ALL-NEW KIA SORENTO SUV
Futuristic styling and new technologies make a ‘stand-out’ SUV
The original Kia Sorento was a ‘landmark’ vehicle which took the Korean brand into a whole new section of the automotive market all around the world. Introduced in 2002, it marked a huge step for Kia, challenging many established brands and starting the process of changing public perception of Kia as a ‘maker of small cars’.
Sorento earned widespread media and public acclaim for its innovative styling, durability, off-road abilities and value-for-money. Over the next seven years, it attracted thousands of customers who had not previously considered buying a Kia, and achieved global sales of almost 900,000 units. It also paved the way for the successful introduction of the smaller Kia Sportage.
At its launch, the original Kia Sorento injected fresh visual excitement into the SUV segment with its ‘stand-out’ looks. Now under the direction of Kia’s Chief Design Officer (CDO), Peter Schreyer, the Kia design team aimed to deliver futuristic styling with a bold sense of power and dynamism, to once again differentiate Kia’s larger SUV from potential rivals by incorporating Kia’s new design DNA into the all-new Sorento.
New Sorento is also significantly sleeker than the previous model with an aerodynamic drag figure of Cd 0.38 – down from 0.425 – enhancing fuel economy and refinement.
New Sorento is a ‘Highline Cruiser’ with up to seven seats – a longer, lower, sleeker SUV with a host of new attributes that deliver genuine customer benefits. Ride and handling are more supple and more responsive. The cabin is more spacious and more luxurious. The vehicle delivers enhanced performance while consuming less fuel. The broader line-up offers a wider choice of engine, transmission and drivetrain. New Sorento presents a stronger, more distinctive character that embodies Kia’s new design language while communicating athleticism, precision and modernity.
During development of the new Sorento, Kia engineers ditched the old body-on-frame structure and designed an all-new unitary (monocoque) bodyshell with room for up to seven occupants. The different construction method helped the new Sorento to achieve a weight loss of up to 215 kg, depending on model, compared with the previous Sorento – even though the new model incorporates numerous additional technical, safety and comfort features.
Building on those new foundations, engineers concentrated on eight key development areas – class-leading performance, increased fuel economy, reduced emissions, improved on-road handling, more fun-to-drive responsiveness, greater cabin space and comfort, enhanced overall safety – resulting in the new model being awarded a 5-Star Euro NCAP crash test rating – and the introduction of new technologies.
“With the new Sorento, we have created an all-new, seven-seater SUV that will soon be recognised as an ‘exciting all-rounder’ with a much broader customer appeal,” commented Hyoung-Keun Lee, President, Kia Motors Corporation. “Despite the current economic uncertainties, we are confident that new Sorento, with its expanded market coverage, will significantly increase Kia’s share of the utility vehicle market, achieving annual global export sales of 140,000 units from 2010.”
The new, longer bodyshell created for new Sorento, with its repositioned A-pillars and dashboard (moved forwards) and extended tailgate (moved rearwards), ensures that the cabin is much more spacious than the current model. The real and perceived quality of the cabin is greatly enhanced and available high-tech features will include: keyless entry, engine start button, reversing safety camera, built-in sat-nav and panoramic glass sunroof.
As part of Kia’s drive to expand market coverage with its latest SUV, the new Sorento will eventually be manufactured with a total of five engines to best suit local customer preferences and legal requirements in different regions around the world. Reacting to market forces and consumer trends, Kia has downsized some of the engines available for new Sorento – the gasoline V6 shrinks from 3.8 to 3.5-litres and the 2.5-litre diesel is replaced by an all-new, class leading 2.2-litre unit – while improving the efficiency of all the powertrains.
In Western Europe, three engines will be offered to customers – from launch, a 2.4-litre gasoline unit and the new R2.2 diesel, with a R2.0 diesel to follow later next year. The launch engines will deliver a 174 ps-to-197 ps power spread, with CO2 emissions from just 171 g/km.
