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DAD.info Reader Clinic: Exclusive Kia Sorento Preview

DAD.info readers got an exclusive preview of Kia’s new Sorento. Watch the video here, and read what they thought…

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The new Kia Sorento has been given a bold and stylish makeover, but it’s more than just a skin deep revision of a well-liked model. Kia has attempted to bring style, quality and refinement to the new car, alongside it’s familiar attributes of practicality and value.

Eager to find out how potential customers would react to the changes, Kia invited a group of DAD.info readers down to the UK headquarters in Walton-on-Thames to look around, poke and prod the new 7-seater to their hearts content, and first impressions were good.

Dad of two and Vauxhall Insignia driver Garry Norman was impressed: “It’s a lovely car. I really like the exterior styling and everything inside makes it a lovely place to be.”

 

Kevin Minihane, a Volvo S80 driver, was in agreement and hugely impressed by the look of the new Sorento, saying: “It surpasses anything on the road – it’s a really cool looking car.”

Meanwhile, driving instructor David King, who clearly spends a lot of hours on the road for both business and pleasure, was pleasantly surprised by the Sorento, adding: “It’s quite a big car but I love the look of the vehicle, especially the front grille, it’s very stylish.”

With initial impressions clearly satisfied, the group investigated the Sorento from every angle to discover what else the SUV has to offer.

The size makes for a more practical proposition than the outgoing model, with a bigger boot and greater head- and legroom. That’s been achieved by stretching the new model, making it both longer and wider, which frees up enough space to place two extra seats in the rear.

All seven seats are useable too, with one less-than-childlike guest squeezing in to the back to prove the point. The ease of folding the seats was noted, Kevin commenting “the Sorento has got really easy-to-put-up rear seats to make it a seven-seater which is good. It takes seconds to get the seat in to position which really is brilliant.”

Fellow dad Garry was also impressed with how easy it was to convert the boot space into seating, saying: “They’re very flexible,” cheekily adding “they’re nice and lightweight, so my wife can work them as well.”

Folding down the rearmost seats leaves a boot that offers 605 litres of storage, ahead of both the Hyundai Santa Fe and Nissan X-Trail, while putting all five seats down extends that to a gargantuan 1,662 litres, with a near-flat floor for the entire length.

“My other half looks after kids so we have all seven seats up,” said David, “but when it’s just five it gives loads of extra load space.”

With passengers or luggage safely stowed, the team turned their attention to the other end of the Sorento, taking a good look at the preview model’s specification. The KX-4 specification includes full leather interior, satellite navigation, DAB radio, Bluetooth connectivity and, impressively, cameras around the car that provide a 360-degree view of the outside on the eight-inch touchscreen. There’s also a 10-speaker Infinity stereo system on offer, complete with a separate amplifier, that offers exceptionally clear audio.

The interior went down well with our guests, with Garry’s impressions clear: “the build quality is really good, the buttons are chunky and click nicely and the doors shut with a reassuring thud. The parking cameras work well on the touch screen, which is all very easy. You can’t really go wrong.”

The heated seats were appreciated on the cold winter day, but come summer they can be ventilated as well, keeping the driver and passengers comfortable whatever the weather throws at them.

With young passengers aboard, the DAD.info testers were keen to know about the Sorento’s safety features, which have earned it a 5-star Euro NCAP rating. The parking sensors are used to good effect in the rear cross alert system, a system that warns of traffic coming from the side as you reverse out of parking spaces, while a self-park system will get you in them without an issue. Blind spot detection keeps you alerted to vehicles outside the view of the mirrors, while the adaptive cruise control promises to keep you a safe distance from the car in front on a long drive. Clever adaptive lights turn as you turn the steering wheel too, lighting up the road around the bend as well as straight ahead of you.

When the Sorento arrives in the UK it’ll be powered by a 2.2-litre diesel engine producing 197bhp. Equipped with a six-speed manual or automatic gearbox, it should allow plenty of performance, with the 0-62mph dash being despatched within 10 seconds. This won’t be at the expense of economy though, with a claimed 50mpg on offer along with CO2 emissions of just 149g/km.

Four-wheel drive will be standard across all models too, enabling the Sorento to act as something of an off-roader as well as a spacious SUV.

It all sounds positive for the new Kia, and it left our DAD.info readers with a good feeling. “It’s a very impressive car,” said David. “Brilliant.”

But does it have enough to convert any of our testers? “We’re looking at an SUV,” said Garry, “and this is very nice. I’d love to have this on the drive…”

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