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Paris show: Seven-seat Kia Sorento outed

Low rider: The third-generation Kia Sorento is 15mm lower than the model it replaces and features some styling elements from last year's Cross GT concept.

Styling for longer, lower new-generation Kia Sorento revealed ahead of Paris debut


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11 Aug 2014

KIA has torn the covers off its all important third-generation Sorento ahead of an official reveal late this month, revealing a sleeker design with increased cabin space thanks to a stretched wheelbase and lower roof-line.

The new Sorento is set to roll into Kia’s Australian dealerships in the first quarter of the year, most likely February, and features the most recent iteration of the car-maker's latest design language.

Following on from sketches of the exterior and cabin that were released in recent weeks, the official images show a softer, more rounded design than the current model, with a lower stance as previewed by the Cross GT concept from last year's Chicago auto show.

One of the bigger changes at the front is the inclusion of a larger version of the familiar 'tiger nose' grille incorporating a diamond pattern, while swept-up headlights edge into a new clamshell bonnet.

A high belt-line and low roof give a more athletic stance, while Kia has kept the unique D-pillar treatment of the current Sorento. New-look tail-lamps feature down the rear.

Styling for the new soft-roader was led by Kia's Namyang design studio in South Korea, while the company’s other studios in Frankfurt, Germany and California, United States also had input into the final look.

The Sorento has grown by 95mm over the old model to measure in at 4780mm long, while the wheelbase has stretched by 80mm to 2780mm. It will also sit 15mm lower at 1685mm. Kia says the longer wheelbase makes for improved interior space for passengers across all three rows, but cabin dimensions are yet to be revealed.

At 4865mm, Toyota's Kluger is 85mm longer and its 2790mm wheelbase is 10mm over and above the Sorento, while Nissan's Pathfinder eclipses both of them at 5008mm in length and a 2900mm wheelbase.

The Australian-specification Sorento will benefit from tweaks to the suspension and steering as a part of Kia Motors Australia's local tuning program that tunes ride and handling for Australian conditions.

Powertrain information is yet to be confirmed by the South Korean car-maker, but expect the 2.2-litre turbo-diesel to carry over to the new model with some changes, while it is unclear whether the petrol unit used here will be a 2.4-litre or larger 3.3-litre unit.

The images reveal an Eco Dynamics badge on the rear panel, which is Kia's eco-friendly sub-brand, indicating that a hybrid-powered version of the Sorento will be made.

However Kia Motors Australia general manager of media and corporate communications Kevin Hepworth poured cold water on a green variant for Australia.

“Not for Australia,” he said. “Those photos are the European car, which is the same as ours, except that we have no plans for an Eco Dynamics at this stage.” Mr Hepworth said local versions could include an Eco mode that adjusts torque mapping and transmission shifts to maximise fuel efficiency, but this, along with full specification was yet to be confirmed.

Kia Motors Corporation vice-president of overseas marketing Soon-Nam Lee said the total redesign of the new Sorento should build on the success of the nameplate in global markets.

“While we have retained the name based on the tremendous success of the outgoing model, the all-new Sorento has been completely redesigned and re-engineered, and promises to surprise customers with its thoroughly updated styling, a host of new convenience and safety technologies, as well as enhanced space, driving comfort and handling response,” he said.

The new Sorento will share its underpinnings with the next-generation Carnival people-mover, also due in Australia in the first quarter, as well as the next Santa Fe from sister company Hyundai.

The Sorento's official global reveal is set for later this month when it will be shown to Korean media ahead of a European debut at the Paris motor show in early October.

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