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Kia Sorento Review - Long Term Introduction
Kia Sorento Review - Long Term Introduction
Kia Sorento Review - Long Term Introduction
by Matt Brogan

Surprising even the harshest critics, new Sorento has to be driven to be believed.

Model Tested:

  • 2009 Kia Sorento Si CRDi; 2.2-litre, four-cylinder, turbo-diesel; six-speed automatic; wagon – $41,990*

Options:

  • Metallic Paint $450 (Fitted – Ebony Black)

Words by Matt Brogan Pics by Brendan Nish

The newest member of the CarAdvice long-term fleet, our shiny new Kia Sorento Si diesel, is already proving to be a practical, comfortable and, above all else, economical SUV.

With seven seats and acres of cargo space the Sorento has been put to task gathering the larger items required for our family Christmas function and, with the third-row seats stowed flat in to the floor, had no trouble carting two trestle tables, a dozen folding chairs and a marquee – with room to spare.

Highway trips are comfortable with the spacious cabin also proving quieter than expected at 66dB (@ 100km/h). Ventialation and temperature control is diligently managed by the single-zone climate control, though the lack of third-row ventilation outlets is a little concerning, and a let down considering how accommodating the sixth and seventh seats actually are (full dimension info at bottom of page).

Kia Sorento Review - Long Term Introduction
Kia Sorento Review - Long Term Introduction
Kia Sorento Review - Long Term Introduction
Kia Sorento Review - Long Term Introduction

New Sorento is also proving to be a good all rounder, dealing competently with suburbia and the open road alike. We’ve piled on nearly 1,500km since collecting the Sorento early last week, and with only a touch over 2,500km now on the odometre, fuel consumption is averaging an impressive 8.43L/100km – a figure I expect to improve as the engine frees up.

And what an engine it is. The 2.2-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel unit develops an ample 145kW of power mated to a mass of torque – 436Nm all told – which is completely usable and free flowing from just 1,800rpm. The engine itself is quiet and free of the ‘rattle’ typically associated with diesel powered units.

Turbo lag is virtually non-existent, overtaking is brisk and hills are barely noticed thanks to Kia’s new, silky smooth six-speed automatic transmission. There’s no hunting or slow decisions here, just intuitive and prompt selections.

On the downside, the lack of parking sensors or rear-view camera make reverse parking a little tricky and I’d highly recommend fitting either or both if you’re considering a Sorento (these options are standard on more highly spec’ed models). ‘C’ pillar visibility is also a little obscured thanks to the crescent shape at the top of the glass – a niggling issue when reversing back from 45-degree parks. Otherwise Sorento offers a commanding forward view and to the side, further assisted by large electric, self-folding mirrors.

Kia Sorento Review - Long Term Introduction

To date the majority of Sorento’s driving has involved the mundane weekday commute, but evidence of competent handling and solid braking are already shining through, even if the brake pedal could do with a touch more assistance. Steering is delightfully weighted with a decent level of road feel that comes as a pleasant surprise when considering the car’s proportions (expect more on Sorento’s drive and off-road performance over the coming weeks).

Though the refined drive and confident performance have come as no great surprise to myself, what has caught me a little unaware is the reaction of friends and neighbours to the Sorento, most finding it hard to believe it’s a Kia.

So far our glossy black SUV has been mistaken for a Ford – “is that the new Ford Territory?” – a Toyota – “that new Toyota Kluger looks good in Black” – and, wait for it, an Audi, perhaps proving Kia are on to something with this design.

The Si model on test over the next few months is certain to be the volume seller for Kia’s Sorento range, and though it lacks some of the technical wizardry found in the SLi and Platinum models, still boasts an impressive range of standard features and safety gear to represent excellent value for money.

Stay tuned for an update in a few weeks.


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KIA SORENTO BREAKDOWN

Kia Sorento Review - Long Term Introduction
  • 7
  • 6
  • 8
  • 7
  • 8
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Kia Sorento Specs

EX : BL : 2.5L DIESEL TURBO F/INJ - 5 SP AUTOMATIC - DIESEL - 4D WAGON
Car Details
Make
KIA
Model
SORENTO
Variant
EX
Series
BL
Year
2009
Body Type
4D WAGON
Seats
5
Pricing
New Price
N/A
Private Sale
$14,080 - $16,000
Dealer Retail
$15,540 - $18,480
Dealer Trade
$11,200 - $12,800
Engine Specifications
Engine Type
DIESEL TURBO F/INJ
Engine Size
2.5L
Max. Torque
392Nm @  2000rpm
Max. Power
125kW @  3800rpm
Pwr:Wgt Ratio
58.9W/kg
Bore & Stroke
91x96mm
Compression Ratio
17.7
Valve Gear
DUAL OVERHEAD CAM
Drivetrain Specifications
Transmission
5 SP AUTOMATIC
Drive Type
4x4
Final Drive Ratio
0
Fuel Specifications
Fuel Type
DIESEL
Fuel Tank Capacity
80Litres
Fuel Consumption (Combined)
9.4L / 100km
Weight & Measurement
Kerb Weight
2121
Gross Vehicle Weight
Not Provided
Height
1810mm
Length
4590mm
Width
1863mm
Ground Clearance
208mm
Towing Capacity
Brake:2800  Unbrake:750
Steering & Suspension
Steering Type
RACK & PINION - POWER ASSISTED
Turning Circle
11
Front Rim Size
7x17
Rear Rim Size
7x17
Front Tyres
245/65 R17
Rear Tyres
245/65 R17
Wheel Base
2710
Front Track
1580
Rear Track
1580
Front Brakes
DISC - VENTILATED
Rear Brakes
DISC - VENTILATED
Front Suspension
Double wishbone, Coil Spring, Hydraulic double acting shock absorber, Anti roll bar
Rear Suspension
5 links, Coil Spring, Hydraulic double acting shock absorber, Anti roll bar
Standard Features
Comfort
Air Conditioning
Control & Handling
17 Inch Alloy Wheels, Electronic Stability Program, Traction Control System
Driver
Cruise Control, Power Steering
Entertainment
Radio CD with 6 Speakers
Exterior
Fog Lights - Front, Power Mirrors
Interior
Power Windows
Safety
Dual Airbag Package, Anti-lock Braking, Seatbelts - Pre-tensioners Front Seats
Security
Central Locking Remote Control, Engine Immobiliser
Optional Features
Exterior
Metallic Paint
Other
Service Interval
6 months /  10,000 kms
Warranty
60 months /  999,000 kms
VIN Plate Location
Rear Driver Side Chassis
Country of Origin
Korea