• New, third-generation flagship for Kia in the UK
  • Start of second phase of Kia’s brand transformation
  • Major strides in engineering, refinement and quality
  • New technologies, some never before offered in a Kia
  • Seven seats, EU6 diesel engine and all-wheel drive as standard
  • Emissions reduced; fuel economy improved
  • Longer, lower, wider, roomier and more practical and versatile
  • Priced from £28,795

Today Kia launches the all-new Sorento, a car that is set to build on its consistent appeal to a diverse range of customers. This third-generation model will again change the way people see the brand as it is better equipped, more refined, stylish and technologically advanced than ever before. Six versions of Kia’s UK flagship are now on sale, with prices starting at £28,795.

All versions of the new Sorento are powered by an EU6-compliant 2.2-litre turbodiesel engine which produces fewer harmful tailpipe emissions, is more fuel-efficient, less damaging to the environment, and which reduces running costs for personal and business owners. All have a new, permanent, intelligent all-wheel drive system and a versatile seven-seat interior. There are four trim levels, badged KX-1, KX-2, KX-3 and KX-4. Depending on model, buyers have the choice of six-speed manual or automatic transmission.

The third-generation Sorento is longer, lower and wider than the previous model thanks to an all-new platform, while an extended wheelbase creates greater room in all three rows of seats. Minutely detailed body and chassis engineering work has resulted in a car which is not only more engaging to drive, but also much more refined to travel in. Safety and convenience technologies new to the Sorento, and in some cases new to any Korean SUV, include Advanced Smart Cruise Control, Blind Spot Detection, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Lane Departure Warning, Around View Monitoring, Adaptive Front Lighting and Speed Limit Information.

Executive class in every way

In 2006 Kia began a design-led revolution following the appointment of Peter Schreyer as Chief Design Officer – now President of Design for the entire Hyundai Motor Group. It was to be the start of Phase I of Kia’s move away from being a company primarily focused on value. Phase II, which starts with the new Sorento, will see Kia match and surpass not only customer expectations but also the world’s best car manufacturers for engineering, technology, refinement and quality.

The new Sorento offers executive-class space and versatility to match its executive-class style, quality and refinement. It is 95mm longer than the second-generation Sorento, has an 80mm greater wheelbase (now 2,780mm), is 15mm lower and 5mm wider. The significance of these dimensions is that headroom and legroom have been improved in all three rows of seats, and there is up to 90 litres more luggage capacity.

When starting work on the car, Kia had to decide whether to make it even more gentrified and saloon-like than the outgoing model, or to retain that car’s much-valued towing and off-roading capability. In the end, it was able to do both.

The new model preserves familiar Sorento design cues like the shape of the D-pillar, but now has a sleeker profile which disguises its increased size, and deeply sculpted surfaces. The lower roof, rising belt line and more sweeping profile make it look bolder and more muscular, and for the first time there are pronounced rear shoulders in place of a crease line beneath the windows to give the car greater three-dimensionality.

Wrap-around, frame-integrated side doors fit more snugly into the overall profile of the car and allow for a wider opening. They also help to keep the seals completely free of dirt and moisture thrown up from the road, preventing passengers’ clothes and hands from getting soiled. The rear features a highly sculpted registration plate housing, made possible by new laser-welding technologies being employed by Kia for the first time.

The new Sorento is the first car to be produced under Kia’s new Global Quality Strategy, which became fully operational at the start of 2014. In the choice of materials, fit and finish and technology, the new Sorento is a significant step forward for Kia.

The Sorento designers spent a lot of time on the architecture of the cabin to reinforce its increased quality, space and practicality. The shape of the bottom of the windscreen was carefully crafted to emphasise the car’s width, for example, while the sculpted lines give an impression of solidity, originality and modernity. Switches and buttons have been fastidiously grouped according to function and ergonomics, and they have an almost machined finish and action.

The standard instrument cluster features clear, stylish, white-on-black graphics which deliver essential information at a glance, but in KX-3 and KX-4 versions this is replaced by a seven-inch TFT (Thin Film Transistor) display which adds an even more premium look to the dashboard and allows greater personalisation of the information provided.

Already the new Sorento is reaping design awards. It has received the prestigious IF Design Award in Germany, with the international jury recognising not only the car’s aesthetics but also its finish, innovation, environmental impact and safety. The Sorento is the seventh Kia to receive an IF Design Award.