New Sorento’s ride/handling balance has been biased more towards on-road driving, without diminishing the original model’s renowned off-road talents.
Kia’s latest SUV, which will benefit from a special 5-Year Kia Warranty in Europe, will be available with 2-wheel drive or 4-wheel drive and manual or automatic transmissions, in a selection of 11 exterior colours and two interior colours (Black & Beige), with a broad choice of equipment levels and a vast range of factory-fitted optional extras.
Manufacturing of the new Sorento SUV in Korea, in both left- and right-hand drive versions, for the European markets started at the Hwasung facility in July 2009. Next year, the new Sorento will also be built at Kia’s all-new plant in the USA, at West Point, Georgia, to supply demand for this vehicle across the North American continent.
STYLING & DESIGN
Introducing a bold sense of Power and Dynamism
Longer and lower, the new Sorento ‘highline cruiser’ brings sleek styling and a futuristic touch to the world of the urban SUV. With its longer front overhang, wedge profile, crisply defined greenhouse and accentuated wheelarch volumes, Kia’s new SUV looks thoroughly modern and sporty. Styled by a team headed by Kia’s CDO, Peter Schreyer, the 4.7-metre long new Sorento moves vehicle design in this segment up to a new level of sophistication, introducing a bold sense of power and dynamism. The designers of the new Sorento have also achieved a significant reduction in drag with an aerodynamic Cd of 0.38, compared to 0.425 for the previous model.
“The dynamic design of the new Kia Sorento adopts simple, linear lines to create a powerful, yet polished appearance. Both sporty and striking, new Sorento represents a new breed of SUV,” comments Peter Schreyer.
Bold frontal styling, which incorporates Kia’s new ‘signature grille’ that blends seamlessly into the new Sorento’s four-light, black bezel wrap-around headlamps, creates a simple yet striking character. Although the vehicle’s width is unchanged, the overall stance is much stronger because the track has been widened by 38 mm (front) and by 41 mm (rear) – compared with the previous model – pushing the wheels to the outer edges of the wheelarches.
The profile’s rising upper belt-line and its chiselled treatment beneath the greenhouse, plus the unique trapezoid C-Pillar adds tension and endows new Sorento with a distinctive appearance. Rugged styling for the lower character lines adds dynamic flair. The visual impact generated by the side view is boosted by the fitting of large diameter 17-inch alloy wheels as standard and the availability of 18-inch wheels as an option.
Extending the rear window to the outer edges of the simply styled tailgate, hints at the light-filled, spacious cabin within. Large LED-look multi-colour rear combination lamps present a novel aspect and the two-tone bumper with its black lower mesh garnish enhances the new Sorento’s sporty appearance. LED is also used in the turn-repeater lamps incorporated into each door mirror housing.
As an option, a two-part glass Panorama Roof will be available. The rear section is fixed, while the front section is powered and can be tilted for ventilation or slide fully back to enjoy uninterrupted views. Inside, a multi-position roller blind allows the level of shade within the cabin to be finely adjusted.
Much of the detail design work for the new Sorento was carried out at Kia’s facility in California, USA. “We wanted to create a modern design that reflects the vehicle’s all-new unitary platform,” observes Tom Kearns, Chief Designer, Kia Design Centre America.
“We wanted the exterior and interior design to consistently communicate the new attributes – better ride, handling and fuel efficiency – with a more advanced expression that also captured our new Kia design language. The vehicle is sleeker and sportier than its predecessor. It communicates athleticism, precision and modernity and I think looks as good as it drives,” adds Kearns.
New Sorento will be available in a choice of 11 exterior colours that include ‘hi-tech luxury’ paint finishes. While the final line-up of colours may vary in individual markets, depending on local customers’ preferences, the factory will be finishing new Sorento vehicles in a choice of:
Solid colours x 2 / Ebony Black and Clear White
Pearl colours x 4 / Khaki, Blue Jeans, Inky Blue and Java Brown
Metallic colours x 5 / Brighter Silver, Muscle Beige, Metal Bronze, Titanium Silver and Spicy Red.
