Kia is looking to continue its upmarket charge with its third-generation Sorento SUV. Billed as a leap in quality and technology, the latest Sorento SUV takes design cues from the 2013 Kia Cross GT concept and is built around a stiffer bodyshell that the company says delivers improved handling, comfort and safety.
In this quest for greater refinement, Kia has focused on keeping noise and vibration at bay. Thanks to extensive use of high-tensile steel, the bodyshell has 14 percent greater torsional rigidity than that of the car it replaces and extra soundproofing material in the dash and transmission tunnel, as well as new engine and transmission mounts, help cut down on vibrations transmitted to passengers.
The Korean manufacturer has focused on making the Sorento's interior a more luxurious place to be by using higher quality materials on all key touch-points. Thanks to repositioned seat-cushions, rear passengers are treated to extra headroom, and there is room for seven inside.
Kia has thrown a range of efficient petrol and diesel engines at the Sorento to keep it competitive in the packed compact SUV marketplace. Around the world five engines will be available, ranging in output from 170 hp (127 kW) to 266 hp (198 kW), but the European market will only see two: a turbocharged 2.2-liter diesel and a 2.4-liter petrol unit. Kia expects the diesel to account for most European sales.
The old Sorento's McPherson strut front and multi-link rear suspension set up carries over, albeit with modified bushings in the rear subframe and larger shock absorbers than those on the outgoing car, which Kia says will provide a smoother, more refined ride. Steering is taken care of by Kia's new electric-motor driven power steering system, designed to be sharper and more responsive than the setup on the outgoing model, all the while using less fuel.
On the technology front, the new Sorento has a complement of active safety features available. Drivers can spec their car with active cruise control, lane departure warning, forward collision alert, blind spot monitor, rear cross-traffic alert and an "around-view monitor" that uses four cameras to warn of objects in the car's immediate area. Not all features will be available in all markets, however.
The Sorento also has a hands-free tailgate system, but unlike the foot operated system in Ford's cars, the Sorento's tailgate senses when the key is in close proximity and automatically pops up.
The new Kia Sorento will get a full European reveal at the Paris Motor Show in October.