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by Tim Beissmann

The upgraded Kia Sorento will get an all-new platform and mild design revisions when it goes on sale later this year.

Images of a heavily camouflaged prototype captured by CarAdvice’s spy photographers at the Nurburgring confirm the body of the updated Sorento will carry over largely unchanged. Tweaks to the lights, grille, and front and rear bumpers will be the most significant visual changes to the facelifted model.

The biggest changes will take place under the skin where the updated Sorento will ride on the same new platform as the upcoming Hyundai Santa Fe, which was revealed at the 2012 New York motor show in April.

Kia Australia’s Kevin Hepworth confirmed the brand’s local engineering team has been fine-tuning the new Sorento’s suspension set-up for Australian conditions in preparation for the large SUV’s local launch at the 2012 Sydney motor show in October.

Despite the significant chassis upgrades, the updated Sorento is expected to continue with its current engine options, potentially with a few upgrades to increase power and fuel efficiency. In Australia, the existing range is available with a 204kW/335Nm 3.5-litre V6 petrol engine in the base model and a 145kW/436Nm 2.2-litre diesel across all variants.

The refreshed Kia Sorento will also get some minor upgrades to interior design and technology. In March, Kia Australia added satellite navigation to the Sorento line-up, making it standard on the high-grade Platinum (while increasing the price by $990) and a $1500 option on the mid-level SLi.

Kia sold 949 Sorento SUVs across Australia in the first four months of 2012 – up 23 per cent from the same period in 2011. The Sorento has a 3.0 per cent share of the sub-$70,000 large SUV market, which is dominated by the Toyota Prado (5807 sales), Ford Territory (4615) and Toyota Kluger (4219).




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