Kia has introduced the Sorento, a “big brother” to complement the Sportage in South Africa to further improve on the brand’s tough and reliable image in the market.

Mention Kia Sportage in any off-road conversation and you will quickly realise that this cheeky little SUV has not only earned some serious cred in four-wheel drive circles but has also provided Kia Motors South Africa with a very handy reputation of ruggedness and reliability on which to build.

With this in mind Kia has introduced a “big brother” to complement the Sportage in South Africa to further improve on the brand’s tough, reliable image in the market. The Kia Sorento, named after the small Italian town, enters an ever growing and very competitive SUV market in this country.

Styled to compete against its European rivals, the Sorento stands wide and looks very much the part. Arguably, from afar it may be seen to have taken some major styling queues from its Mercedes Benz competitor in the market, but close up the vehicle is distinctively Kia and includes all the exterior styling mods that have been made popular in this segment of the market. Fog lights included! A handy feature is the flip-up glass rear window, which can be opened, using the key remote, separately from the upward opening bootlid.

The interior features all the equipment level necessary to be a serious competitor in the market. This includes leather upholstery, front and rear electric windows, central locking, electronically adjustable drivers seat, front loading CD player, as well as an overhead console incorporating a map light, compass, barometer and altitude read-out as well as two sunglass holders.

Reluctant to be labelled a “soft-roader” the Kia Sorento is targeted at a market that demands the space and convenience of an SUV yet also has the credentials to tackle serious off-road conditions should the challenge arise.

Sorento’s powertrain drives the front wheels under everyday tar driving conditions, but can be electronically transferred to all four wheels, at speeds of up to 80 km/h, at the turn of a switch on the dashboard. Low range four-wheel drive is engaged, while the vehicle is stationary, when the switch is turned once more.

There is a choice of either a 2,5 litre common rail direct injection diesel engine, providing 104 kW at 3 800 r/min and 320 N.m of torque at 2 000 r/min, channelled through a five speed manual gear box; or a 3,5 litre V6 petrol engine, with automatic transmission, putting out 145 kW at 5 500 r/min and 301 N.m of torque at 3 000 r/min.

Safety features include driver and passenger air bags, ABS brakes and an anti-theft system.

When driving Kia’s new SUV on tarred roads the ride is firm but comfortable while the spacious cabin, ride height, thick steering wheel and especially thick gear lever all add to the feeling of confidence. Off-road, the Sorento is more than capable with decent approach and departure angles and a low range that inspires confidence that the vehicle will not run away with you but rather that you are in control.

Kia hopes to sell all its vehicles on value rather than pricing and with this in mind the manual Sorento 2,5 CRDi will retail from R 319 995, while the automatic 3,5 V6 Sorento will sell from R 339 995. Included in the pricing is a standard three-year / 60 000 km maintenance plan.

Original article from Car