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2018 Kia Sorento Sport review

 

The facelifted Kia Sorento comes with a new Sport variant that bridges the gap between the entry level-Si and SLi

Kia has updated its third-generation Sorento SUV and while not much has changed in terms of size, space and exterior aesthetics it has had a significant technical makeover.

TELL ME ABOUT THIS CAR

The Sorento now has enhanced suspension and steering for improved ride and handling, a new eight-speed automatic transmission and advanced safety features including auto emergency braking. Inside, the seven-seat cabin has more soft-touch fabrics for a premium feel as well the as Kia’s latest infotainment system.

The facelift also introduced the Sport to the Sorento range, which is similar to the entry-level Si but adds leather-appointed seats and fancier 18-inch alloy wheels. Starting at $44,990 (AUD), it’s available with V6 petrol/front-wheel-drive (FWD) or turbo diesel/all-wheel-drive (AWD) powertrains.

2018 Kia Sorento Sport front

STRENGTHS

  • The Sport doesn’t differ too much from the base-model Sorento Si but comes with a host of standard features and cabin quality that you’d have only found in top-spec SUV models just a couple of years ago.

  • Like all updated Sorento models the Sport comes with automatic emergency braking (city/highway speeds), lane keeping assist, smart active cruise control, which also stops and starts in heavy traffic, driver attention alert and dusk sensing automatic headlights.

  • The cabin quality is excellent. The entire dashboard and upper door trims are covered with soft-touch plastics that provide a premium feel. The Sport comes with soft leather appointed seats which have simple manual adjustments but feel more comfortable than the firmer, powered seats in the top-of-the-range GT-Line.

  • Infotainment has significantly improved over the previous model and features a larger 8.0-inch touchscreen, in-built satellite navigation, digital radio (DAB+) and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto connectivity.

  • The new Sorento handles better on country roads than its predecessor thanks to revised suspension that was subsequently tuned by Kia Australia’s engineers to better suit local conditions. The result is less body roll and a smoother ride over bumps.
  • The Sport’s 18-inch alloy wheels provide a smoother, quieter ride than the GT-Line’s larger 19-inch wheels and sportier tyres.

  • The electric power steering has also been enhanced, connecting a motor directly to the steering rack instead of the steering column. This results in a firmer and more direct steering feel.

  • The entire Sorento range now has an eight-speed automatic transmission which provides quicker and smoother shifts with both the V6 petrol and turbo-diesel engines.

  • The 3.3-litre V6 petrol engine has been boosted to 3.5-litres resulting in a 7kW power increase and 18Nm of extra torque to 206kW/336Nm. The extra displacement does slightly increase combined fuel economy however, from 9.9L/100km to an even 10.0L/100km.

  • The 2.2-litre four cylinder turbo-diesel engine is the pick of the two powertrains. It costs $2500 more than the V6 petrol FWD, but that price nabs AWD and 7.2L/100km combined fuel economy.

  • As before, the Sorento has a roomy cabin with seven seats, with the third row having more space than many of its competitors as well as two cupholders, accessory pockets and its own fan control and vents.

  • The second row is comfortable and spacious and passengers there have access to two USB ports and a 12V socket to run their devices plus cupholders and air vents.

  • With the third row down the Sorento has a cavernous 605-litre boot space, which extends to 1662-litres by folding down the middle row seats.

2018 Kia Sorento Sport interior

WEAKNESSES

  • The boot space with the third row up is a tight 142-litres meaning you’d need to invest in a roof rack or trailer if all seats are filled on the family holiday.

  • Despite the power boost the V6 petrol engine, though mostly adequate, doesn’t appear to have the power in reserve when needed on steep uphill climbs with a full load or when having to overtake.

  • There’s not a lot in the way of paint colour options, with Gravity Blue replacing Sunset Red in the mostly monochromatic colour range.

ANY RIVALS I SHOULD CONSIDER

Other seven-seat SUVs in the Sorento Sport’s price range include Mazda CX-9 Sport, Toyota Kluger GX, Nissan Pathfinder ST and Skoda Kodiaq.


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