The little-altered looks mask a raft of revisions to the most expensive Kia to go on sale in the UK.
Riding on a new platform and boasting major changes to suspension, steering and brakes, the range-topping SUV is Kia’s latest model to be groomed for a significant move upmarket.
But the chunky all-drive, seven-seat Sorento will also come with higher price tags when it reaches the showrooms at the end of the year – a policy Kia has taken with all its latest model replacements.
To be pitched at £28,895, the mid-range version will be £1,500 dearer than its predecessor – but the uplift is not likely to dampen its appeal with fleet customers, believes Kia UK marketing chief Ian Mathews.
“I have no qualms about our pricing strategy,” he told Fleet News.
“Better-equipped examples of the Sorento have always been more popular than basic-trim models, so we have moved the new range up a notch in response to customer demand.
“Compared with its predecessor, this car has added refinement, more space, more kit, better economy and a big reduction in tax liability for user-chooser drivers.
“But there’s no doubt it retains all the high-value credentials that come with the brand.”
Unchanged in overall size but 10mm lower, the car that has been revised after only two years on the market provides centre and back-row passengers with more legroom in upgraded surroundings topped with ambient lighting on all but the lead-in KX-1.
Headlamps with beams that swivel to ‘see’ around corners are standard across all four trim grades along with dual-zone climate control that includes vents for the rear seats, cruise control and a rear camera to aid reversing manoeuvres.
In addition, the fleet-favourite KX-2 now comes with rain-sensing wipers, extra leather trim and a colour LCD touch-screen.
Most of the credit for a 5.7mpg improvement in economy and a 22g/km cut in tailpipe CO2 emissions go to a new exhaust gas recirculation system, but the adoption of a motor-assist steering system used in other Kia models also plays a part in trimming £155 from initial Vehicle Excise Duty by tapping engine power only when the steering wheel is being turned.
Better detailing lifts cabin quality and the latest model is a comfortable and competent performer. A new front sub-frame and revised damper settings improve ride and handling, but the light feel at the wheel comes at the expense of feedback from the road.
As part of the upgrade, the electronic stability equipment now features downhill brake control to hold speed to 5mph on steep descents over poor surfaces. The new package also includes hill-start assist.
By Maurice Glover