Hence the diesel-burning Sorento is clearly beefier and breezier
from the word go. Even with all-wheel drive, it feels pretty
spontaneous at the wheel. It pulls away cleanly and fairly effortlessly
in most situations.
The performance specs verify this. The car clocks a 9.6-second
sprint to 100kmh, compared with 10.2 seconds for the petrol. Its top
speed is also a bit more respectable at 203kmh, versus 195kmh for the
The Sorento stands tall among diesel sport utility vehicles, a
segment dominated by the Germans with far bigger engines. For its
engine size, the Kia is actually a brilliant performer.
Its other plus point lies in how quiet it is across its entire rev
range. You hear its diesel chatter only when a window is wound down and
the engine is idling.
At the wheel, there is no detectable difference in vibration level or harshness.
Like the petrol car, it has an electronic parking brake that
self-releases in the most unobtrusive way. It is as if the brake was
not engaged in the first place.
The system's automatic hold function - which engages the parking
brake when the vehicle comes to a standstill - is cleverer than most.
It activates only when you step on the brake pedal with some force,
allowing you to execute parking manoeuvres without having to turn it
For an SUV, the Sorento impresses with a host of premium qualities.
Its insulation, for instance, rivals what you experience in a premium
German SUV. This helps the stop-start function fire up the engine with
It is also equipped with amenities you would not associate with Kia,
such as a completely hands-free tailgate activated by the car's remote
There is automated parking (parallel and perpendicular), ventilated
front seats with memory function for the driver side, a panoramic
sunroof with a roller blind, roller blinds for the rear windows and
As a seven-seater, the diesel Sorento is probably the better bet as
its ample torque will come in handy when the car is fully occupied.
In terms of practicality, the new Sorento ticks several boxes. First
of all, the car is 95mm longer than its predecessor at 4,780mm and 5mm
wider at 1,890mm. Most of its increased length has gone to the
wheelbase, which has been extended by 80mm to 2,780mm.
At the same time, the car is 15mm lower at 1,685mm, making it noticeably lower than most traditional SUVs.
The longer wheelbase gives the Kia SUV more interior space - more
legroom for third-row passengers and more stowage. With the last row of
seats folded flat, the car has 605 litres of cargo space, 17.5 per cent
more than before.
The longer wheelbase has also improved the Kia's ride comfort, giving it a certain calmness that eludes most SUVs.
Together with the efficiency and effortlessness of its diesel heart,
the multi-seat multi-terrain Kia is a peachy contender in the field.
Even if some buyers will baulk at paying $180,000 for a Korean car.