New Sorento is 95 mm longer and 15 mm lower than the previous model and features a wheelbase that has been reduced by 10 mm to 2700 mm. A combination of changes – the A-Pillars and the dashboard have been moved forwards, the tailgate has been moved rearwards by almost 70 mm, and the first and second row seats are a slimmer design – vastly increases the cabin space, allowing the fitting of the optional third row of seats to the benefit of up to seven occupants.
Exterior Dimensions Comparison (mm)
New Sorento Difference Previous Sorento
Length 4685 + 95 4590
Width* 1885 —– 1885
Height 1710 - 15 1725
Wheelbase 2700 - 10 2710
Front overhang 945 + 105 840
Rear overhang 1040 —– 1040
Front track 1618 + 38 1580
Rear track 1620 + 40 1580
Ground clearance 184 - 19 203
*excluding door mirrors
COMFORT & CONVENIENCE
High-quality trim and high-tech features enhance interior
The new Sorento’s interior styling echoes the sense of power and dynamism created by the exterior appearance and creates a new ambience that’s appropriate to a ‘highline cruiser’.
Kia is confident that existing Sorento owners and new customers will be equally impressed by the cabin’s generous proportions, sweeping dashboard design, high-quality fit, discreet trim accents and the availability of numerous high-tech features. Customers will be offered a choice of equipment levels, plus a wide range of options – depending on individual markets.
The thick-rimmed four-spoke steering wheel, which can be adjusted for height through a 40 mm range and (on EX models) for reach through a 30 mm range, is becoming a Kia trademark feature. Through the wheel, the driver can view another element of Kia’s developing design DNA – the ‘three-cylinder’ instrument cluster. Similar to the cluster fitted to the 2009 Kia Magentis (Optima) and new Kia Soul, the new Sorento’s cluster has clear and precise graphics.
A ‘Super Vision’ cluster with reddish lighting will be available as an option on EX models with a new ‘message centre’ digital information display at the bottom of the cluster. This display gives information about average and instant fuel consumption, current fuel level, range-to-empty, average speed, elapsed journey time, engine temperature and low-pressure tyre warnings, as well as door and tailgate ‘open’ alerts.
When the optional rear parking sensors are fitted and reverse gear is engaged, the message centre also displays an overhead plan-view graphic showing the new Sorento in relation to any pedestrians and obstructions.
The centre stack, which features a rugged diagonal garnish that extends rearwards into the centre console, presents heating, ventilation, audio and auxiliary controls in logical horizontal bands, with fine detailing that echoes the appearance of a premium audio system.
Depending on model, the stack features ‘Negative LCD’ illumination which brings a reddish glow to the cabin interior. As an option, this can be augmented by reddish ‘mood lighting’ in the front door garnish strips (first featured on the Kia Mohave/Borrego model not sold in Europe) and reflects Kia’s developing design identity.
The new Sorento can be equipped with a six or eight-speaker audio system, with MP3, USB and iPod connectivity, plus a built-in or external amplifier. The standard six-speaker audio system features a 6.5-inch speaker in each door and a 1-inch tweeter at each end of the dashboard. This standard audio features Kia’s innovative ‘PowerBase’ technology – first seen on the Soul. This system employs psychoacoustic audio technology to overcome the inherent challenges of an in-car sound system – small speakers, harsh environment and obstacles within the interior – and deliver concert hall quality sound with lively reproduction of bass tones.
The 8-speaker system adds an external amplifier, centre speaker mounted in the dash top and a single woofer in the cargo bay side trim. Remote controls for the audio system are mounted on the steering wheel.
Later next year, new Sorento will become available with an all-new AVN (audio visual navigation) system with a 6.5-inch screen, Bluetooth and voice recognition.
The standard (manual) air-conditioning features air vents in the B-Pillars to cool second row occupants and there are floor level heating ducts for the third row passengers. Dual-zone air-conditioning and independent air-conditioning for the third row seats will be available, as will a Cluster Ioniser system to further enhance cabin air quality.
