Comparing this Sorento to its predecessor is like comparing an iPod and a phonograph: they’re both designed to do the same thing but there’s little profit to be gained from further examination of their relationship.

 

Matt Saunders Autocar

Matt Saunders

Road test editor
Styling is a world apart from the original ladder-frame Sorento

If you look at its monocoque construction, multi-link rear suspension, standard six-speed automatic gearbox or state-of-the-art engine, this flagship Sorento appears to have rather more in common with upmarket SUVs from premium European brands. And of course this is precisely how Kia would like you to think of it.

 

Like many of them, it’s not a serious off-roader. There’s no transfer box and therefore no low ratio, and while approach and departure angles of 25deg and 23deg respectively are reasonable figures, the breakover angle of 17deg seriously limits where it can go without beaching or damaging itself.

 

A Defender it ain’t. But nor is it fair to call it a soft-roader with nothing other than all-wheel drive to keep it going in the rough. You can lock the centre differential to fix the front-to-rear torque split at 50/50 and hill descent control is standard.

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Impressively, not only does the Sorento come with a six-speed auto but it’s also one of Hyundai/Kia’s own design rather than a bought-in, off-the-shelf item. Smaller, lighter and less mechanically complex than the five-speeder it replaces, the new transmission boosts fuel consumption by up to 12 percent, according to Kia.

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