The Kia Sorento is a formidable presence on Malaysian roads – Kia has been doing brisk business of shifting them and it’s difficult to not to notice its colossal physique and brutish looks. Let’s just say it’s not a vehicle for hipsters and the style conscious. In comparison, the new Sorento is much more pleasant to look at.
Thanks to Chief Design Officer, Peter Schreyer, the new Sorento plays the part of Kia family member well thanks to its use of the now distinct Schreyer grille. While the nose-end has been a given a more modern and forgiving facelift, the Sorento’s profile and rear retains an SUV appearance, slightly-boxy if only to remind others of its all-wheel drive capability.
Unlike the previous generation Sorento, this one is no longer powered by a diesel motor. Instead, a 2.4 litre petrol resides up front bolted to a 6-speed gearbox that spins all four wheels. An early worry about this development was possible loss of diesel-engine type torque but the new Sorento and its engine combines well in every way imaginable. The power delivery is simultaneously progressive and powerful, and for something with a unibody stamped out of steel and with a kerb weight of roughly 1700kg (aluminium engine block), its 11 seconds plus for the century sprint puts it neck and neck for acceleration with an SUV.
Equally impressive is the car’s comfort level. Hardly any noise emitted from the engine bay permeates into the cabin while the NVH is amazingly low. These benefits are largely due to the shift to a petrol engine but it remains a major step up. Interestingly, while the likes of the sedan Forte and the sportier Koup rests on torsion beams at the rear, the Sorento comes equipped with a multi-link setup. The result is not only a ride that is kind to rear passenger but more capable in corners despite the bulk and overall height. Standard items for this Kia include electronic stability control, downhill brake control and hill-start assist.
The cabin follows the exterior’s improved looks – the dashboard could very well be for a sedan especially when you take into account the driving position and it comes with a panoramic sunroof. The gear lever has a stepped style while the parking brake is foot-operated. Other standard features include stop-start button, cruise control, dual-zone climate control and a rear view mirror that shows a video feed of the rear when reverse gear is engaged.
Few SUVs have ever really impressed, fewer still at this price range, but the new Sorento is hard to fault with its honesty and simplicity. It’s a start-and-drive type of vehicle and feels tough enough to last you a fair number of years.
Engine Inline 4, 16v, 2349cc
Transmission 6-speed auto
Max power 172bhp @ 6000rpm
Max torque 226Nm @ 3750rpm
0-100kmh 11.6s (claimed)
Price RM158,888 (base, OTR with insurance)
On sale Now
Rating 3.5 stars
+ Ride quality, powertrain, looks
- No 2-wheel drive variant