Other high-tech ‘comfort & convenience’ features available include key-less entry with an engine ‘start’ button, and a two-piece panoramic glass sunroof.
The New Sorento’s interior can be trimmed in one of two standard fabrics – Steel Black (one-tone) and Splendour Beige (two-tone) or in the optional leather, also in a choice of two colours. These two optional ‘colour packs’ feature Brown Leather (with Bright Woodgrain trim on the dashboard and door trims) and Black & Ivory Leather (with Carbon Inserts on the dashboard and door trims).
PRACTICALITY & STORAGE
Versatile seating for seven and more cabin space for all
The longer bodyshell created for the new Sorento ensures that the cabin is much more spacious than the current model, with seating in three rows for up to seven people. Occupants in all three seat rows benefit from greater legroom or headroom, or both. Legroom is increased by 27 mm (second row), headroom is increased by 14 mm (front) and 1 mm (second row) and shoulder room is 10 mm (front) and 7 mm (second row) larger.
With its stretched cabin, new Sorento is a genuine seven-seater with much more space for occupants seated in the (optional) third row, making it ‘best-in-class’ for accommodating the sixth and seventh occupants. Headroom is increased by 64 mm (to 906 mm) and legroom by 102 mm (to 795 mm) – compared to the previous model.
Access to the cabin is also improved as the ‘hip-point’ for the front and second row seats is lowered by 37 mm, the cabin floor is lowered by 32 mm and the second row near-side seats ‘double-fold’ to allow easier entry and exit for third row passengers.
Every new Sorento driver will be able to create the ideal driving environment thanks to the multi-adjustable seat, with a 46.5 mm height adjustment range, and the height-adjustable (+/- 20 mm) steering wheel, with (+/- 15 mm) reach adjustment on EX models. The fore/aft range of seat travel has been increased by 25 mm to better accommodate the tallest of drivers. All drivers should also benefit from the change to a floor-mounted, organ-type throttle pedal for smoother operation and enhanced crash safety.
Powered front seats will be available, with electric adjustment of the cushion height (front and rear independently) and lumbar support, plus the regular fore/aft and backrest angle adjustments. Depending on individual markets, the front seats can be specified with heated cushions and backrests.
For maximum versatility when accommodating people and cargo, the new Sorento’s second row seat is split 60/40 and the optional third row seat is split 50/50. These seats’ backrests fold almost flat to extend available trunk space. The second row folds down to 9 degrees and the third row to 2.5 degrees.
Luggage space in New Sorento is among the ‘best-in-class’ as cargo capacity is increased by 15%, thanks to moving the tailgate back by 70 mm. When using the vehicle as a five-seater, with the third row seats folded down (where fitted), total capacity is now 531 litres (VDA method) – 96 litres more than the previous model. Cargo capacity with all seats upright in the 7-seater is 111 litres, and a massive 1525 litres when both the third and second row seats are folded down.
Cabin storage space has also been boosted with a redesigned and much larger centre console that has a 15.9 litre capacity – a 10.1 litres (174%) increase over the previous Sorento.
The twin cup-holders (one large, one medium), are positioned in tandem alongside the gear selector, to create room for the new console. Additional storage spaces include the large glovebox, an illuminated lower tray in the centre stack and four door pockets. The second row seat also features a folding centre armrest with twin cup-holders.
Interior Dimensions Comparison (mm)
All-new Sorento Difference Previous Sorento
Row 1 996 – 12 1008
Row 2 995 + 1 994
Row 3 906 + 64 842
Row 1 1048 – 34 1082
Row 2 955 + 27 928
Row 3 795 + 102 693
Row 1 1506 + 10 1496
Row 2 1491 + 7 1484
Row 3 1366 —- —-
Row 1 1431 —- —-
Row 2 1421 —- —-
Row 3 1128 —- —-
Skilful structural and aerodynamic engineering minimises NVH
During the design and engineering process to create New Sorento, Kia’s research and development team prioritised achieving a major improvement in the vehicle’s refinement and minimising its NVH (noise, vibration and harshness). An excellent foundation for creating a vehicle with good NVH qualities is a stiff unitary bodyshell structure and the new Sorento features a much higher percentage (70.4%) of high-tensile strength steel compared to the previous model (40%).
