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Kia shows new Sorento. Image by Kia.

Kia shows new Sorento
The new-look Kia Sorento makes its debut this week at the Seoul Motor Show.
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Kia has unveiled the new Sorento at the Seoul Motor Show in Korea. The off-road vehicle gets a striking new look, more road-biased dynamics and a new six-speed automatic transmission. It will arrive in the UK next year.

The new Sorento is longer and lower than the model it replaces. Key styling touches include a bold grille flanked by twin headlamps, sharp, trapezoidal C-pillars and a rear window that wraps around the edges of the tailgate. Inside, there is enough interior space for seven seats and an increase in both head and leg room.

Possibly the greatest departure from the current Sorento is the replacement of the separate chassis with a unitary body shell. Kia has used high-tensile steel to make the body stronger and stiffer than the old model. This has benefits for improving refinement and also protecting occupants in the event of a crash. Kia is hoping for a five-star rating when the Sorento undergoes the Euro NCAP crash tests.

Worldwide, the Sorento will be offered with four engines. The largest and most powerful motor is a 273bhp 3.5-litre V6 that won't be offered in Europe. For the Korean market there is a smaller, less powerful (163bhp), LPG-fuelled V6. European-market Sorentos will come either with a 2.4-litre, 172bhp, four-cylinder petrol engine or a 2.2-litre turbodiesel delivering 194bhp.

A choice of transmissions will be offered: manual and automatic gearboxes with either five- or six-speeds depending on the model. The six-speed automatic is new and has been designed to be lighter, more compact and simpler than the outgoing five-speed auto. The Sorento will also be offered with a choice of front- or four-wheel drive.

The MacPherson strut front and multi-link rear suspension is carried over from the current model though the ride height has been lowered by 10mm, helping contribute to a 54mm lower centre of gravity; the intention is to improve on-road ride quality and dynamics with only a minimal reduction in off-road ability.

Prices and UK equipment levels will be announced closer to the launch in 2010.

John Lambert - 6 Apr 2009

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