New look, more kit, higher prices for Korean SUV

Local pricing and specifications for the updated 2018 Kia Sorento range have been announced this week, bringing a range of technology and equipment additions to the company's flagship SUV.

Headlining the changes are a refreshed look and a new eight-speed automatic transmission across the range, along with technology and driver assistance upgrades.

Starting at $42,990 (all prices exclude on-road costs) the price of entry is $1000 dearer, though the jump is offset by enhanced specification.

Four variants will be offered: Si, Sport, SLi and GT-Line. The Sport is a new variant that essentially replaces the short-run Si Limited as a permanent member of the range, and the previous line's Platinum variant has been discontinued for 2018.

A revised V6 petrol will also be available alongside the familiar four-cylinder turbo-diesel option, replacing the 3.3-litre engine previously offered. The new 3.5-litre V6 drives the front wheels only, churning out 206kW of power at 6300rpm (up 7kW) and 336Nm of torque at 5000rpm (up 18Nm).

Meanwhile, the 2.2-litre turbo-diesel sends 147kW of power (3800rpm) and 441Nm of torque (1750-2750rpm) to all four wheels, with no front-wheel-drive option available.

Fuel consumption for the V6 is rated at 10L/100km on the combined cycle (up 0.1L/100km on the old 3.3-litre V6), while the new eight-speed self-shifter sees the diesel's claimed fuel economy drop from 7.8 to 7.2L/100km combined.

Above: Kia Sorento Sport

Kicking off the range is the entry-level Si, which starts at the aforementioned $42,990 in front-wheel-drive 3.5-litre V6 petrol trim, climbing to $45,490 (+$1000) for the 2.2-litre turbo-diesel with all-wheel drive.

Standard kit includes 17-inch alloy wheels with a full-size spare, LED daytime-running lights, automatic headlights, front and rear parking sensors, an 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system with satellite navigation, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, DAB+ digital radio, a six-speaker sound system, dual-zone climate control, and air vents for all three rows.

Also included in base spec are driver assistance systems like adaptive cruise control, autonomous emergency braking (AEB) with forward collision warning, and lane keep assist - features which previously required a step up to the top-spec Platinum or GT-Line. There's also a new driver-attention alert system, but blind-spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert remain exclusive to the GT-Line.

Next in the range is the Sport, which costs $44,990 (+$1000) in petrol guise and $48,490 (+$1000) in diesel form. Extra kit includes 18-inch alloy wheels and leather-appointed seats.

The Sport essentially replaces the pre-facelift Si Limited, hence the narrow price gap compared to the base variant and the limited extra equipment - no pun intended.

One rung down from the top is the SLi (above), starting at $46,990 (+$1000) for the petrol, and $50,490 for the diesel (+$1000).

Additional equipment includes an auto-dimming electrochromic rear-view mirror, keyless entry with push-button start, an eight-way power-adjustable driver's seat with two-way lumbar support, LED tail-lights, a powered tailgate, 'aero-blade' windscreen wipers, a 7.0-inch TFT driver display, alloy sports pedals, wood-look trim highlights for the console, a 10-speaker Harman-Kardon audio system, and the option of two-tone black/stone leather seats.

Finally, sitting atop the range is the diesel-only GT-Line variant ($59,990, +$500), which gets all the fruit and then some.

Over its lesser siblings, the flagship Sorento gets niceties like 19-inch alloy wheels, auto-levelling LED headlights with dynamic bending lights, blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert, a 360-degree camera system, GT-Line seat logos, an eight-way power-adjustable driver's seat with four-way lumbar support, thigh extender and two position memory, an eight-way power-adjustable passenger's seat, and a panoramic sunroof.

Additionally, the GT-Line gets an exterior styling package of the same name, which includes side steps, red brake calipers and a chromed dual exhaust tip, a perforated heated leather steering wheel with paddle shifters, gloss black console trim, LED interior lighting, sunshade blinds for the second row, a luggage net in the boot compartment, ventilated front seats and heated outer rear seats.

There's a new exterior colour in Gravity Blue, while the company says the interior features an "increased proportion" of soft-touch materials and leather surfaces for a more premium-feeling ambience. GT-Line models also are exclusively available with Snow White Pearl in addition to the core colour range.

For those who tow, both the petrol and diesel engines have a braked towing capacity of 2000 kilograms, with a towball download limit of 100kg - the latter likely to be a sore point for those with larger trailers, limiting tow capacity in most cases. And, while the Hyundai Santa Fe can be had with an upgraded tow pack, Kia still does not offer this option.

2018 Kia Sorento pricing

Petrol (FWD)

Si - $42,990 (+$1000)

Sport - $44,990 (+$1000)

SLi - $46,990 (+$1000)

Diesel (AWD)

Si - $45,490 (+$1000)

Sport - $48,490 (+$1000)

SLi - $50,490 (+$1000)

GT-Line - $58,990 (+$500)

All prices exclude on-road costs


Podcast

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