Revised and upgraded specifications, rather than genuinely new models, have become the order of the day in the car industry.
With Kia’s Sorento, however, there’s been a comprehensive front-to-rear, top-to-bottom re-engineering. Comfort, luxury, safety and driving dynamics have all received major improvements. It really is a new car.
As a consequence, fuel consumption, emissions and running costs have all been lowered, while driving pleasure has been massively enhanced. Close on 50-mpg is achievable and 0-62 flashes by in under 10-seconds, with a claimed top speed of 118-mph – not bad for a big SUV.
In a simplified range, all models now come with intelligent all-wheel drive and an upgraded version of Kia’s well-proven 2.2-litre CRDi turbodiesel engine.
Further proof that, while the name stays the same, this really is an all-new Sorento comes from the much tougher chassis, with additional front, rear and side structures to disperse impact energy in the event of a crash. The new car is the same width and length but has a 10-mm lower ride height – and is now much more spacious inside.
Suspension, steering and brakes have all been improved – the tyres are now wider, to improve braking as well as roadholding.
There’s a real air of quality to the spacious cabin, which can seat seven in comfort and style
The instrumentation is big and clear, the controls are instinctive and the trim first-class, using leather, aluminium and black wood. There’s dual-zone automatic climate control, with rear-seat air-ventilation allowing each of the passengers to fine tune the temperature in their part of the cabin.
Kit that comes as standard right across the Sorento range includes aero-blade front wipers; big, electrically folding and heated mirrors with integrated blind-spot warning lights; LED daytime running lights; projection headlamps, with cornering lights, and cruise control.
It’s a big beast but when you slip behind the wheel. Yes, it’s a tad macho in style but you don’t need big biceps to drive it.
Priced from £28,495 to £35,095, the Sorento is serious competition for all those big Mercedes, Volvo, Audi and Range Rover models.