Friday, September 8, 2017

Bucket Seat: KIA Sorento 2.2CRDi

When I was first told I would be receiving a KIA Sorento to test, I honestly thought it was the previous generation Sorento, the one with the revised rear lights that look a bit odd. I didn't even know KIA had launched a new one! So it was much to my surprise when heading home one day, I came across this rather good looking SUV next to me, it was in a metallic bronze colour. From general design and observation, it was clearly a KIA but not one that I've seen before, so when I glanced at the badge and saw it was the Sorento, I was a bit confused. So when I got a chance to, I visited the KIA website and saw that the new Sorento was available in SA, not sure how they managed to sneak such a large SUV into the country with not many knowing about it, unless it was just me who missed it? Anyway, from then on I was quite excited to get it and see what this range topping SUV from the Korean's had to offer, since I was already blown away from the smaller Sportage.


When the test unit arrived, I was pretty bleak to see it was white and not that fancy metallic bronze, (which the correct name is "Imperial Bronze"),  I saw but never the less it still had those great looks. As mentioned previously, the older gen Sorento had this rather awkward looking rear, especially the tail-lights. It just looked out of proportion and something that was cut and pasted there. The new Sorento however has been crafted well, a bit of it's styling still comes from the older model but with subtle differences. The big changes are its size and in the front and the back. The front features a new grille with like a 3D effect with the KIA badge almost floating in the center. The front headlights have been re-sculpted and aren't fused with the grille as before. They're more edgy and sleek. The rest of the front is molded well with large openings for the front fog lights. The rear end has a very American look to it, with the rear lights looking to that of a Jeep but not overly similar that you'd think it is one. Overall the design is perfect and on the EX, SX and SXL models look even better with the chrome finishing. 


I had the 2.2 LS CRDi, which was one of the entry level Sorento's available, so while it didn't have all the bells and whistles on the inside, it still had that great 2.2 litre diesel engine, which delivers 147kW and 440Nm of Torque. Plenty of power to pull this big boy along on any surface. Actually the diesel engine was very eager to go as I found sometimes with quick acceleration from a stand still caused the tyres to spin! I thought the 6 speed automatic gearbox won't be adequate for the Sorento, seeing that many other manufacturers are opting for 7 speeds or higher but somehow KIA got this one right. It's got great timing on the changes and responds well when needed, all while keeping revs at a minimum and thus conserving your fuel. Speaking of which, in my 7 days with it, I clocked up over 700km and it still had a few 100 left on the range. 


While you can get the Sorento in a 7 seater configuration, the model I had was a 5 seater, so space was a plenty and it made it for a very very big trunk. So big you could fit two adults in there...not that I tried...okay, maybe I did. If sitting in the trunk isn't your thing, then you will be glad to hear that the seats in the Sorento are extremely comfortable. The 2.2 LS CRDi comes with cloth seats and has the extra option of leather if you prefer it, however I had no real complaints about the cloth, normally I find that the cloth makes it a bit warm in the car but didn't really have that problem, unless it was the winter weather? The ride quality on the Sorento is exceptional, it's soft and smooth, suspension copes well from gravel roads to speed humps. 


While I did have the entry level Sorento, it came with the bare minimum. Bluetooth Telephone and Audio streaming, multi-function buttons on the steering wheel to control everything from audio, telephone and the trip computer in the dash. Being a rather large vehicle, it was nice that it came with PDC's so that made parking it a bit much easier but a reverse camera would be nice, mind you with the radio being a normal LED type info screen it wouldn't be much of use unless they integrated it into the review mirror like their previous models. In saying that, the EX, SX and SXL models do have a colour screen infotainment display but it's rather tiny. It's a bit annoying that the previous KIA I had on test which was the Rio had this lovely, large touch screen display, capable of such wonderful things but then I got this and well, it didn't. But KIA have noticed this as well and just this week released a revised Sorento which I'm pretty such does have all these goodies as well as some minor design tweaks. 


Overall, the KIA Sorento is a wonderful family SUV. The price tag makes it even more attractive when looking at large SUV's in its class and even though I had a base model, it was more than sufficient for my needs. During my time with it I gave as many people I knew rides in it as well, just to get a wider consensus on what others had to think of the vehicle. One of which was a KIA owner who currently drives an Optima, he was blown away by its size, ride comfort and what it had to offer, which makes me wonder what he'd think of the revised one that is yet to hit the shores. I do feel KIA missed the mark on certain aspects which they fixed up in the upcoming Sorento, not sure how big the gap of the release between this and the Rio was but if they picked up most items from the beginning, this would put some serious competition out there to the German and Japanese manufacturers. 


 2.2 litre, 4 cylinder, CRDi
 Gear Box
 6 speed automatic
 Top Speed
 9.3  seconds
 R 489,995

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