Soaring with the Kia Sorento

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Soaring with the Kia Sorento

BY RORY DALEY
Observer writer

Friday, March 06, 2020

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FINAL WORD

MODEL: 2020 Kia Sorento CRDi AWD

ENGINE: 2.2-litre, turbocharged four cylinder diesel — 200bhp/326lb-ft

DRIVETRAIN: Six-speed automatic/all-wheel drive

The Kia Sorento is easily one of the best value propositions on the sport utility vehicle (SUV) market, as it's equipped with many features found prominently on what many would term upscale brands.

Externally, the Sorento has a design language marking it out as a Kia with a chrome version of the signature tiger grille and ice cube fog lamps. Things only move up from there. Approach the Sorento, and the door handles light up to greet entrants, matched by lit branded scuff plates in the front-door foot sills. The comfortable heated and ventilated adjustable seats with memory function automatically slide to their maximum positions to allow ease of entry and exit.

Once inside, soft-touch materials and gloss black trim highlight a spacious cabin. Even without the large panoramic sunroof open, there's a great sense of expanse. From any position, there is access to storage solutions, charging, and some form of climate control due to three zone controls. Those in the third row aren't forgotten with their own A/C controls. Other ways of keeping the heat out and adding some extra privacy are the rear door window shades. Getting into the third row is a one button job. Those seats lift out of the truck floor. The tailgate is power operated. It can accommodate adults for short journeys, but is best left for the domain of the children for long travel.

In the driver's seat, instrumentation is bright and clear. The infotainment can be operated from the touchscreen, the steering wheel-mounted controls or fixed shortcut buttons next to it. It's smooth, responsive, easy to navigate, and has all the expected connectivity. A wireless charging pad in the centre console is a nice bonus.

The comfort continues when the engine fires up. One might forget it's a diesel due to the low interior noise, but a foot on the accelerator brings the 2.2-litre into play with its 200bhp and massive 326lb-ft of torque. With all that power, there's never a moment where the Sorento feels underpowered in any of its four drive modes. How it does operate is measured, riding that crest of torque in a very linear manner. The suspension is soft enough to never send rough impacts into the cabin, but offers good body control for spirited driving. The four-wheel drive adds a further sense of all-weather safety and the Kia is more than capable of handling light off-road duties. Having a diesel saves at the pump too.

The Kia Sorento is setup to be the family SUV, a package that offers space, fuel efficiency, ease of use, technology and comfort at competitive price point. The 2020 Kia Sorento starts at $7.2 million.


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