1 Feb 2003
KIA’S Sorento was a surprisingly modern and attractive four-door wagon – the first time the South Korean manufacturer entered the larger SUV market.
The drivetrain is also utilised by Kia's owner Hyundai in its similar sized Terracan off-roader.
The standard equipment list includes air-conditioning, ABS brakes, dual airbags, cruise control, three power sockets, remote central locking, eight-speaker CD sound system, a rear luggage cover and 16-inch alloy wheels.
One thing the Sorento does miss out on is a third row seat, something many of its rivals including the Terracan offer.
Mechanical specification kicks off with that quad cam V6 engine that produces 145kW at 5500rpm and a useful 295NM at 3000. Kia claims a top speed of 192km/h but has issued no other performance figures.
Normally a two-wheel drive, the Sorento can be shifted "on the fly" into four-wheel drive high range or low range - while stationary - via a Nissan Pathfinder-style rotating button on the dashboard.
Underpinning the drivetrain is a traditional off-roader ladder-type chassis, double wishbone front suspension and five link rear-end. Brakes are discs all-round, while the rack and pinion steering is a speed-sensitive type.
The body cloaking all this measures up well against its rivals, being longer and wider - at 4567mm and 1863mm - than the Jeep Cherokee or Tribute, while its 1580mm track is wider than luxury off-roaders from Benz or BMW as well as the Ford Explorer. Height is 1810mm including the standard rood racks.
From October ’04 a five-speed automatic replaced the previous four-speed auto unit.