KIA SORENTO

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Kia Sorento -

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.

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