Cleaner, more fuel-efficient EU6 diesel engine

In the UK all versions of the Sorento are powered by the 2.2-litre version of Kia’s R-family turbodiesel engine, which now meets EU6 emissions requirements. It features a new, fourth-generation common-rail fuel injection system with increased injection pressure.

The intake manifold, cylinder head cover and oil filter housing are made of plastic to help trim weight, and now the cylinder walls are 1mm thinner, which has helped the engine to shed 5kg. With a new intake manifold featuring electronic swirl control and a revised exhaust gas filtration system that promotes the recirculation of clean, cool, low-pressure exhaust gas, the R-family diesel engine is cleaner and more efficient than ever.

An exhaust after-treatment system means that it not only meets current emissions regulations but will be able to satisfy those to come in future. There is a particulate filter with an acoustic shield and a lean NOx trap to reduce harmful nitrogen emissions to negligible levels.

The engine now develops 197bhp (an increase of 3bhp) and 441Nm of torque (plus 19Nm), endowing the Sorento with outstanding driveability on- and off-road. A balancer shaft reduces vibrations and ensures the engine is extremely refined. Performance has been improved so that acceleration from 0-62mph now takes just 9.0 seconds (auto 9.6 seconds), and all versions have a top speed of 124mph.

For the first time in a Kia, automatic models as well as manuals feature the company’s Intelligent Stop & Go (ISG) engine stop/start system to ensure that no fuel is used and no emissions are created when the car comes to a halt. This helps to improve both air quality and noise levels in urban areas. Automatic versions also have Kia’s Active ECO feature, which adjusts the operation of the engine and transmission to promote maximum fuel economy in motion. As a result, all versions of the new Sorento have lower fuel consumption and emissions. Manual models on 17-inch wheels have combined economy of 49.6mpg with CO2emissions of only 149g/km, while for all automatics the respective figures are 42.2mpg and 177g/km.


Superior traction, comfort and refinement

The new Sorento features the Dynamax all-wheel-drive system first seen in Kia’s compact SUV, the Sportage. Dynamax is an intelligent, electronically controlled all-wheel-drive system from Magna Powertrain.  It continuously monitors driving conditions and anticipates when all-wheel drive will be needed, rather than simply reacting to changing conditions.

Normally it delivers 100 per cent of engine torque to the front wheels, but the torque can be redistributed up to a maximum of 60:40 front-to-rear to enhance cornering stability or if road conditions deteriorate.  For off-road driving, owners can manually select lock mode, which gives a 50:50 torque split at speeds of up to 25mph.

In the Sorento it is paired with Advanced Traction Cornering Control (ATCC). Compared with all-wheel-drive systems which control wheelspin by braking a spinning wheel or reducing engine torque, ATCC automatically and instantaneously transfers torque to those wheels which still have grip, even before the Electronic Stability Control (ESC) system can intervene. This is linked with Hill-start Assist Control (HAC) which prevents slip-back when setting off uphill and eliminating the possibility of wheelspin.

All versions have Trailer Stability Assist to make towing safer. It works through the ESC system, and continuously monitors vehicle stability, gently applying some front braking force if it detects a potential loss of control.

Kia engineers have also striven to ensure the new model delivers more of a luxury-car ride and more engaging and precise on-road handling. To this end, the new Sorento has new suspension systems at the front and rear, and is the company’s first SUV to feature rack-mounted Motor Driven Power Steering (R-MDPS).

Previously, the electric motor module which controlled the steering was mounted half way up the steering column. With R-MDPS it is mounted directly to the steering rack. This brings the twin benefits of sharper responses and greater precision. Kia likens it to trying to steer a blindfolded person from behind: if you direct them from the waist they are able to follow a more precise path than if directed at shoulder level.

Drive Mode Select is also fitted to versions with automatic transmission. This allows the driver to select three steering modes, from a more comfort-oriented to a firmer, more sporty feel, according to preference. It also modifies the automatic transmission shift pattern.

Refinement is one of the key distinguishers in cars which aspire to be premium. It refers to the suppression of unwanted sounds and vibrations – what engineers call NVH, or noise, vibration and harshness.

A solid, stiff body shell is essential if NVH is to be kept in check. Despite being considerably larger than the previous Sorento, the new model is 14 per cent torsionally stiffer, helped by the use of 53 per cent advanced high-strength steel in the body construction versus 28 per cent in the last model.

