VER­DICT

Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - CARS GUIDE - Call Great Western Kia, Gt Western Hwy, Kingswood on 1300 795916. Also Lan­der Kia, Black­town Rd, Black­town on 8822 4477.

There’s noth­ing par­tic­u­larly ground­break­ing about the new Sorento, but the sum of its changes makes it once again one of the best seven seat SUVs on the mar­ket. Throw in the added as­sur­ance of Kia’s in­dus­trylead­ing seven-year war­ranty, and it would be hard to look past. seats, with the sec­ond row also ben­e­fit­ing from a peo­ple mover-like flat floor.

The pre­vi­ous model’s sub-floor stowage at the rear has ex­panded, and those keen on trav­el­ling long dis­tances will be glad to see a spare still be­neath all vari­ants.

VALUE

THE new Sorento’s list pric­ing has shifted be­tween $2000-$4500 up­wards across the range, and the fa­mil­iar Si, SLi and Plat­inum trim lev­els now span $40,990-$55,990.

These gains are coun­tered by boosted lev­els of stan­dard equip­ment across the range, and even the base Si gets sat­nav, a re­vers­ing cam­era and front and rear park­ing sen­sors.

EN­GINES/TRANS­MIS­SION

THE new Sorento con­tin­ues with a choice of petrol or diesel en­gines, with the petrol op­tion down­siz­ing from 3.5 litres and drop­ping 5kW/17Nm to a 199kW/318Nm port­in­jected ver­sion of the 3.3-litre V6 that de­buted in the Car­ni­val ear­lier this year.

Petrol mod­els are still 2WD-only, while the diesel en­gine brings a torque vec­tor­ing all-wheel drive sys­tem with a cen­tre diff lock. Kia ex- pects around 80 per cent of buy­ers to opt for the diesel. All Sorento vari­ants now come with a six-speed torque con­verter au­to­matic trans­mis­sion, drop­ping the pre­vi­ous diesel man­ual due to a lack of pop­u­lar­ity.

Fuel con­sump­tion is up slightly due to re­tun­ing to suit new emis­sions reg­u­la­tions, with petrol mod­els record­ing 9.9-litre/100km on the com­bined cy­cle, and the diesels a still ef­fi­cient 7.8-litre/100km.

Those look­ing to use a Sorento for tow­ing should note the max­i­mum braked rat­ing of 2000kg, which matches the pre­vi­ous au­to­matic mod­els but is 500kg short of the pre­vi­ous man­ual.

DRIV­ING

BET­TER han­dling­means­bet­ter­safety, and the new Sorento has cer­tainly lifted its game.

Like all cur­rent mod­els, the Sorento has been treated to an Aus­tralia-spe­cific chas­sis setup, which brings unique spring, shock and sway­bar set­tings to suit lo­cal con­di­tions and tastes.

The re­sult is com­po­sure at speed and through bends that chal­lenges even the Ford Ter­ri­tory.

All new Soren­tos carry a five star ANCAP safety rat­ing.

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