The idea of having a luxury SUV parked in the garage is something many want but cannot always afford as they are priced well high.

Kia does not spring to the forefront of many when you say luxury however the new fourth generation Sorento is different and competes strongly with other more prestige brands.

The front of the Sorento evolves with a new interpretation of Kia’s hallmark ‘tiger nose’ grille, displaying a wider shape which organically wraps around the integrated headlamps on each side. The headlamps themselves feature a new ‘tiger eye’ LED daytime running light, adding extra focus to the design by depicting the intense impression of the lines around a tiger’s eyes.

This sharper, more assertive appearance is complemented by a wide, rectangular lower air intake, bookended by wing-shaped air curtains to channel air around the car. A sharp bumper lip is also capped with a skid plate, enhancing its robust appearance.

The new look is high in class and easy on the eye and makes you want to turn back and look at it as you are walking away. And when people look at it and see a Kia badge, they are often surprised something looking this good comes from this brand. We aren’t surprised but many were.

The new Sorento is 10 mm longer than its predecessor (now 4810 mm), yet it features shorter front and rear overhangs. The additional length is found in the wheelbase (a result of the Sorento’s new platform), which has grown by 35 mm to 2,815 mm.

Ever recognisable as a Sorento, it retains the characteristic wide D-pillar, substantial bodywork and clad wheel arches that have defined all three generations to-date. It also adopts certain other design features from more recent Kia models, including a new ‘shark fin’ on its C-pillar and sculpted body surfaces with sharp creases.

The interior of the new Sorento represents a step-change in quality and design for Kia cabins. The first-generation 2002 Kia Sorento, which provided occupants with a practical, robust and utilitarian space, the Sorento today provides something altogether more striking, desirable and comfortable.

This interior is one of the highest quality interior spaces found in any Kia to-date and this is what puts it right at the top of luxury and quality. The tech-oriented cabin of the new Sorento is fitted with premium-quality materials and cutting-edge infotainment. At the same time, it retains the spaciousness and versatility that has characterised the Sorento over its 18-year existence.

The 12.3-inch digital driver instrument cluster is twinned with a 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment and navigation system at the centre of the dashboard is something right out of the Genesis from Hyundai. While this may seem like cheating, why reinvent the wheel when something works, and works so well. It looks like it belongs and brings so much class and quality to an SUV that is on the brink of being one of the best on the market.

The cabin of the new Sorento subtly integrates a range of other technologies, including an available Mood Lighting system. This emits soft ambient downlighting from beneath the dashboard and door trim, creating a lounge-like feeling and greater sense of space. A wireless smartphone charger also sits at the base of the centre console, while a powerful BOSE surround-sound system is also available to provide a more immersive in-car audio experience.

Material quality is enhanced, with a cabin that blends metallic trim, leather upholstery, and embossed satin-effect surfaces. Applied throughout the interior and across the dashboard, the cabin boasts a more sophisticated appearance and ambience as a result. In Australia the Sorento will be available (grade dependent) with embossed black cloth, leather appointed black cloth and black quilted Nappa leather.

The tailgate is a hands-free smart power tailgate meaning you can simply stand behind the vehicle for three seconds for the tailgate to automatically open, giving 187L of cargo space behind the third-row seats. Fold the third-row flat to increase cargo space to 616L. If this still isn’t enough space to pick up that item, with a single touch the second-row seats fold flat to gain access to an enormous 2,011L of space.

Everything inside the Sorento just flows and works and it is a wonderful place to be on a short or long drive. Everything bleeds luxury and comfort and is more than pleasing on the eye.

The new Sorento has been well designed to offer an enjoyable drive and is easy to maneuver for a large SUV. There is a choice of engines from an all new SmartStream 3.5L V6 petrol or a SmartStream 2.2L turbo diesel engine.

The Sorento’s new four-cylinder 2.2-litre ‘Smartstream’ diesel engine produces 148kW and 440Nm torque and is paired with Kia’s new 8-speed wet double-clutch transmission. While the 3.5L V6 petrol has 200kW and 332Nm torque with an 8 Speed Automatic (Sports-matic).

The V6 has a combined fuel consumption of 9.7L/100Km with the 2.2-litre Smartstream diesel going as well as 6.1L/100Km. These number are achievable if you take-out modern-day factors like traffic and a heavy right foot. Even with these you can get close to these figures listed by Kia.

The Sorento offers higher levels of active and passive safety than many of its rivals thanks to an enhanced range of driver assistance systems. Kia’s Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) help to reduce many of the inherent hazards and stresses of driving, protecting occupants and other road users on every journey.

Depending on specification, the ADAS range in the new Sorento includes Kia’s latest Forward Collision-avoidance Assist (FCA) technology with pedestrian, cyclist and vehicle detection. This also detects oncoming traffic when making a turn at a junction. The Sorento is also available with Blind-spot View Monitor (BVM), Surround View Monitor (SVM) and Blind-spot Collision-avoid Assist (BCA), Intelligent Speed Limit Assist (ISLA), Smart Cruise Control with Stop&Go (SCC) and Navigation-based SCC (NSCC), Lane Following Assist (LFA), Driver Attention Warning (DAW), and Highway Driving Assist (HDA).

Kia’s ‘level two’ autonomous driving technology, Lane Following Assist (LFA), controls acceleration, braking and steering depending on the vehicles in front. LFA operates between speeds of 0 and 180 kph, using camera and radar sensors to maintain a safe distance from the car in front, while monitoring road markings to keep the Sorento in the centre of its lane.

The new Sorento also features a Rear View Monitor (RVM) with Reverse Parking Collision-Avoidance Assist (PCA) and Rear Cross-traffic Collision-avoidance Assist (RCCA).

The Sorento is fitted with up to seven airbags (dual front airbags, dual front seat-mounted side airbags, side curtain airbags with rollover sensor, and front centre airbag). The front centre airbag, a new innovation, provides additional head protection for front-seat occupants and is designed to prevent their heads coming into contact during a collision. All Sorento models are equipped as standard with Kia’s Vehicle Stability Management (VSM) and Electronic Stability Control systems to help drivers maintain control under braking and cornering.

Car and Bike News Opinion

The new Kia Sorento is one of the best SUV’s we have driven in all aspects of the car. The engines are good, the transmissions are good, it drives so well, and the ride is more than you would expect from a large SUV.

Comfort, luxury and driver pleasure all comes from being in one of these and when you get out of it you just want to look at it. For the price of the GT-Line and the inclusions of features and safety, luxury doesn’t need to cost you Luxury Car Tax.

They start at $46,850 plus on-roads and dealer costs with the GT-Line Diesel DCT starting from $66,290 plus on-road and dealer costs.

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