Sorento 4x4 a proper surprise

Here’s an interesting story to start this one off. My flight landed late that evening after a particularly tough few days and when I pitched up at the counter from where I often pick up test cars at the airport, enjoyed a quick chat with the lad there, who was also about to knock off.

He showed me where the car was parked in a dark bay – I was busy on Whatsapp or something as I approached it and I just clicked the remote and climbed aboard, put my bag and the mobile down and headed off into the night. Home is an hour’s drive from there and it took a good half hour for me to realise that the radio was off!  But, the prospect of a deserted Helshoogte Pass woke me up properly,  as that always does.

Not long after, I asked myself what I was driving? To be honest I‘d not given it a thought and had just cruised along in the comfort of the machine until the pass. Not half way up I was all already most impressed and all of a sudden, needed to know what I was driving so clicked on the dome light to see the Kia badge on the steering boss. I was most impressed by the manner in which the big 4x4 tackled the pass. I was probably going quick enough to cause it to engage the rear axle and that made it composed, predictable and fun to push to the limit – quite unlike what the car seemed to be! 

It turned out to be this Sorento AWD. I grew ever more impressed with it as the week went on – even more so as I sat down to write this report – I mean look at that price – this is a hell of a lot of car for that much money! Anyway, there's very much more to this smart SUV than just its surprising attitude on the road – big enough, spacious and very well equipped, it’s a most comfortable cruiser too and economical at it. Believe that claimed overall fuel figure – Sorento manages it pretty easily.

The big Kia SUV looks the part too – I bet you probably took a second glance to realise it is not a premium German SUV after all. No, it’s actually a far more humble Korean – not that it lacks any of that premium allure, mind you.

Add a properly stacked cabin, all the luxury you can ask for and more than adequate tech to cover all your contemporary interface and communication needs, and you pretty well have it all – from completely seamless Apple CarPlay to the level of contemporary connectivity we are becoming so dependent upon, on the move. In fact, to match this great all-rounder SUV with another badge on the bonnet, expect to add a good fifty percent to your investment…

It’s actually worth our while to do a quick comparison while we’re at it – versus the albeit discontinued R900K BMW X5 2.5d, this Korean lacks a few Kilowatts and Newton-metres, and it’s a tad off the pace, but had you told me I was driving one of those German SUVs that evening, I’d certainly believe you. Put it against perhaps the slightly smarter R900K Volvo XC90 and you notice that the Korean is indeed quicker than the Swede, and dare I say nimbler on my pass.

So, if you are ever compromised and need to buy down from a million buck sportute, remember this Sorento. In fact you may not actually need to downscale at all, after all… - Michele Lupin

ROAD TEST: Kia Sorento 2.2CRDi AWD EX 
Engine: 147kW 440Nm 2189cc turbo diesel I4
Drive: 8-speed automatic AWD
0-60km/h: 4.37 sec
0-100km/h: 9.11 sec   
0-160km/h: 21.67 sec
400m: 16.3sec @ 140km/h
80-120km/h:         5.77 sec
120-160km/h: 9.22 sec       
VMax: 203km/h 
Fuel: 6.5 l/100km
CO2: 170 g/km
Warranty/Service 5y Unl./5y 100Kkm
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