- Published: Friday, 29 August 2014 17:54
The Sorento keeps its seven-seat format, and aims to push Kia further upmarket. Expect it in Singapore next year.
SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA — Here's the first look at the all-new Kia Sorento, the seven-seat SUV that serves as Kia's flagship model in Singapore. It will be launched here in the first quarter of 2015, and is meant to help push the Kia brand ever further upward.
Can it do it? The looks certainly help. There's more of the Germanic styling that has helped to transform Kia's image in recent years, courtesy of the company's design studio in Korea. The grille (christened 'tiger nose' by Kia) is more upright and prominent, there are wraparound headlights, and the new car's dimensions give it a slightly more sporty silhouette.
Length and width are up (by 95 mm and 5mm) to 4,780 mm and 1,870mm respectively, while the height has been chopped down by 15mm to 1,685mm.
In spite of that, Kia says the new Sorento has more cabin room than before. Much of that is because the wheelbase has been lengthened by 80mm, to 2,780mm, but Kia says that repositioning the seat cushions has also helped to liberate more headroom inside.
The boot space has gone up, too, from 515 to 605 litres with the third row of seats folded flat.
The cabin has been tidied up as well, from the look of the picture above. Posher materials have been used to improve the ambience, while the dashboard styling obviously aims to emphasise the width of the car.
Kia says that strengthening the bodyshell was a priority for the new Sorento, and its torsional rigidity is up 14 percent as a result. That has supposedly helped to reap improvements to NVH (noise, vibration and harshness), while providing a stronger crash structure.
Other ways the engineers worked on cutting NVH include new soundproofing material for the transmission tunnel, a 29 percent thicker dashboard soundproofing panel, as well as larger engine and transmission mounts.
Diesel models get a new DPF (diesel particulate filter) cover and an acoustic shield built into the engine’s timing chain cover, which shows you how hard Kia is trying to keep the noise down.
Five engines power the new Sorento in worldwide markets, but the most likely candidates for Singapore are the 2.4-litre GDI petrol (with 189bhp) and a 2.2-litre turbodiesel (194bhp) that power the current model here.
While little seems changed in the engine bay, the new Sorento has undergone suspension work to improve high-speed stability and NVH. At the same time, there's a new electric power steering system with a quicker rack to give the car sharper responses at the wheel.
The power steering motor (geek alert here) operates on the rack itself instead of the steering column, and that supposedly improves feedback.
That's all we know about the new Sorento so far, but Kia will be taking it to Paris auto show for a global launch on October 2nd. CarBuyer's Ben Chia will be there and plans to leave no new car unmolested, so watch this space for more.