The third-generation and all-new Kia Sorento has been unveiled in Korea prior to its European debut at this year’s Paris Motor Show in early October, building on the success of the current (and outgoing) model and blending style, practicality and technology with a smoother, swept-back profile and deeply sculpted surfaces.
The evolutionary styling changes also offer more space and subtly alter the character of the new Sorento, giving it more of a sophisticated air while at the same time giving the new model a bolder presence on the road.
And it all starts at the front with long, wrap-around headlamps and more prominent fog-lamps along with a larger, more upright ‘tiger-nose’ grille that was seen previously on the 2013 Kia Cross GT concept; and continues in profile with a lower roofline, higher beltline and swept-back shape on top of the Sorento hallmark long bonnet and characteristic wide D-pillar.
Longer and wider than its predecessor, yet slightly shorter, the new Kia Sorento is a design collaboration between Kia’s Namyang design studio in Korea and the design studios in Frankfurt and California.
‘Sophisticated and luxurious’ theme for interior styling
But it is inside the all-new Sorento that the design team have made some of the most significant improvements with a more sophisticated, more luxurious cabin, with some high quality materials involved.
As we said before, the new Kia Sorento is wider, illustrated by the wider instrument cluster, interior garnish and the wrap-around shape of the dashboard right up to the door trims; created in soft-touch materials and leather to emphasize the new modern luxurious feel of the cabin.
The Swiss watch-inspired centre-console incorporates Kia’s latest HMI (human-machine interface) technologies, and there’s also a choice of interior between Saturn Black and two-tone (Saturn Black and Stone) with cloth or leather trim.
With more internal space thanks to its increased proportions and rearranged seating, there’s not only more legroom in the new Kia Sorento, but also more cargo space with capacity increased by 17.5% with the third row of seats flat – and there’s even a new under-floor tonneau cover storage compartment.
The Sorento is available in five- or seven-seat versions, and features a 40/20/40 second row split folding for improved versatility, the second row seats in the seven-seat version being equipped with ‘remote folding’ controlled by two levers in the side of the cargo bay.
The on-board technologies in the new Kia Sorento are the very latest advancements so that any driver can do so in complete confidence knowing that the convenience of the technology has been improved with further enhancement of the ownership experience. Depending on which market we are talking about, new available features will include: an Around-View Monitor, with four cameras helping the driver to manoeuvre when parking, and a Smart Power Tailgate that opens the tailgate automatically when the key is ‘sensed’ in close proximity to the trunk, so that shopping bags or heavy objects can be slid straight into the vehicle without the embarrassing fumble to reach the keys that are ‘in the wrong pocket.’
Improved powertrains, ride and handling
Upgrades for the engines, steering and suspension are an integral part of the vision for the new Kia Sorento that the designers had..
When it comes to the powertrain, the new Sorento (depending on which country it is offered up in) brings with a choice of up to 5 engines, with power outputs ranging from 172 to 270 ps. The engines include a 2.4-litre gasoline direct injection (GDI) unit, 2.4-litre and 3.3-litre multi-point injection (MPI) engine, and revised 2.0-litre and 2.2-litre ‘R’ turbo-diesel units. (Over in this country we will see only the 2.2-litre turbo-diesel and 2.4-litre GDI engine models – and Kia estimate that the diesel unit will account for the majority of sales (although there is still a final decision to be made on the UK line-up.)
Ride comfort, high-speed stability and handling response were high up on Kia’s list of ‘must-haves’ in the new Sorento, to match the advances made in interior quality and NVH, so after keeping the fully-independent suspension of the outgoing model, at the rear, “the subframe supporting the suspension has larger bushings to better isolate it from the cabin and the larger shock absorbers are now mounted vertically behind the axle line, improving body control motion” making the ride more compliant and with a better response to bumpy roads.
There’s also an all-new electric motor-driven power steering system (R-MDPS) at the front (most likely as standard here in the UK) mounted directly onto the steering rack to provide a greater feel on the steering and a quicker response.
Better passive and active safety
By using more ultra-high tensile steel in the construction, the structure of the new Sorento is significantly stronger, and therefore safer than before, and the addition of the option of a number of ‘active’ safety technologies – depending on market – make it even safer. Available systems will include: ASCC (Adaptive Smart Cruise Control); LDWS (Lane Departure Warning System), which emits an audible alert when the driver strays from the chosen lane without using indicators; FCW (Front Collision Warning); BSD (Blind-Spot Detection); LCA (Lane Change Assist); RCTA (Rear Cross-Traffic Alert), which warns against other cars driving behind the Sorento in car parks; and SLIF (Speed Limit Information Function), which displays the speed limit in the driver’s instrument cluster based on cameras detecting roadside signs.
We still will have to wait for the official European premiere of the Kia Sorento on Thursday 2 October at the 2014 Paris Motor Show to find out what the European version will feature, but it’s already looking good.