Amid all the fashion models and concept cars at the Paris motor show, Kia's new, third-generation Sorrento sports utility vehicle, brought a refreshing sense of reality.
Designed for families on the move who need space, the seven-seater promises improved ride, handling and crash safety and a higher quality interior and design. Kia says it features a higher level of sophistication than the present model.
The Korean company's European design team, based in Frankfurt, is behind the move upmarket. A spokesman says: 'A higher proportion of soft-touch materials and leather creates a modern luxury feel to the cabin and premium vehicle ambience.' Buyers will be offered a menu of safety technologies, including a lane departure warning system, which audibly alerts drivers who stray from the chosen lane without using indicators.
A blind-spot detection system flashes a warning in the door mirror when another car is in the driver's blind spot, and rear cross-traffic alert warns against other cars driving behind the vehicle in a car park.
There's also a feature once found only in limos — the speed limit is displayed on the dashboard console, constantly relayed from onboard cameras that read roadside signs.
Its second row of seats can split several ways and can slide away to allow easier access to the third. All passengers are promised more legroom and greater baggage space. There's also a 'smart' power tailgate. A spokesman says: 'This system opens the tailgate automatically when the key is sensed close to the boot, so owners can put shopping bags or heavy objects straight into the vehicle.' A new soundproofing material for the transmission tunnel and a 29 per cent thicker panel combine to help cut cabin noise by 3 to 6 per cent, depending on the driving conditions.
Three engines are available, including a 2.4-litre petrol direct injection (GDI) and two turbodiesel engines — two-litre and 2.2-litre.
However, UK models on sale next spring from around £40,000 will be available only with the 2.2 CRDi engine. The UK version has also been designed to give a softer ride over bumps to reduce the stress and possible discomfort on long journeys.
Kia is on a bit of a roll, enjoying its best ever September UK sale
Kia is on a bit of a roll, enjoying its best ever September UK sales. It delivered 13,292 new cars, taking the total so far this year to 62,538 — more than 7 per cent up on 2013. It aims to surpass its 2014 target of 78,000.
Its biggest seller, the Sportage, had almost 3,500 buyers, followed by the Picanto, Cee'd, Rio and Venga. More than half of customers (56 per cent) are private buyers.
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