Significant improvements to the all-new bodyshell include reinforced engine bay front side members, tougher longitudinal front floor members, plus more rigid joints between the dashboard bulkhead and the floor and stiffer rear wheel housings. The use of 60 kg grade high-tensile steel in the B-pillars and both the floor and roof cross-members linking them, plus the side sills and side header rails, is a key factor in creating the stiffer structure.
The new bodyshell design was evolved alongside new designs for front and rear subframes that allow the engine and front suspension and the rear suspension to be precisely mounted from beneath the vehicle during assembly. These subframes also enable engineers to isolate the cabin and its occupants from both road shocks and from vibrations generated by those components.
Other measures taken to reduce NVH include lining the engine bay bulkhead with all-new, three-layer, noise-lowering materials and injecting sound-dampening foam into the hollow sections of the bodyshell at key noise-transference points.
Further noise-reducing actions include the creation of a more streamlined bodyshell with an aerodynamic drag figure of Cd 0.38, the use of 4 mm thick glass in the front side windows, the optimised shaping of the A-Pillar and door mirror housing to minimise wind noise, and the fitting of improved seals to the doors, especially at sill-level, and to the windows.
The results are idle noise levels of 38 dB (gasoline) and 44 dB (diesel), while cabin noise during a 110 kph (68 mph) cruise is 64 dB.
All-new ‘R’ diesel and upgraded gasoline powerunit
Ultimately, Kia’s all-new Sorento will be manufactured in Korea with up to five different engines to meet the needs of motorists in the home market and in every region of the globe. Reacting to market forces and consumer trends, Kia has downsized some of the engines available for new Sorento – the gasoline V6 shrinks from 3.8 to 3.5-litres and the 2.5-litre diesel is replaced by an all-new 2.2-litre unit – while improving the efficiency of all the powertrains.
For 2009, customers in Western European markets will be offered the choice of a 2.4-litre gasoline unit, which embodies major improvements, and an all-new 2.2-litre diesel engine from the next-generation clean diesel ‘R’ family. In 2010 a new 2.0-litre version of the ‘R’ diesel engine will also be available.
174 ps Theta gasoline engine blends power with economy
Kia’s revised 2.4-litre ‘Theta II’ engine is fitted with upgraded electronics and low-friction components, while also featuring lighter construction. It delivers more power, improved durability, enhanced refinement and reduced fuel consumption and emissions. This DOHC four-cylinder 2349 cc powerunit has dual CVVT (continuously variable valve timing for both the intake and exhaust valves), four valves per cylinder and features weight-saving all-aluminium construction with a cast aluminium block, cylinder head and sump. Maximum rpm is raised by 200 to 6000 rpm, and maximum power output is 174 ps, with 225 Nm of peak torque at a commendably low 3750 rpm.
Special Theta II features include a ‘silent’ timing chain, a single ‘serpentine’ rubber belt to run the ancillaries, a catalytic converter integrated into the exhaust system to release more power, DLC coated mechanical lash adjusters, redesigned exhaust ports that reduce exhaust gas temperature and improve fuel efficiency at high-speeds and a vibration damping balancer shaft.
Powered by the Theta engine, the new Sorento accelerates to 100 kph (62 mph) in 10.5 seconds (manual) and 11.1 seconds (automatic) and attains a top speed of 190 kph (118 mph).
New ‘R’ diesel demonstrates world-class Kia engineering skills
The all-new ‘R’ family of turbo-diesel engines proves that Kia’s engineering capabilities are indeed world-class. Ultimately, this family will include several different capacities, but the first unit to reach the European marketplace is the 2.2-litre, 197 ps engine featured in the new Sorento.
