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Change for the good, long live the revolution!
Published 11/08/14

OVER-EXTENDING or plain outstaying your welcome is a feature of modern life, especially on television.

How often have you wished a series though enjoyable did not stretch out over an interminable two months? The Honourable Woman, an eight-parter on BBC2, currently engulfs me but it’s a story that could have been told in half the time.

I understand that high production costs mean that series’ producers stretch a story like making pasta to justify expenditure. But there is a limit, too, to viewers’ patience with padded-out tales of the expected.

With cars, too, the constant need for updating and change is ever-present. Motor shows are testament to this with their wild “concept car” ideas that infrequently become a reality.

Of course carmakers’ design and research and development departments have to justify their existence as much as any of us. But how often with cars do you hear past owners bemoaning the fact the new version of a tried and tested favourite is a disappointment?

However, with a carmaker such as Kia, which has improved top-to-bottom during the past decade, its on-going reinvention of the brand and its models is something of a revelation and definitely to be welcomed.

A good example is this week’s drive, the new Kia Sorento. Less than three years into its present lifespan, this new Sorento (the original first generation model was launched back in 2002) has seen yet further changes.

This includes a “front-to rear and top-to-bottom re-engineering” of the car which, says Kia, “improves safety, comfort, luxury and driving dynamics”.

All models are powered by a revised version of Kia’s 2.2-litre CRDi turbodiesel engine, which lowers fuel consumption, emissions and running costs.

It also has seven seats now instead of five, which in my book is a bonus.

Such was the impact of this new version that in 2012 the new Sorento picked up its third Total 4x4 magazine award in a row with a special award for being the “Most Improved” contender.

Apparently the new Range-Rover only pipped the Sorento at the post for the title of top “full-size” 4x4.

The editor of Total 4x4 — who you would think would know a thing or two about these the largest modes of domestic transport — was effusive in his praise of the Sorento.

Alan Kidd said: “The Sorento was already one of the best 4x4s on the market; now it’s better than ever, and by a long way.

“Nothing less than an all-new Range-Rover could stop it from completing a hat-trick of class wins, and that says a lot about just how good Kia has become at making world-class 4x4s.”

The extraordinary thing about that is of course that a new Range-Rover will cost you a lot more than the top priced Sorento, the KX-4, which is 36,805.

But then I have been telling people for a long while how much improved Kia has become across its whole range. Usually, I get a blank look, not exactly of disbelief but certainly one that shows little knowledge of the fact the Kia brand is one to check out if you are considering buying a new car.

Kia Sorento

l Prices range from 26,995 to 36,805

l Latest platform improves safety, driving dynamics and refinement

l Upgraded quality and equipment across the board

l Seven seats, All-Wheel Drive and 2.2-litre CRDi turbodiesel for all models

l Greater efficiencies and lower running costs with no loss of performance

l Comprehensively revised chassis delivers a more refined drive

By Nigel Wigmore

Published 11/08/14

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