Sunday, 16 May 2021

Meet Kia’s most hi-tech SUV yet

Meet Kia’s most hi-tech SUV yet

ANY athlete knows that to compete at the top you need to achieve the highest level of competitiveness.

Carmakers, too, know that today their products — new cars — have to be the best or they simply will not sell.

Kia’s model range in 2021 is a good example of a carmaker that has turned its cars into top competitors.

This week’s drive, the all-new Kia Sorento SUV (sport utility vehicle), can compete with the best in its segment.

Not only that, it scores highly on being very good value for money. Other brands of SUV can cost thousands of pounds more than the Sorento and yet provide little more in terms of specification.

Like all long-standing models, the Sorento has history.

Three million Sorento models have been sold worldwide since its launch in 2002 as a utilitarian all-terrain vehicle. “The fourth generation Sorento has been transformed into something altogether more desirable,” says Kia’s Emilio Herrera.

Herrera says the Sorento was an important model for the company — “particularly now that it also represents the first use of electrified power in our flagship SUV”.

This is Kia’s most high-tech car yet, with its progressive connectivity, driver assistance and infotainment technologies.

Its twin digital displays deliver advanced graphics, new telematics features and smartphone connectivity.

The cabin incorporates Kia’s latest 10.25in touchscreen infotainment system on grade 3 and 4 models, offering audio-visual navigation and a new 12.3in high-resolution digital instrument cluster available on all grades. Infotainment systems enable smartphone integration with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

There is also Bluetooth smartphone pairing for two phones concurrently, enabling separate phones to be used for phone calls and music, while front passengers can also plug in their mobile devices via two USB chargers.

For second-row passengers, two USB charging sockets are integrated into the backs of the two front seats, with a third found at the rear of the front-row centre console.

Both third-row passengers also have their own charging points, meaning all seven passengers can keep their mobile device charged.

The car uses Kia’s new Smartstream electrified powertrains — the first time that hybrid power has featured in the Sorento line-up.

And it offers greater fuel efficiency, lower emissions, and higher performance than its predecessors.

This feels like a bigger car inside and the exterior view bears this out. Indeed, the new model is 1,900mm wide, 10mm wider than the third generation Sorento and is 10mm longer than its predecessor.

It is claimed to be one of the most versatile and spacious cars in its class.

A 35mm longer wheelbase creates greater cabin space. This has allowed the Sorento to accommodate electrified powertrains for the first time.

The Sorento Hybrid’s battery pack is located under the floor of the cabin. As a result, the SUV has generous space for up to seven passengers as well as one of the largest luggage capacities in its class — up to 616 litres (608 litres on the hybrid version).

With all seven seats in place, boot space is also increased to 187 litres (VDA, diesel models; 179 litres for Hybrid models).

Controls in the side wall of the boot also allow the second-row seat backs to fold remotely at the touch of a button.

For passengers, the new platform maximises space in all three rows, offering more head-, leg- and shoulder-room.

The Sorento is available in Britain with a choice of six paint finishes, and comes fitted with 17in wheels on grade 2, with 19in aluminium alloy wheels on all other versions.

The new Sorento is equipped with a newly developed Terrain Mode. This ensures improved traction, stability and control on mud, snow and sand, with dedicated new driving modes for each.

The system makes the
all-wheel-drive SUV even more capable across a range of low-grip surfaces.

All in all, this Sorento shows that Kia’s flagship SUV is ready and more than ableto compete with the best around in 2021 and beyond.

Motoring