Kia’s big seven-seat SUV gains serious maturity with new design, more room, advanced safety features, huge screens and diesel power
Kia’s fourth-generation Sorento large, seven-seat SUV has landed in Singapore and it looks like it takes big SUV expectations to the next level.
But first, price: The Sorento starts at S$156,999 with COE for the base SX Line model, rising up to S$166,999 with COE for the SX Tech Pack version, and S$176,999 with COE for the GT Line Tech Pack model.
If you’re leery of paying more than S$150k for a Korean car, just keep in mind that’s now an outdated mindset. After all, the previous-gen Sorento was already S$175k with COE back in 2017 (due in part to high COE prices), but the fourth-gen model makes that car look positively dated.
We had our first look at the Sorento earlier this year, and it shows just how much Kia has matured in terms of design.
Note: Kia provided the same images as we’ve seen at the car’s international reveal, the exterior and cockpit images we use here are of a UK and European spec Sorento, which are largely the same but may not be 100 percent the same as the Singapore spec.
The Sorento has the new Tiger nose (as opposed to only the Tiger grille of before) where the LED lights – all the car’s exterior lights are LEDs across the entire range – blend into the wider grille, and the lines are neater too, and you can see more interesting surfacing on the skin especially at the rear. Note the rear wiper is hidden in the spoiler neatly.
The car uses the latest N3 platform from Kia/Hyundai, which in consumer benefits means better crash safety, more strength and less weight – it claims 12.5-percent boost to rigidity while being 54 kg lighter, for example.
The car’s not significantly larger than before, now only 10mm larger in key dimensions, measuring in at 4,810mm x 1,900 x 1,695mm (length x width x height), and significantly, the wheelbase has been upped by 35mm – crucial for interior space.
Kia says there’s more interior space overall, while boot space has been increased from 605-litres to 821-litres with the last row not in use. With all seats in play, there’s 187-litres of space.
The third row features air-con vents and cupholders, and the second-row seats also fold electronically via a switch, what Kia calls the ‘passenger walk-in device’. All variants of the new Sorento also come with a panoramic sunroof.
A new 2,151cc inline four-cylinder turbodiesel engine powers the Sorento, making 202hp and a grunty 440Nm of torque. It’s mated to a new eight-speed dual-clutch transmission and power is sent to the front wheels (see below for more info on all-wheel drive). Kia makes special mention of the fact that the dual-clutch transmission has a wet clutch, which implies more reliability.
The SX/SX Tech Pack models have a fuel consumption of 5.7L/100km, an impressive figure made possible by diesel’s inherent frugality, with a VES B rating, they do 0-100km/h in 9.0-seconds.
The previous Sorento was also powered by a 2.2-litre turbodiesel engine, and globally there’s a 3.5-litre V6 gasoline engine but road tax costs would be a sales dampener here in Singapore.
The GT Line model is a little different, since it has all-wheel drive. It has a fuel consumption of 6.0L/100km, with a VES rating of C1, and it does 0-100km/h in 9.2-seconds – surprisingly it’s not quicker in a straight line despite the AWD.
Globally, there will also be a hybrid and plug-in hybrid model powered by a 1.6-litre turbocharged engine, although Kia Singapore has made no mention of when/if that variant is arriving.
As far as we can tell, there aren’t many visual differences between the SX and GT Line model, in contrast to the Seltos SX and Seltos GT line, for example. The GT Line has 19-inch wheels with a unique design, compared to 18-inches for the SX models, and it also has side steps.
Up front, the Sorento goes big on eye-candy-technology: All variants have a 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment system, which plays nice with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
All models also have LED interior lights, ventilated electric front seats, rear sunshades, seven seats, third-row aircon, keyless entry and start, wireless smartphone charging, an automatic tailgate, and drive mode selector.
Only the GT Line Tech Pack model has an additional terrain programmes for mud, snow, and sand, which makes sense given only it has all-wheel drive.
The Tech Pack models (SX Tech Pack and GT Line Tech Pack) receive a 12.3-inch active driver’s instrument panel, what Kia calls the ‘supervision cluster’, and the important part of its presence isn’t just to look techy-cool but also to support the active safety technology of the Tech Pack models.
Additionally, Tech Pack models also have interior mood lighting and a Bose 12-speaker sound system.
We’re increasingly seeing active safety tech in mainstream cars these days – one key indicator is if it’s in the Toyota Corolla Altis, it should be everywhere else.
The Koreans are pushing the envelope, like Hyundai’s recently-improved Venue SUV shows, and the Sorento has an active safety suite that puts even luxury seven-seat SUVs to shame for the price.
Active safety is the key addition of the Tech Pack, and while it adds S$10k to the price of the SX model, we at CarBuyer think money spent on safety is never wasted.
The systems include:
Forward collision avoidance assist: Stops you from hitting obstacles, cars, cyclists or pedestrians.
Blind spot Collision avoidance assist: Basically blind spot monitoring, a feature we highly recommend, especially in larger vehicles like this.
Blind spot view monitor : A new safety feature which shows you a camera feed of your blind spot if you indicate in the appropriate direction, similar to Honda’s Lanewatch system although the latter only works when indicating left.
Lane keeping assist : Keeps you in lane by warning you, then adjusting the steering for you.
Smart cruise control : Radar cruise control, with stop-n-go.
Surround view monitor: 360-degree view camera.