This new engine comfortably out-performs most four-cylinder and many V6 diesel units from rival brands, while complying with Euro5 emissions standards. The R2.2 engine benefits from a third generation common-rail fuel system with piezo-electric injectors that deliver diesel at high pressure (1800-bar) with an unprecedented degree of accuracy and control.
Outstanding features of the R2.2 engine include: all-aluminium construction, an electronic VGT (variable geometry turbocharger), an advanced ECU (engine control unit) with a 32-bit microprocessor, a new high-efficiency EGR (exhaust gas recirculation system) with cooler and bypass valve, a chain-driven DOHC 16-valve intake/exhaust system with needle-roller bearings and hydraulic lash adjusters, a balancer shaft and a close-coupled DPF (diesel particulate filter) installed in the engine.
Like the new Sorento’s gasoline engines, the diesel also feature numerous weight-saving plastic components such as the intake manifold with swirl control valves, cylinder head cover and oil filter housing. The R2.2 generates a maximum of 197 ps and 436 Nm of torque from just 1,800 rpm. For use with a manual transmission, the engine is re-tuned to produce 421 Nm.
When fitted with the R2.2 diesel, the new Sorento outperforms the 2.4 Theta-engined car, reaching 100 kph (62 mph) from standstill in 9.4 seconds (manual) and 9.7 seconds with the automatic transmission.
TRANSMISSIONS & DRIVETRAINS
New 6-speed gearboxes, plus choice of 2WD or 4WD systems
New Sorento buyers will be offered a choice of transmissions and drivetrains – depending on model. In Europe, every model will feature a six-speed transmission (manual or automatic) and all will be fitted with ‘high’ top gear ratios for reduced engine revs and improved fuel economy when cruising at higher speeds.
Both the six-speed transmissions are new or upgraded. Developed primarily with European markets in mind, the six-speed manual transmission will be manufactured in two versions with different torque capacities for use with either the gasoline or diesel engines.
Both these six-speed manual transmissions feature multi-cone synchronisation, optimised gear design, reduced weight, enhanced efficiency, reduced power loss, an optimised differential casing and enhanced durability up to 300,000 kilometres and they are filled with low-viscosity oil. Both are maintenance-free units requiring no servicing during the life of the vehicle.
All-new, world-class six-speed automatic transmission
New Sorento introduces Kia’s all-new, innovative six-speed automatic transmission – the most compact six-speed unit currently available anywhere in the world. This unit has 62 fewer parts than a five-speed unit, is 54 mm shorter, weighs 12 kilos less and boosts fuel economy by up to 12%. Part of the improved fuel economy results from the innovative ‘Neutral Control’ which automatically shifts the transmission from ‘D’ to ‘N’ whenever the car is stopped for more than a few seconds – reducing engine load.
The new six-speed automatic features a unique layout which enables it to be smaller, more compact and lighter than any other six-speed automatic on the market today. Like the six-speed manual, it is a ‘filled for life’ maintenance-free unit requiring no servicing during its lifetime.
The transmission is a regular ‘torque converter’ automatic, but it incorporates a unique ‘flat’ torque converter, which accounts for 12 mm of the (54 mm) reduction in the unit’s overall length, and features three planetary gearsets and four pinion differentials. A clever redesign of the hydraulic pressure control unit allows the transmission’s eight solenoid valves to be individually calibrated at the vehicle assembly plant, to ensure ultra-fast, smooth and precise gearshifts throughout the engine speed range.
In the cabin, a gate-type shift pattern offers the driver a choice of two operating modes. For town driving, fully automatic mode delivers all the usual benefits. For greater driver involvement, sport mode allows clutch-less sequential manual gear changes – up or down, one ratio at a time.
With this transmission the Hyundai-Kia Group joins an elite group of just three automotive manufactures (Toyota and a GM/Ford joint venture), which have designed, developed and built their own six-speed automatic transmissions.
