ON SALE From January PRICE From $32,000 (estimate) ENGINES 2.2-litre turbodiesel, option of 3.5-litre V6 and 2.4-litre four-cylinder POWER 145kW (2.2-litre) TORQUE 436Nm at 1800-2500 revs (2.2-litre) TRANSMISSION: Six-speed automatic, on-demand all-wheel drive according to Kia’s statistics, weighs about 1800kg.
The engine is new, with an aluminium block and head, variable geometry turbocharger and a high-pressure, common-rail injection system.
Kia calls this engine the R series and it will be extended to other models.
It’s a strong unit, with 145kW and a meaty 436Nm at 1800-2500 revs, and does well hauling the Sorento’s weight and three adult occupants.
There is an occasion or two when the engine isn’t awake and the lag will temporarily produce a dead accelerator. The gearbox has a sequential manual mode and it is this feature that overcomes any tendency for the engine to suffocate.
General handling is good, though there may be some benefit in fitting firmer dampers to get a more positive feel to steering and body stance.
For towing, the turbodiesel is rated at 2000kg, which should really be at least 2500kg. There may be adjustments to this when the final specification shake-down happens for the Australian model range.
The Sorento is a big vehicle and will seat seven, though the third row of seats — which fold flat into the luggage floor— are awkward to get to and a bit limited for adults. I’m 177cm and just fit in. Leg room is tight and my head touches the roof. Best for the kiddies, really.
Interior finish is very good, though there is a lot of hard (and black) plastic. Heated front and rear seats were on the test car, though they’re probably unlikely for Australia — and generally unnecessary.