IT SHOULD have been unveiled to loud fanfares at the Geneva Motor Show in early March, but Coronavirus conspired against that following the cancellation of the event. Now, however, Kia has revealed its all-new Sorento to the world.
Built on an all-new platform, the latest version of the Korean company's range-topping large SUV has a longer wheelbase and, thanks to shorter front and rear overhangs, more interior space with a choice of five or seven seat versions.
Boot space is increased by a whopping 32 per cent too and the company claims that the new Sorento has one of the largest load areas in its class with up to 910 litres of space in the five seat model.
The fourth generation of Kia's flagship SUV is, says the company, its' most high-tech car ever and that new platform means that it will be available with hybrid powertrains for the first time.
The Sorento Hybrid is powered by a new 227bhp electrified powertrain, which pairs a 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine with a 1.49kWh lithium-ion polymer battery pack and 44.2kW electric motor, driving through a six-speed auto transmission. .The battery pack is located under the floor, with minimal impact on cabin or luggage space.
Diesel power remains an option and, initially at least, a new 199bhp, 2.2 litre four-cylinder oil-burner mated to an eight-speed dual clutch auto will be the only other powertrain option. A plug-in hybrid will follow later.
The Korean company claims that the new Sorento's interior represents a step-change in quality and design for Kia cabins and is one of the highest quality interior spaces found in any of its products to-date with premium-quality materials, a suite of advanced technologies and cutting-edge infotainment.
Dependent on model, the cockpit is based around twin digital displays - a 12.3-inch digital driver instrument cluster which is twinned with either an eight inch or 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment and navigation system. A head-up display and mood lighting will also be available as will a Bose premium sound system.
Available safety and convenience technology includes forward collision avoidance with pedestrian, cyclist and vehicle detection, blind-spot and surround view monitors, blind-spot collision-avoidance assist, intelligent speed limit assist, rear view monitor, remote parking assistance and smart cruise control with stop and go.
Buyers can also include autonomous driving technology in the shape of a lane following assistance system which controls acceleration, braking and steering depending on the vehicles in front. The system operates at speeds up to 112mph, using camera and radar sensors to maintain a safe distance from the car in front, while monitoring road markings to keep the car in the centre of its lane.
According to Emilio Herrera, Kia's European chief: "The Sorento's evolution over the last 18 years echoes that of the Kia brand as a whole. While the car was initially launched in 2002 as a utilitarian all-terrain vehicle, the fourth-generation Sorento has been transformed into something altogether more desirable. It is an important model for Kia, particularly now that it also represents the first use of electrified power in our flagship SUV."
Final specifications, full model line-up and prices have yet to be decided but - Coronavirus permitting - Kia hopes to have first examples of the new Sorento in UK dealerships by mid to late summer.