Customer choice of 2WD and 4WD Drivetrains
New Sorento buyers can select from two advanced drivetrains (2WD or 4WD), to ‘best-match’ the on-road and off-road abilities of their new Kia vehicle to their individual lifestyle. The 2WD drivetrain offers lower weight (60 kg less than the 4WD system), and enhanced fuel economy and delivers good on-road traction, aided by the standard-fit TCS (traction control system) linked to the vehicle’s ABS.
For buyers who regularly face difficult driving conditions, tow trailers (weighing up to 2,500 kilos, depending on model) or go off-road, the 4WD drivetrain will be ideal.
This is a single ratio (High) 4WD system, with a default status that delivers 100% of engine torque to the front wheels during all routine city and highway driving. While in this two-wheel drive mode, fuel efficiency is enhanced compared to 4WD motoring. Whenever a front wheel loses grip a percentage of torque is automatically transferred to the rear wheels to maintain forward motion.
For improved traction and greater safety while driving in slippery conditions – such as rain, snow, mud, unpaved roads and off-road – the driver can manually select ‘Lock Mode’. This mode splits the torque 50/50 between the front and rear axles – for better stability and maintains that split up to a speed of 30 kph (18.5 mph).
Traction is also boosted by the available HAC (Hill-start Assist Control) which prevents slipping backwards, and DBC (Down-hill Brake Control) which limits vehicle speed to just 8 kph (5 mph) during steep descents.
SUSPENSION & RUNNING GEAR
Improved on-road performance, retained off-road capability
Determined to give the new Sorento a sophisticated ride/handling balance to rival the best vehicles in its SUV class, Kia chassis engineers worked hard to ensure that this new Kia also gives precise and rewarding responses to driver inputs.
For the new Sorento the suspension engineer’s brief was to shift the handling bias a little to improve the on-road driving experience, in terms of ride quality and steering ‘feel’ – while retaining the vast majority of the previous model’s off-road abilities. The suspension has been lowered by 10 mm, front and rear. Thanks to the new unitary (monocoque) bodyshell construction the centre of gravity has been lowered by 54 mm. Depending on model, the front/rear weight distribution of the unladen vehicle ranges from 58/42% to 59.5/40.5%.
The Double Wishbone front suspension of the previous model makes way for lighter, less expensive and much more compact MacPherson struts. These are mounted on a lightweight hydro-formed subframe. The subframe mountings and the rubber bushes throughout the suspension have been firmed up to deliver a more sporty ride and better steering ‘feel’ – without affecting ride smoothness and without transmitting vibrations into the cabin.
At the rear, the ‘live-axle’ of the previous model is ditched in favour of an all-new fully independent multi-link suspension, also mounted on a subframe. The coil springs are realigned to reduce side-loads and friction, and automatic self-levelling is available as an option on both LX and EX models to compensate for varying people and cargo loads.
Although the handling bias has shifted towards on-road motoring, the new Sorento will still be a capable off-road performer. The approach angle is 25.1 degrees, the departure angle 23.1 degrees and the ramp-over angle 17.1 degrees.
For precise vehicle control and good ‘feel’ the new Sorento’s steering uses a speed-sensitive hydraulically power-assisted rack-and-pinion system. For the new model, the steering gear ratio has been raised to 15.35:1 (from 17.6:1), and the steering is now more direct (12.8% faster), requiring just 3.02 turns of the wheel lock-to-lock, compared to 3.7 turns for the previous model.
For maximum stopping power, all new Sorento models are equipped with an all-disc braking system. In Europe, 321 mm diameter ventilated front discs are fitted, while the rear braking system features 302 mm solid discs. ABS anti-lock and EBD brake-force distribution systems are fitted as standard.
5-Star rating, with advanced ‘active’ & ‘passive’ systems
Kia Motors puts the safety of people using its products as a top priority and invests heavily in R&D to ensure its cars and vehicles are designed and equipped to achieve the highest levels of ‘active’ and ‘passive’ occupant protection.
