KIA SORENTO 2.2 CRDI LS

Big on space, big on value

Driven - - Contents - Re­port by MONIQUE VANDERLINDEN | Im­ages © RYAN AB­BOTT (TCB ME­DIA)

SINCE ITS WORLD­WIDE DE­BUT IN THE EARLY 2000S, THE TOY­OTA YARIS SU­PER­MINI HAS GAINED A REP­U­TA­TION FOR BE­ING A RE­LI­ABLE, EASY-TORUN B SEG­MENT CON­TENDER. HOW­EVER, IN RE­CENT YEARS THE HATCH HAS PLAYED SEC­OND FID­DLE TO ITS STRONG­EST COM­PETI­TORS, THE VW POLO, FORD FI­ESTA, AND MAzDA2.

So, it does make a lot of sense that Toy­ota came in strong with this year’s re­launch of the rein­vig­o­rated Yaris, show­ing off a dras­ti­cally re­vised ex­te­rior, up­dated in­te­rior tech as well as a new, nat­u­rally as­pi­rated 1.5-litre petrol en­gine. Cre­at­ing a stronger model range that is de­signed to meet the re­quire­ments and pref­er­ences of to­day’s se­lec­tive cus­tomer base.

NEW LOOK

The range-top­ping Yaris Pulse Plus’ ex­te­rior makes a def­i­nite style state­ment – that will eas­ily at­tract buy­ers of all ages – with its new front and rear de­signs. The re­design fea­tures a new front bumper that cre­ates a “cata­ma­ran” shape with broad sec­tions flow­ing down from new head­light units, flank­ing the wide grille, and re­sult­ing in a more pro­nounced three-di­men­sional ef­fect, and the sense of a wider, planted road stance. How­ever, the pres­ence of the ini­tial Yaris form is still very much recog­nis­able un­der all the more mod­ern re­fine­ments, not los­ing its well-loved Yaris look.

Cus­tomers have a choice of three uni­colour tones – Glacier White, Satin Sil­ver Metal­lic and Cos­mic Blue, as well as bitones, which are paired with black roofs – in­clud­ing Pearl White 2-Tone, Grey 2-Tone and Cinnabar Red 2-Tone.

GET IN­SIDE

In­side, the Yaris feels quite small and com­pact at first, and with a length of 3,945 mm, it is a tad tinier than its main com­peti­tor. How­ever, the boot ca­pac­ity meets the stan­dard of the seg­ment at 286 litres, so there is am­ple space for all man­ner of good­ies.

The Yaris Pulse Plus CVT fea­tures a black trim (un­like the other deriva­tives), which is the colour of choice for a lot of driv­ers as it au­to­mat­i­cally makes the in­te­rior seem more so­phis­ti­cated and clean. The three­spoke steer­ing wheel gets a new look with the ad­di­tion of pi­ano black trim in­serts.

Other mi­nor, yet note­wor­thy de­tail changes that play a role in the in­te­rior’s sleek new look in­clude new pro­pel­ler style air vents, seam­less ex­e­cu­tion of the mul­ti­me­dia screen and con­trols in the cen­tre con­sole, in­clud­ing new switches that are neat and easy to op­er­ate.

GREAT PER­FORMER

The new 1.5-litre petrol en­gine pow­er­ing the Yaris Pulse de­liv­ers 12% more power (82 KW – the same amount as the Mazda2) and torque (136 Nm) than the pre­vi­ous en­gine, yet also posts an im­prove­ment of up to 12% in fuel econ­omy, which is of course great news all around.

Toy­ota has also kept the costs down by opt­ing for a CVT, in­stead of a dual clutch

auto trans­mis­sion. How­ever, as al­ways, this could be seen as a “bet­ter or worse” sit­u­a­tion de­pend­ing on how you look at it and also, where you are driv­ing. Amid the streets of Cape Town and the lesser busy streets of the North­ern Sub­urbs, the Yaris CVT per­formed both ef­fi­cient and smooth, and the car fol­lowed swiftly with­out any sig­nif­i­cant in­ter­rup­tions.

On the open road, how­ever, where ve­hi­cles drive any­where from 80 km/h to 120 km/h, the Yaris felt like it was lag­ging a bit, and strug­gled un­der hard ac­cel­er­a­tion. Se­lect­ing sport mode en­dows the Yaris with tighter gear ra­tios and some­what more grunt, although it also means poorer fuel econ­omy. This is where the Yaris’ di­rect com­peti­tors, such as the Polo, comes out on top.

SAFETY AND CON­VE­NIENCE

The Yaris Pulse Plus CVT does not lack in the safety and com­fort de­part­ments – and boasts seven airbags with fea­tures such as hill as­sist, ABS, EBD, BAS, key­less ac­cess, and sta­bil­ity con­trol as stan­dard; as well as all the gen­eral com­fort bells and whis­tles such as a USB, Blue­tooth, Cruise Con­trol and Pro­jec­tor Head­lights all as stan­dard – with only four fea­tures lack­ing from the top-of-the-range Hy­brid model.

LAST WORD

Although the Yaris does not en­tirely add up to its main com­peti­tors in all de­part­ments, its real strength lies in its sexy looks, so­phis­ti­ca­tion and safety at a rea­son­able price, as well as a steady re­sale value that all buy­ers can count on. All in all, it would not be sur­pris­ing if the new, jazzed-up Yaris does take back its pound of flesh in the very busy B seg­ment.

All mod­els are of­fered with a 3-year/45,000 km ser­vice plan and a 3-year/100,000 km war­ranty.

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