Just like a mastiff, the fourth generation Kia Sorento looks and behaves, a huge, loyal friend who attracts the eye, but who, when needed, protects you when traffic conditions get complicated. In the test, the hybrid version with all-wheel drive Kia Sorento 1.6 T-GDI HEV 4 × 4. Photo: Bogdan Paraschiv
Assuming you are not familiar with dog breeds, let me explain. The mastiff, whether we are talking about the Tibetan, the English or any other breed, is one of the largest, unperturbed, loyal and full of personality dogs in the world. This is exactly how the new Sorento is! Sure, it’s not a big SUV, it’s a medium one, but look at it and tell me you’re putting it on the same footing as the SEAT Tarraco and the Peugeot 5008. In reality, Sorento has become so Americanized that it looks more imposing than any other rival.
Kia Sorento 1.6 T-GDI HEV 4 × 4 – exterior
In fact, it’s not about size, because the fourth generation has grown by an inch in
each direction from the previous one. It’s about the aggressiveness of the design, which combines the dynamics of oblique touches with the robustness of a brick. The Koreans have enlarged the “tiger nose” front grille to the extreme and incorporated full-LED headlights with three optical elements at the ends. Then, they pushed the rear windshield mounts 3 inches, drew a highly submerged third side window, added a sharp aileron, and rims up to 20 inches (for the first time), in an attempt to create a dynamic silhouette. And they completed the design with a pair of Mustang-flavored vertical taillights. If the description seems heterogeneous, the result is damn homogeneous and pleasing to the eye!
Inside, the ruggedness of the off-roader has diluted a bit in the sea of fine materials and technologies typical of premium models. Kia says of the new Sorento that it is the most advanced house model ever built. The truth is that, surrounded by physical buttons and icons, rotary selectors and screens, I felt a little overwhelmed in the first instance. Then, as I set my profile on the multimedia system and understood the philosophy of the Koreans, everything went smoothly. To avoid the congestion of orders and, implicitly, confusions, the designers preferred to distribute buttons in key areas, a strategy that allows natural operation after a short period of accommodation and which I appreciate infinitely more than burying essential commands in the system menu. multimedia.
Speaking of infotainment, the new Kia Sorento 1.6 T-GDI HEV comes, starting with the second level of equipment, Activ, with a 12.3-inch digital instrument panel and a 10.25-inch multimedia screen. If the instrument cluster is not configurable, but only changes its appearance according to the driving modes, the Home screen of the central touch display can be divided into three areas, which can display any information chosen by the driver.
Admittedly, it takes some time to adjust to the system, to configure it to your own tastes, but after that, the intuitive, graphical menu greatly simplifies operation. Two phones can be connected simultaneously via bluetooth, and up to seven USB jacks provide power for mobile devices! Stop researching, it’s a unique case in the segment.
Little tricks you end up loving have been sprinkled around the cabin, such as gifts in the children’s room –
USB plugs on the backs of the seats, controls for adjusting the electric seats accessible to the rear passengers, air diffusers segmented into two separately adjustable elements… This giant is full of surprises! Nappa leather aroma and the comfort of electric chairs cost 2817 euros, but the rest of the materials are standard and pleasing both to the eye and to the touch. Less the infamous Piano Black, on which fingerprints remain and which get fine scratches over time.
The space is vast, regardless of the criteria. As a standard, the seat offers three seats and is adjustable in two segments, both longitudinally (45 mm apart) and as the backrest tilt. But optionally, you can choose two individual seats instead of the bench, a solution with premium notes, impossible to meet with rivals. Passengers in the second row enjoy everything they could want, from heated seats and cooler holders in the door and center armrests to soft materials everywhere and curtains on the side windows.
You can also opt for two folding seats in the trunk, but my copy came in the standard configuration, with five seats. Instead, he brought me 697 liters of luggage space and buttons for folding the seat on the sides of the trunk, and the “self-leveling” suspension promised to keep the ground clearance, no matter how much I load the car. I believed it and got behind the wheel to see how the only average hybrid SUV in Europe moves.
The hybrid system
You can also order it with front-wheel drive, at prices starting with 45,458 euros, but I received the all-wheel drive version. The main part under the hood is the well-known 1.6-liter gasoline engine, but which received the new CVVD variable distribution system, which promises low consumption by 5% and dynamic performance in progress by 4%. It is a revolutionary technology, which varies the opening time of the intake valves, not only the time and depth of opening. The petrol engine is assisted by a surprisingly powerful electric one for a hybrid system, of 60 HP and 264 Nm. In total, 230 hp and 350 Nm fight the two tons of the car.
