The new Kia Sorento seven-seat SUV will be the most advanced car in its class when it goes on sale in July.
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EXCLUSIVE

The new Kia Sorento will enable drivers to squeeze the vehicle into a tight parking spot using a remote control – while standing outside the car – a confidential dealer bulletin obtained by CarAdvice has revealed.

The remote parking technology has until now been exclusive to top end limousines and electric cars.

A new electronic gear selector means that owners of certain versions of the new Kia Sorento will be able to park the car while standing next to it (as illustrated above and below), to avoid banging the doors into adjacent vehicles, poles or walls.

Although the vehicle can only be manoeuvred remotely in a straight line forwards or backwards, it is still a feature unique to mainstream vehicles.

The confidential bulletin sent to all Kia dealers says: “Remote Smart Parking Assist (RSPA) … enables drivers to move their car autonomously out of a front-and-back parking space remotely with their key fob”.

The notice continues: “This is designed to make it easier for passengers to get in and out of the car in tight parking spaces, or if another driver parks too close to access any of the doors.”

The bulletin goes on to say that the car will brake automatically “if it detects another car, cyclist or pedestrian” while it is in motion, at crawling speed.

The Kia Sorento is believed to be the first car below $100,000 with such technology.

Although price for the all-new model is yet to be released, the top-of-the-range Kia Sorento GT-Line is expected to cost in excess of $60,000 due to the raft of new technology.

The remote parking feature is just one of a long list of highlights set to debut on the new generation Kia Sorento.

The new Kia Sorento is also on track to become the first vehicle from a mainstream brand in Australia with an airbag between the front two seats.

The $200,000-plus Audi A8 limousine launched with a centre airbag locally in 2018, but the technology has until now not been fitted to more affordable vehicles.

The “centre airbag” as it is known, is designed to prevent the front occupants from coming into contact with each other in a severe side impact crash.

This technology-first for the class will be standard on all models, the confidential bulletin notes.

It will be one of eight airbags in the vehicle: centre, driver’s knee, two front, two front seat outer cushion, plus two curtain airbags that run the full length of the cabin to the third row seats.

Another technology highlight: the new Kia Sorento will come with a door exit warning (similar to tech introduced by Audi a few years ago, and on the most recent version of the Kia Sorento's sister vehicle, the Hyundai Santa Fe). The system will prevent the rear doors from opening if sensors in the back of a car detect a cyclist or passing car.

“The Sorento’s Safe Exit Assist feature also prevents rear doors from opening if the vehicle detects a hazard approaching from behind, such as a cyclist or another vehicle,” the confidential Kia dealer bulletin said.

The new Kia Sorento will also have a multi-collision braking system, which maintains a firm brake pressure after the airbags have been deployed in an emergency to protect occupants from secondary impacts from other cars potentially caught up in a crash.

In addition, the new Kia Sorento will have autonomous emergency braking (AEB) in junctions, which will slam on the brakes if the driver is about to turn in front of an oncoming car.

Other advanced safety features such as city and highway AEB, rear cross-traffic alert, lane-keeping assistance and blind zone warning are standard on all models, not just the flagship.

As reported yesterday, top-end Kia Sorento models will also come with blind zone cameras; vehicles in adjacent lanes will be shown in the instrument cluster display when the indicators are activated.

The confidential Kia dealer bulletin says diesel versions of the new Sorento are due in showrooms in late May, with petrol versions due in late September.

However, those estimates were given as COVID-19 began to lock down economies and shut down factories around the world and the first arrivals are now not expected until July at the earliest.

The updated 2.2-litre turbo diesel (149kW/440N) is matched to a newly developed eight-speed “wet type dual clutch” automatic and all-wheel-drive.

The 3.5-litre V6 petrol (200kW/332Nm) is matched to a conventional torque converter eight-speed auto and front-wheel-drive.

The bulletin advises the diesel can now tow 2500kg (500kg more than the current model) and downball weight has been doubled to 200kg; the towing capacity for the V6 petrol is not listed.

All models will come with a full size spare wheel and tyre, a rarity in the class but a welcome addition given Australia’s vast distances and remote areas.

A spokesman for Kia Australia declined to comment on the accuracy of the dealer bulletin, or indicate when the new model may arrive in showrooms locally.