

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As for the boot space, you’ll get an itsy small 116 litres  if your back 2 seats are upright and carrying 7 passengers. With all rear seats down, you’ll find a whopping 1,530 litres of space.

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Safety

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As always, most Kia models come with uncompromised safety features and I expect the facelift to be no exception. I am guessing the Sorento will feature the following:-

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  • ABS
  • EBD
  • Emergency Stop Signal (ESS) that automatically turns on the hazard lights when emergency braking.
  • ESC
  • Downhill Brake Control (DBC)
  • Hill-start Assist Control (HAC)
  • 6 airbags
  • front seatbelt pre-tensioners and load limiters
  • Rear parking assist sensor system
  • Speed sensing auto door lock
  • Impact sensing auto door unlock

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Ownership and Maintenance

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The new Sorento has 5-year unlimited mileage warranty as enjoyed by other Kia models here in Malaysia and is priced the same as its predecessor at RM158,888
OTR and comes in Pearl White, Bright Silver, Glittering Metal or Mahogany Brown.

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Naza Kia Malaysia aims to sell 100 units each month …. a number I would be comfortable with too if I was Naza provided I didn’t have to contend with its brother, the Hyundai Santa Fe. The current Santa Fe has both the Theta II petrol engine (the same as found here in the Sorento) and the CRDi 2.2litre turbo diesel engine which gives excellent power and mileage and between these 2 variants, I suspect the diesel sells more. Even so, the Santa Fe’s excellent engine (which sadly can be found in Sorentos elsewhere but not offered here in Malaysia) advantage is offset by a rather pudgy looking exterior and an interior dashboard design that looked like it was from the era I was born. The new Santa Fe however promises to eliminate this disadvantage with a drastic exterior and interior redesign that has made it more modern and sleeker (imagine a super sized Papa Tucson and you won’t be too far off the mark). I have not tested the Santa Fe so I cannot comment about how it handles but on paper, the Sorento has the advantage of better pricing and I hear less service centre related complaints compared to Hyundai’s. Hyundai-Sime Darby Motors also seem to be suffering from stocking issues and I doubt it would be better with the new Santa Fe.

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Still, no harm testing both models before deciding …. at this time, all I can say is I tested the previous gen and loved it. There is no reason why the next generation Sorento should not be even better than its predecessor

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7 Comments

  1. i do hope they bring in more cars spec with turbo diesel engine,
    the limiting factor would be our diesel quality

  2. Hi,

    I heard from my kia dealer Naza wont bring the FL. I wonder if its his trick to get me to buy the sorento current version. Do you know if Naza will bring the FL or stick to the XM?

    Goka

  3. sudonano /

    Although mechanically the Hyundai is better, but in terms of comfort, the Sorento does a better job than the Gen 2 Santa Fe.

  4. Kevin /

    Ken, do you know what is the FC for the new Sorento? Both Urban and Highway if possible.

    Thanks

  5. angel /

    You should read review from livelifedrive.com idiot writer

    • I’m sorry, I fail to see how or why that article should be labeled as idiotic. I have read the article and perhaps it’s me who’s idiotic for not seeing anything wrong with it.

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