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Kia enters the premium SUV game with the all-new Sorento

Kia enters the premium SUV game with the all-new Sorento

Carmakers don’t change their logos very often. When Kia unveiled a new angular rendition of the three-lettered marque, it heralded big changes for the brand. Indeed, Kia’s new vehicles have leveled up in terms of design, performance, and creature comforts.

Start with the design. The Sorento, Kia’s flagship SUV, has a coherent and striking design that’s been lauded by consumers and professional designers alike.

The Sorento has received the Red Dot and iF, both prestigious German design awards. The SUV looks dynamic even when parked. The front fascia looks particularly neat, with a large rendering of Kia’s tiger grille accented by multiple LED light elements. 19-inch alloy wheels fill out the wheel wells. The Sorento is just the right size for a family SUV. It measures 4810mm long x 1900mm wide x 1700mm tall, with a long 2815mm wheelbase. This translates to ample interior room for seven occupants. With all three rows up, there’s still some room for carry-on luggage in the trunk. But you’ll have to pack the bags carefully to maximize the 357 liters of space. The second row slides forward with a touch of a button for easier access to the two rear seats. You can slide the second row forward to provide more kneeroom for the rear passengers. Fold the third row flat into the floor, and suddenly you’ll have an abudance of space: 1090 liters, enough for all but the most massive of grocery or Ikea runs.

If the exterior isn’t enough of a clue, the interior is where Kia proves that the Sorento is playing at a premium level. There’s available power adjustment for driver and passenger seats, with memory and in-seat cooling features for the top-end SX variant.

Tech-savvy drivers will enjoy the wireless phone charger tucked into the center console, and the wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The infotainment is controlled via an 8-inch touchscreen display, which thankfully has a separate volume knob. The instrument cluster is rendered on a digital screen; good thing that this is tucked into a hooded binnacle for easier reading even in direct sunlight. The center display switches to camera view when needed. Forward or rear view can be selected for easier parking and tight maneuvering. A 360-degree overhead view is also featured. One neat trick of the camera system is that flicking the turn signal indicator activates blind-spot cameras on either side of the car—the image is displayed temporarily in the gauge cluster.

The Sorento is very smooth and silent when in operation. We had to check to make sure it was powered by a diesel engine. Indeed, it uses Kia’s 2.2-liter inline-four turbodiesel. It produces 202ps and 441 Nm, enough to move the Sorento briskly off the line and in all modes of city and highway traffic. The drive goes through an 8-speed dual-clutch transmission to the front wheels. Power response can be adjusted using the Drive Mode knob, switching from Economy to Sport mode for more immediate power delivery.

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Safety features include Safe Exit Assist, which can warn of vehicles approaching from the rear and keep the rear door locked until the vehicle has passed. There’s also rear cross-traffic collision-avoidance, and lane-following assist. The forward collision avoidance system uses front cameras and radar to detect obstacles ahead and can warn or brake the SUV automatically.

Power, space, convenience, and safety are all superb, and befits the Sorento’s price. This starts at P2.418 million for the EX up to P2.608 million for the SX.