New Sorento a touch

of Kia class

Kia Sorento, 2020, front, action
Kia Sorento, 2020, front
Kia Sorento, 2020, side
Kia Sorento, 2020, side, action
Kia Sorento, 2020, rear
Kia Sorento, 2020, rear, off road
Kia Sorento, 2020, dashboard
Kia Sorento, 2020, seats
Kia Sorento, 2020, rear seats
Kia Sorento, 2020, engine
Kia Sorento, 2020, gear selector
Kia Sorento, 2020, camera display
Kia Sorento, 2020, interior
Kia Sorento, 2020, display screen
Kia Sorento, 2020, boot

THE Kia Sorento is coming of age with the arrival of the fourth generation model that's ready for the electric age.

Bigger and more stylish than before with plenty of kit and technology on board, the new Sorento also has a petrol-electric powertrain as well as a diesel option.

It's priced from £38,845 - quite a rise over the previous version - and all but one of the four models available cost more than £40,000.

In fact, the line up tops out at £46,945 but that's a reflection of the sophistication of the latest model.

Since it first appeared back in 2003, the Sorento has been the flagship of Kia's SUV range in the UK and the newcomer is no different.

It takes much of its innovation and style from the even larger Kia Telluride - a car that's not available in Britain - and that has been voted World Car of the Year for 2020.

By British standards the Sorento is big - it measures some 4.8 metres long - and is a seven seater with a generous amount of luggage space.

All but the diesel offering, priced from £41,245, have mild-hybrid power set up and if our first drives are anything to go by the system is nicely economical.

It uses a 1.6 petrol engine mated to an electric motor which combined deliver a total of 226bhp giving more than enough performance with a 0 to 60 time of 8.7 seconds and a maximum of 119mph.

But its on the fuel front where the system scores and on our runs we saw a best average of 44.2 to the gallon, outstripping the official return of 40.9mpg by some margin. Emissions range from 158g/km in entry level 2 grade to 168g/km for top specification level 4 trim.

On paper, the diesel may look more economical with an official fuel figure of 42.2mpg but over a similar route to the mild-hybrid version we saw an average of 38.7 to the gallon. Emissions for the diesel are higher too with it having a CO2 figure of 176g/km.

The diesel is a 2.2-litre which develops 199bhp and that too lacks little in pulling power - towing is up to 2.5 tonnes almost a tonne more than the petrol.

It has an eight-speed automatic gearbox while the petrol versions are six-speed autos. All are four-wheel-drive and come with Kia's latest electronic traction system with specific modes for off-road conditions.

Not only is the new Sorento powered to impress in the large SUV market it is also styled to stand out with nicely crafted angular lines replacing the somewhat rounded look of its predecessor.

The cabin is vastly improved from before and has much more technology including a 12.3-inch multi-function instrument panel as well as a 10.25-inch touchscreen on the centre of the dash on all but the entry level 2 grade.

The 2 grade Sorento does not have sat nav but that's a feature of all other grades which have the Korean car maker's UVO connectivity system as standard which can give live traffic and service information such as fuel prices and parking availability.

All versions are smartly trimmed and although the 2 grade version has cloth upholstery the higher grades have leather trim and all have a sophisticated ambient interior lighting system that apparently has 64 different colour choices.

Space inside is much bigger than before and a sliding middle row of seats has created the option of a great amount of legroom.

There's also more headroom in the back two seats and as a seven seater there's a city car 179 litres of boot space with all seats in use. That goes up to 813 litres as a five seater and a massive 1,996 litres with all rear seats folded.

That's on the hybrids and there's even more room available on the diesel - although the difference is marginal.

A powered tailgate and keyless ignition are features of the higher grade Sorentos and all versions have a good amount of driver assistance equipment.

On the level 4 Sorento the technology is even more impressive and includes a head up display and a high definition blind spot camera display which appears in the instrument panel when traffic approaches.

It's a classy and useful feature and supplements a surround-view camera system which can be seen through the central display panel to assist manoeuvring.

As modern SUVs go the latest Sorento is a class act and a car which embraces all in the sub-£50,000 market.

A plug-in hybrid derivative is on the way to add another string to its bow and that is scheduled to be on the road before the year is out.

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