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Paris show: Kia details next-gen Sorento

Wide berth: Kia's interior, styled by its European design house in Frankfurt, carries the theme of 'modern and wide'.

More space, new engines and better safety tech headline Kia's all new Sorento


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29 Aug 2014

KIA has revealed more details of its new Sorento following its official debut in South Korea this week, with the next-generation SUV set to gain new or updated engines and a host of active safety technology.

The third-generation Sorento, which was revealed earlier this month and is due in local showrooms in the first quarter of next year, will offer more headroom in the cabin, despite a 15mm-lower roofline, while the longer length and wheelbase has helped boost legroom across all three rows of seats.

The cargo bay floor has increased by 87mm over the outgoing Sorento, allowing for 17.5 per cent more luggage space, from 515 litres (VDA) to 605 litres with the third row seats lowered. A storage compartment hides under the cargo floor offering more capacity.

Kia will offer the Sorento with either five or seven seats, with the 40/20/40 split fold second row featuring 'remote folding' levers at the side of the cargo area for easy stowage.

The Korean brand says the new Sorento's interior, which was styled by its European design team in Frankfurt, follows a theme of 'modern and wide' which is evident in the instrument cluster and wrap-around dashboard extending into the door trim.

Elsewhere in the cabin, the Sorento gains leather and soft-touch materials as well as a silver-rimmed user interface, which the company says is inspired by a Swiss watch, featuring the latest human-machine interface (HMI) technologies.

Convenience features new to the Sorento include an automatic tailgate which allows for hands-free boot opening when the key is detected close to the rear of the car, and an around-view monitor with four cameras to assist with parking, however it is unclear whether the monitor will end up in Australian-spec vehicles.

Kia said five engines will be available in the new family hauler, depending on the market, with new or updated petrol units ranging from 126kW-198kW in 2.4-litre GDI and 2.4-litre and 3.3-litre MPI guise, as well as revised 2.0-litre and 2.2-litre turbo-diesel engines.

While the Australian line-up is yet to be confirmed, expect the local Sorento to be offered with the 198kW 3.3-litre petrol unit and revised 2.2-litre diesel, which almost matches the current line-up.

Noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) was a focus of Kia engineers, with a stronger bodyshell, new soundproofing material for the transmission tunnel, a 29 per cent thicker dash soundproofing panel, larger engine and transmission mounts and an acoustic shield for the timing-chain cover all helping improve cabin noise by three to six per cent, depending on conditions.

The new bodyshell is 14 per cent stiffer, while the MacPherson strut front and multi-link rear suspension is carried over with a number of revisions.

Larger bushings on the subframe supporting the suspension help isolate it from the cabin and bigger shock absorbers are mounted vertically behind the axle line, which the company says helps improve body control motion.

The new Kia also has its electric power-steering motor mounted on the rack instead of the steering column like the outgoing model, and the company says this makes for “greater steering feel and quicker response”.

More than 52 per cent of the Sorento's bodyshell is made up of ultra-high tensile steel, up from 24 per cent in the outgoing model, and it is used to reinforce the tailgate surround, wheel arches and rear-wheel surround.

Active safety technology, depending on market and specification, includes adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning, front collision warning, blind-spot detection, a lane-change assist function, a speed limit detector and rear cross-traffic alert.

Local pricing will not be revealed until closer to launch in the first quarter, but if Kia's recent history of introducing minor price increases to new generation models is anything to go by, the new-gen Sorento should carry a slight premium over the outgoing model.

Pricing currently ranges from $38,490, before on-road costs, for the two-wheel drive petrol Si up to $50,790 for the diesel-powered all-wheel drive Platinum.

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