KIA Insider

Long-term test: Kia Sorento 2,2 CRDi AWD EX

Long-term test (Introduction): Kia Sorento 2,2 CRDi AWD EX

A Facelifted Kia Sorento recently arrived at our offices for a six-month tenure in our test fleet. I am not usually a fan of dark-metallic paint finishes because they are difficult to keep clean, as well as the obvious issue of cabin-heat buildup (exacerbated by leather interiors of matching hues) when vehicles need to be parked outside at the height of summer. It must be said, however, this unit’s specified exterior finish makes the Sorento look significantly more upmarket than its R639 995 price tag suggests.

As it arrived shortly before this issue’s deadline, I had little time to familiarise myself with the Kia but I was instantly impressed by a range of characteristics. At 4,8 metres long and 1,9 metres wide externally, the Sorento has a commodious interior.

Equally impressive is the massive luggage bay which accommodates two folding seats providing comfy accommodation for kids (and just about enough legroom for average-sized adults).

The Sorento is powered by a 2,2-litre turbodiesel unit producing 147 kW and 440 N.m, which is delivered to all four wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission. The driving experience is decidedly comfort-oriented; the ride quality has a forgiving pliancy which suits the Kia to a tee. Furthermore, I saw good (indicated) fuel consumption figures in the region of 8,0 L/100 km on the open road, although that crested 10,0 L in stop-start commuting.

I am keen to try out the all- wheel drivetrain (it’s named Dynamax and produced by Magna), which is managed by an intelligent on-demand system. It is said to offer surfeit cooling capability of the clutch pack for continuous use off-road, or when towing heavy loads. In an off-road scenario, the Sorento won’t be able to compete with body-on- chassis off-roaders such as the Fortuner and Everest, which sport higher ground clearances, diff locks and low-range capability. In the Kia’s favour, however, is an independent suspension delivering a ride quality more akin to those of expensive premium SUVs. The fact that family SUVs are rarely required to traverse rough terrain makes a compelling case for the Kia when you consider bakkie- based SUVs tend to feel cumbersome to drive round town.

In the current economic climate, some buyers who used to opt for luxury SUVs are downsizing. The Sorento offers similar space and a comparable level of luxury to those vehicles but at a significantly more palatable price.

After 1 month
Current mileage:
325 km
Average fuel consumption: 9,10 L/100 km
We like: space; comfot; on-road behaviour
We don’t like: engine noisy under acceleration