Many growing families or multi-generational households would do well with a proper seven-seater but there are some who resist a van-like Multi-Purpose Vehicle (MPV) at all costs because it doesn’t reflect their sense of style or adventure.
Fortunately, genuine alternatives can be found in the form of Sport Utility Vehicles (SUVs) such as the Kia Sorento. For starters, it features three rows of seats that will easily accommodate seven occupants. There may be other brands that claim similar seating capacity but this Korean car easily outclasses most of them when it comes to legroom. Additionally, there’s still sufficient luggage space for a road trip even when all three rows are in place.
For an added dash of style and sportiness, the Sorento GT Line features 19-inch alloy wheels, LED headlamps, side steps and exclusive GT Line red brake callipers among other enhancements.
The Kia Sorento not only looks the part of a 4x4 but is one of the few models in the market that actually has the hardware to give its rugged styling some credibility. The Dynamax AWD for example, is an intelligent All Wheel Drive system that continuously monitors the driving conditions and sends torque to the wheels with the most traction. This gives the Sorento incredible stability when cornering and eliminates oversteer and understeer by controlling the precise amount of power each wheel needs. In low load conditions, it can even redistribute power between the wheels for lower fuel consumption.
Additionally, the Kia Sorento comes with the Hill-Start Assist Control (HAC) that prevents the car from rolling back when the driver’s foot transfers from the brake to the accelerator pedal when moving off from an incline. There’s also Downhill Brake Control to help the driver negotiate steep and slippery downward angles.
The notion that SUVs are gas guzzlers is now a thing of the past with the latest models in the market. The Kia Sorento for instance, is powered by a 2.2-litre turbodiesel engine. It makes an impressive 441Nm of torque between 1,750-2,750rpm. This translate to effortless acceleration even when loaded with passengers. Yet, it is also capable of returning a fuel consumption average of just 6.2-litres per 100km.
Complementing its clean diesel engine is an eight-speed automatic gearbox that makes quiet, relaxed cruising possible while the paddle shifters are always ready to give the driver instant access to lower gears if quicker acceleration is needed. The performance characteristics of the Kia Sorento can be further tailored with the Drive Mode Select function that allows for Eco, Normal, Sport or Smart modes. The latter is designed to understand and anticipate the driver’s steering preferences, automatically switching between the first three modes. This enables the Sorento to adapt to the driver’s steering behaviour as road conditions change, pre-empting the driver’s preference for different speeds and driving environments.
The Kia Sorento might seem like a big and powerful car, but it also comes with a myriad of creature comforts and convenience features. If you walk up to the tailgate with armfuls of luggage or groceries, the Smart Power Tailgate system will detect that the Smart Key is nearby (in your pocket or handbag) and open automatically. Your preferred opening height can also be pre-set to accommodate lower garage ceilings or for an easier reach.
Parking this sizable SUV is no problem either thanks to the Smart Parking Assist System (SPAS) that steers the Kia Sorento automatically for both parallel and perpendicular parking.This advanced system utilizes a network of external cameras and sensors to monitor the surrounding environment, enabling the Kia Sorento to park itself in parallel or perpendicular spaces where the driver only needs to control the brakes.
The auto hold function that comes with the electronic parking brake can also take a lot of stress out of driving in heavy start-stop traffic so the driver does not have to keep applying pressure on the brake pedal to keep the car from creeping forward.
The Kia Sorento is also designed to take care of the occupants as much as the driver. For starters, the panoramic sunroof makes for an airy ambience and gives a commanding view out while second-row power sockets are ever ready to charge multiple mobile devices. Sunshade blinds for the second row and air-con vents in all three rows promise to beat the heat and keep everyone aboard cool and comfortable.
The best way to experience the Kia Sorento is to get into one of course, and you will find that the build quality and feel are easily a match for its pricier Continental competitors.