By rotating the rotary selector mounted on the central tunnel, you can choose one of the three driving modes (Eco, Sport and Smart), and by pressing it, you get access to the three programs dedicated to difficult terrain (Mud, Snow and Sand). I chose Eco for urban routes and I got a consumption that varied greatly depending on traffic. If you get over blockages and go a lot at low speeds, the electric motor is able to propel the car on its own, and consumption can fall below 7 l / 100 km. As soon as the traffic through the city is released, the 60 hp no longer keep pace, but can only replace the gasoline engine, and consumption can increase up to 10 l / 100 km. Most often, however, you have values of 8–9 l / 100 km, decent for the mass and size of the car.
Comfort and dynamics
With 19-inch wheels, you can still rely on good bump filtering. In addition, the noises are kept masterfully away from the ears of passengers. The body feels cohesive and does not “work” when crossing the tram rails. Koreans even say it has a torsional strength 12.5% higher than the safest model in the segment and that the use of high-alloy steels has lost weight by 21.3% compared to the previous generation. I can’t contradict them, but just to add that, despite the large size, the visibility is good, and when maneuvering, the panoramic camera system allows the exact determination of the distance from obstacles. And if you ignore the sensor warnings, you wake up with the brake applied automatically, so that it goes well in your head that there is no room for mistakes behind the wheel of the Kia Sorento 1.6 T-GDI HEV!
On the road
Do not soil your pants, because the sills are “covered” by the lower part of the doors. You enjoy a high position behind the wheel, and if you get angry in traffic, you can relax with the sounds of nature prepared by Bose. A real cocoon in the hustle and bustle of traffic, fully supported by the unrealistic fine transitions between electric and petrol propulsion and the imperceptible changes of steps. When the acceleration goes to bed, the 230 hp do not feel completely, but the starts do not disappoint.
The sensation is maintained even at times over 100 km / h, where it seems that the car pulls rather relaxed. It is, however, just an impression created by the excellent soundproofing of the passenger compartment (even the side windows are laminated). A glance at the speedometer reveals the steady increase in pace. Too bad there is no tachometer, which completely cancels the usefulness of the paddles behind the wheel. You can’t change gears without knowing how fast the engine is. Extra-urban consumption varies from 6 l / 100 km when walking relaxed, up to 9–10 l at motorway speeds.
➡ What the future of the Sportage might look like 💡
Don’t be afraid of turns! Although the inertia is high, the roll is well kept under control. However, don’t confuse Sorento with Stinger! Don’t be afraid of difficult terrain either. True, you do not have the ability to manually lock the differentials and activate the speed reducer. But the Mud mode, which I used off-road, knows exactly how to distribute torque to each wheel. It took us safely to the harbor, despite the Continental PremiumContact road tires. Only the large ventral angle, given by the increase in wheelbase by 35 mm, and the moderate ground clearance of 17.5 cm, limit the fun.
An impressive achievement, which runs with the same ease in the city, on the highway and on rough terrain. A sample of technology and quality. A reliable friend, who protects you with a multitude of assistance systems. Well done, Kia!
- Refined hybrid system
- Huge interior space
- Top technique and finishes in the segment
- Surprisingly easy to drive, despite its size
- The driver cannot lock the differentials and activate the speed reducer manually
- The lack of a tachometer makes paddles useless
|TECHNICAL DATA||Kia Sportage|
|Model||1.6 T-GDI HEV 4×4 Premium|
|Engine / no. cylinder||L4, petrol|
|Maximum power / speed (hp / rpm)||180 / 5,500|
|Maximum torque / speed (Nm / rpm)||265 / 1500-4500|
|Maximum power (HP)||60|
|Maximum torque (Nm)||264|
|Maximum power / speed (hp / rpm)||230|
|Maximum torque / speed (Nm / rpm)||350|
|Gearbox||automatic DCT, 6 steps|
|L xlxh (mm)||4810 x 1900 x 1695|
|Ground clearance (mm)||174|
|Empty mass (kg)||1957|
|Luggage compartment volume (l)||697-902 / 2085|
|Acceleration 0-100 km / h (s)||9|
|Top speed (km / h)||193|
|WLTP mixed consumption (l / 100 km)||7.4|
|CO2 emissions (g / km)||167|
|Price (euro with VAT)||53,651|