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2011 Kia Sorento EX AWD Review

If we talked about vehicle transformation, Kia is always on my top list.

It was in 2008 when I first drive the Kia Sorento. Back then I was totally impressed on how Koreans had improved their vehicles.

Who would ever forget Kia’s best-selling subcompact car (the CD Pride) early in the 90’s? The diminutive car, that clashes with the Corollas and the Sentras—on being the top best-selling car. I’m sure most of us, had different good stories to share about the Kia Pride.

 

The all new Sorento brings sleek styling and a futuristic touch to the world of the urban SUV.

 

So driving the Kia Sorento was absolutely a change of perception for me.  But that was four years ago.

Just a week ago, Columbian Autocar Corporation (CAC), the Philippine distributor of Kia vehicles in the country, was quite generous to lend me their 2011 Kia Sorento. So we took-off the Sorento for a quick spin to find out what’s inside its cocoon, despite the heavy week rain in the Metropolis.

 

DID YOU KNOW? The first generation Sorento was produced in 2002

 

POWER TO SURPRISE

From any angles, the new Sorento looks more different from the previous first generation model. What makes it more interesting is that the Sorento ditches the outgoing model’s truck-based and stiffly sprung ladder frame in favor of a much more rigid, more compliant unibody. The chassis is shared with the Hyundai Santa Fe and has a strut-type suspension in front and a multilink design at the back.

 

Sorento's new meter cluster provides "Quality at first sight".

 

One the biggest turning point of Kia has been the introduction of Peter Schreyer as the chief designer of Kia (formerly the head designer for Audi).  Schreyer has brought a new European design to all new Kia vehicles. The Schreyer grille, as it’s called, has been a great hit with consumers who often can’t believe the cars are Kia.

 

Despite of heavy rains, we still had enough time to take photos on the Sorento.

 

For 2011, the Sorento looks more aggressive and youthful. The large blacked-out lower grill openings and fog lamps, provides the crossover a sort of tuner-look.

With an elegant aesthetic, the interior has to match also. Although Kia’s R & D says they worked significantly on interiors, there are still hard plastics on doors and dashboard.

 

THE ROAD TO HIGHWAY! Driving in highway is easy with Sorento's new "Cruise" control...

 

Inside, the Sorento’s cabin represents a modern design and high-level of fit and finish. The second row folds flat into the floor; so does the third row. Although, cargo room behind the third row is so limited, that you may want to just lower the seat—ending it cramped for your groceries supplies.

Standard comforts can be found throughout, including air conditioning, a tilt and telescopic steering wheel with integrated audio controls, trip control meter, and rear map pockets.

 

The Sorento has a good value, with lots of space, acceptable performance, and a surprisingly good array of cabin technology.

 

Power-wise, our test unit came with a 2.2-liter DOHC CRDi with e-VGT intercooler engine. The 6-speed automatic transmission is a fine match to the engine and shifts smoothly and efficiently. It can be manually switched to shiftronic mode, but works well enough on its own that manual transmission is never really necessary.

Sorento’s ride and handling overall is on-par with its class. This 7-seater SUV is totally new vehicle that’s lighter, faster, and more efficient. On the road, the suspension system also ensures a comfortable ride, thanks to the newly replaced fully independent suspension at all four corners along with its 235/65/R 17 wheels and tires.

Safety feature in Sorento include anti-lock brake system (ABS), and RPAS (Rear Parking Assist System) as well as anti-whiplash headrests and dual front airbags.

All told, Kia has created a comfortable and value-driven crossover out of the Sorento.

 

 

THUMBS UP!

• Looks

• Smooth ride and handling

• Interiors

• Spacious 7-seater

• Engine performance

 

THUMBS DOWN!

• Small cargo room at the rear back

• Hard plastic on doors

 

 

SPECIFICATIONS

 

CATEGORY                                   Mid-size SUV

ENGINE                                          2.2-liter DOHC 16-valve CRDI with E-VGT intercooler

MAX. OUTPUT                            190 ps @ 3,800 rpm

MAX. TORQUE                            426 Nm  @ 1,800-2,500 rpm

LENGTH                                        4685 mm

Height                                            1745 mm (with roof rails)

Width                                              1885 mm

WheelBase                                    2700 mm

Transmission                               6-speed AT

WHEELS & TIRES                       235 / 65 R17

SUSPENSION                              (F) MacPherson (R) RMulti-link

Price as tested                             Php. 1.790 million

 

 

 

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One Comment

  1. The exterior styling of the new 2011 Sorento has been designed after getting inspired from Mitsubishi Outlander model, but with well creased exterior outlining it has managed to create a mark of its own in the present market.

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