New Sorento is the third Kia to be awarded a 5-Star Euro NCAP safety rating, following this accolade’s presentation to the Kia cee’d and Kia Soul. Kia’s latest SUV recorded remarkable scores of 87% (Adult), 84% (Child), 44% (Pedestrian) and 71% (Safety Assist) in the testing system’s four categories.
Buyers of New Sorento are presented with a range of state-of-the-art systems and equipment as standard or as options – depending on market – to ensure that owning and driving this all-new SUV will be a safe and enjoyable experience.
Active safety technologies that the new Sorento buyers can specify include ESC, HAC, DBC, TPMS (Tyre Pressure Monitoring System) and rear parking sensors, plus several systems to boost braking performance during extreme conditions.
ESC is fitted as standard in Europe. It is a proven accident-reducing system much praised by the Euro NCAP organisation, which will be compulsory for new cars sold in Europe from the end of 2011. Sensors monitor the vehicle’s progress and then reduce engine power and/or apply individual brakes to correct understeer or oversteer and mitigate possible roll-over situations, by ensuring that the car follows the course intended by the driver.
HAC (Hill-start Assist Control) prevents slip-back during stop-start driving when climbing inclines, while DBC (Downhill Brake Control) maintains a steady 8 kph (5 mph) speed on steep descents. Both systems are standard-fit in Europe.
A TPMS (Tyre Pressure Monitoring System) will also be available as an option on EX models. Air pressure sensors within each tyre transmit the tyre’s status every three minutes to the instrument cluster display – alerting the driver to ‘low pressure’ if any tyre suffers a pressure drop of more than 25 %.
During reversing, the optional rear parking sensors help to avoid contact with pedestrians and other vehicles. It uses four ultrasonic sensors to accurately detect obstructions behind the car. An audible warning is also triggered, the sound intensifying in both volume and frequency as the car moves closer to the obstruction.
Reversing is made even safer by the availability of a new KRSC (Kia Reversing Safety Camera) mounted on the tailgate. This camera is fitted with a 130 degree wide-angle lens and transmits images to a 3.5-inch LCD display panel set within the cabin’s auto-dimming rear view mirror. The system, which only operates when reverse gear is selected, enables the driver to check the rear view and the blind spot below the rear window simultaneously, in the rear view mirror.
In addition, EBD (Electronic Brake-force Distribution) monitors the car’s load – the combined weight of occupants and cargo – and adjusts the front/rear distribution of the braking pressure to maximise stopping power.
Good visibility is an important aspect of safe motoring and the new Sorento EX can be ordered with the optional HID (high intensity discharge) headlamps. These lamps, which feature automatic self-levelling, have 2.5 times the power of regular halogen lamps and four times the bulb life, while also being 30% more efficient.
Maximising protection with ‘passive’ safety technology
As well as improving refinement and NVH, the new Sorento’s robust bodyshell structure delivers real passive safety benefits with increased impact resistance. Using a much higher percentage (70.4%) of high-tensile strength steel the new vehicle achieves excellent rigidity and strength.
Particular attention was paid to the B-pillar areas, with a roll-over hoop incorporated into the B-pillars, and much stronger (60 kg grade) steel is used in the side sills and the floor cross members. Additional side-impact protection is provided by re-designed interior door trim panels with broader, flatter areas to minimise injuries to the pelvis during a side-impact.
The new Sorento bodyshell was designed to achieve the top-score 5-Star rating in Europe’s Euro NCAP (and did exactly that…) and in the USA’s current official NHTSA crash tests – plus a ‘Good’ rating (again the top-score) in IIHS tests for both frontal and side impacts.
Inside, the new Sorento can be equipped with up to six airbags as standard – depending on the market. Dual front airbags, dual front side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags (linked to rollover sensors as well as impact sensors) offer head protection to all occupants.
As standard on all models, both front seats are equipped with ‘active’ head restraints. These move forwards during a rear impact to minimise movement of the occupants’ heads and protect them against whiplash injuries.