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Kia’s flagship Sorento SUV docks in SA showrooms

  • Cosmetic updates ‘bring fresh appeal’ to flagship
  • Eight-speed auto standard on each model
  • Each has seven seats, turbodiesel engine
2018 KIA SORENTO: Image: Kia Motors Europe
2018 KIA SORENTO: Image: Kia Motors Europe

JOHANNESBURG Gauteng – An enhanced Kia Sorento sport utility vehicle, debuted at the September 2017 Frankfurt auto show, is now in South African  showrooms.

The units, Kia says, have a refreshed and upgraded cabin and ”enriched standard specifications”.

Gary Scott, CEO of Kia Motors SA, told The Corner:  ”The Sorento SUV has been a proud flag-bearer for Kia’s design and quality since the first generation in 2002.

2018 KIA SORENTO: Image: Kia Motors Europe
2018 KIA SORENTO: Image: Kia Motors Europe

“It’s not only won Red Dot and iF design awards but is also a consistent segment leader in the annual JD Power Initial Quality Study.”


The outgoing Sorento, Kia says, had its global debut at the 2014 Paris auto show but reached South Africa only in June the following year. Its ”elegant design” was said to have brought improved build quality and cabin finishes ”to set it apart from largely utility-based competitors”.

”The enhanced Kia Sorento,” Kia says. ”retains its excellent SUV proportions, but, thanks to its mid-life update, now has a tighter, sharper exterior.

”The revised nose has a more artful grille flanked by a new headlights configuration with projector headlights and revised diode daylight running lights (higher specs only).”

2018 KIA SORENTO: Image: Kia Motors Europe
2018 KIA SORENTO: Image: Kia Motors Europe

The frontal revamp is complemented by a new bumper design that houses ”projector-type foglights.


Enhancements to the rear include a new bumper design, sleeker tail lights, and ”a subtly revised tail door” but all units ride on a new design of 18” alloy wheel rims shod with 235/60 R18 rubber.

Every unit has a full-size spare wheel.

”The Sorento ‘s cabin has,”Kia says, ”maintained its upmarket look-and-feel thanks to many upgrades and enhancements, among them a new and more tactile steering-wheel, a new gearshifter, and a revised instrument cluster – graphics improved.”

READ MORE Kia features on Carman’s Corner

The redesign also includes alterations to the air vents and the centre console design, which – in combination – create an ambience that is thoroughly up-to-date (see below).

All derivatives will have seven leather-clad seats.

2018 KIA SORENTO: Image: Kia Motors Europe
2018 KIA SORENTO: Image: Kia Motors Europe

Featuring 40/20/40 second-row split folding seats and armrest, the row can be ‘remotely’ folded by conveniently levers in the side of the cargo bay.

The third row seats can fold flat to avoid compromising cargo / luggage volume. When the seats are folded flat the Sorento has 605 litres cargo volume, an under-floor tonneau cover storage compartment,and a cargo net.

2018 KIA SORENTO: Image: Kia Motors Europe
2018 KIA SORENTO: Image: Kia Motors Europe

As part of the Sorento’s mid-life enhancement, Kia SA has revised the locla model line-up of the local range.


The entry LS, high-spec SX and SXL have been withdrawn from the list, leaving  a mid-spec LX and a mid-high spec EX, each available with either front- or all-wheel drive.

Stephen Crosse, Kia Motors SA’s sales director, explained: ”The Sorento has always had an important role in our SUV line-up but the mid-life enhancement gave us with a great opportunity to focus on the medium SUV space.

“The cosmetic updates endow the Sorento with an even more polished appearance and the new and upgraded specification has improved the model’s value proposition.”

2018 KIA SORENTO: Image: Kia Motors Europe
2018 KIA SORENTO: Image: Kia Motors Europe

The enhanced Sorento LX has a number of standard specifications that include, but are not limited to, dual-zone auto aircon, auto headlights, auto-folding external mirrors, side turn indicators, power windows front and rear, and rear USB ports.

The higher-spec EX model adds auto defogging, illuminated door scuff-plates, rear blinds, power-adjustable front seats (with two-way adjustable lumbar support for the driver), roof rails and a wireless phone charger.

2018 KIA SORENTO: Image: Kia Motors Europe
2018 KIA SORENTO: Image: Kia Motors Europe

All derivatives will have a new 20cm colour touchscreen with embedded satnav through which audio can also be controlled – radio, via the USB/Aux jacks, or through their mobile device via Apple CarPlay (ofAndroid Auto, once released in South Africa). There are six speakers.

Kia has retained the popular 2,2-litre ‘R’ turbodiesel engine for ”excellent” mid- and low-range torque.  It makes 147kW of power at 3800rpm and 440Nm from 1750-2750rpm. A fourth-generation fuel-injection system has reduced fuel consumption and can reach 100km/h in 9.4sec before continuing to 203km/h.

This Sorento is the first Kia SUV to have the latest eight-speed auto transmission. It has four driver-selected drive modes: Eco, Comfort, Sport and Smart. An electric parking brake and cruise control are standard.

Driving and crash protection aids include anti-lock brakes, six crash bags and IsoFix child-seat anchors.

Drivers will benefit from electronic stability  control, parking radar and a reversing camera which displays on the facia touchscreen.

All Sorento units will ship with Kia’s industry-leading unlimited distance, five-year warranty, five-year or 100 000km service plan, and three years’ roadside assistance.


Kia Sorento 2.2 CRDI LX – R550 000
Kia Sorento 2.2 CRDI LX 4×4 – R610 000
Kia Sorento 2.2 CRDI EX – R600 000
Kia Sorento 2.2 CRDI EX 4×4 – R640 000

The enhanced Sorento arrived in dealers’s showrooms on October 22, 2018.

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