Sound absorption and insulation materials have been used liberally throughout the car, There are insulating pads in the dashboard, transmission tunnel and around the front wheel arch and wing areas. Even the dashboard has a 29 per cent thicker soundproofing panel

The improved aerodynamics of the new Sorento, which has a remarkably low drag coefficient for an SUV of 0.33, help to curtail wind noise. Airflow over the body is improved by a new rear spoiler and carefully shaped tail lamp clusters, and the underside has full-size aerodynamic shields 250 per cent larger than in the previous Sorento.

The result of this and other detailed noise suppression measures is a reduction in noise inside the cabin of three per cent at idle and up to six per cent when the car is in motion.


Four trim levels and advanced new technologies

All four luxuriously appointed trim grades have seven seats, now with a 40:20:40 split in the middle row and a 50:50 split in the rear a six-speed automatic gearbox is optional in place of the six-speed manual on KX-2 and KX-3 and standard with KX-4. From KX-2 upwards, buyers have the choice of ordering the car without the self-levelling suspension feature at a saving of £500.

Depending on model, the new Sorento features a number of highly advanced new safety and convenience technologies. Some are firsts for any Kia, while others are appearing on a European-specification Kia for the first time.

They include Adaptive Smart Cruise Control to maintain a gap to the vehicle ahead, Speed Limit Information, Around View Monitoring, Cross Traffic Alert to prevent the owner from backing out of a parking space into the path of an approaching vehicle, a Smart Park Assist System which now includes reverse and parallel departure functions, Lane Departure Warning with Blind Spot Detection and self-dimming Adaptive Front Lighting.

Highlights of the extensive standard features include alloy wheels (17”, 18” or 19” depending on grade), black side sill and wheel-arch mouldings, roof rails and a rear spoiler, cornering lights integrated into the foglights, LED daytime running lights, front wiper de-icers, electrically adjustable, folding and heated door mirrors with LED indicators, door sill scuff plates (aluminium with front illumination for KX-2 upwards)

steering wheel-mounted controls, all-round electric windows, cruise control with a speed limiter and reversing sensors, while safety is taken care of by Electronic Stability Control, Vehicle Stability Management, Trailer Assist, ABS with Electronic Brake Force Distribution and Brake Assist, six airbags, active front headrests, front seat belt pre-tensioners and load limiters and an active bonnet to protect pedestrians.

In KX-2 these are supplemented with chrome exterior door handles, a side sill chrome garnish, automatic light and wiper control, black leather/faux leather upholstery, heated front and outer rear seats, dual automatic air conditioning in place of standard air conditioning, 7” touchscreen sat-nav with European mapping and Traffic Messaging (TMC), a reversing camera linked to the touchscreen and self-levelling suspension (no-cost delete option).

To this, the KX-3 adds a panoramic sunroof with automatic one-touch blinds, xenon headlights with automatic levelling, the Adaptive Front Lighting, 8’’ touchscreen satellite navigation with European mapping and TMC, an eight-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, alloy pedals, an engine start/stop button and smart entry system, a smart powered tailgate, an Infinity premium sound system, a 7” TFT LCD colour instrument display, the Lane Departure Warning system and Speed Limit information.

The luxurious range-topping KX-4 is distinguished by a 10-way power-adjustable driver’s seat with four-way powered lumbar adjustment and an eight-way adjustable front passenger seat, ventilated front seats, Adaptive Cruise Control, the 360-degree Around View Monitor, the Smart Park Assist System, Blind Spot Detection and Rear Cross Traffic Alert.

UK versions of the new Sorento are built at Kia’s Hwasung factory in Korea, and, as with every other model, are covered by the company’s industry-leading seven-year or 100,000-mile transferable warranty, subject to the exclusion of routine wear-and-tear items.

Essential facts and figures

Model Power
CO2 g/km
2.2 CRDi 6-speed manual KX-1 197 441 9.0 124 49.6 149
2.2 CRDi 6-speed manual KX-2 197 441 9.0 124 46.3 161
2.2 CRDi 6-speed auto KX-2 197 441 9.6 124 42.2 177
2.2 CRDi 6-speed manual KX-3 197 441 9.0 124 46.3 161
2.2 CRDi 6-speed auto KX-3 197 441 9.6 124 42.2 177
2.2 CRDi 6-speed auto KX-4 197 441 9.6 124 42.2 177


2.2 CRDi 6-speed manual KX-1 £28,795
2.2 CRDi 6-speed manual KX-2 £31,995
2.2 CRDi 6-speed auto KX-2 £33,745
2.2 CRDi 6-speed manual KX-3 £35,845
2.2 CRDi 6-speed auto KX-3 £37,595
2.2 CRDi 6-speed auto KX-4 £40,995


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