OF ALL THE stars of this year’s Geneva motor show, a Kia SUV might not be the obvious choice for us to get excited about, but the new Sorento looks to have taken a major step forward.
If this latest set of renderings from Kia are anything to go by, it’ll also introduce a lot of the design cues from both the US-market Telluride and the Seltos compact SUV that has already struck a significant chord with Australian buyers.
The fourth-generation car, codenamed MQ4, looks a good deal more confident, featuring slender rectangular headlamps which flow into a bluffer interpretation of Kia’s signature tiger nose.
It’s a significant departure from the more bulbous third-gen Sorento
Other styling flourishes include a chromed wedge at the C-pillar and tall mirrored tail-light pairs that sit above a horizontally mirrored rear valance and exhaust trim.
The styling is a significant departure from the more bulbous third-gen Sorento that debuted in 2015, but will retain that car’s market position in competition with the likes of Toyota’s Kluger, Mazda’s CX-9 and distant cousin, the Hyundai Santa Fe.
The Sorento runs on a new platform that will be shared with the Carnival people-mover. The Koreans have already completed Australiaspecific suspension and steering calibrations ahead of a third-quarter local on-sale date.
The seven-seater’s platform has been engineered to cater for both hybrid and plug-in hybrid configurations as well as traditional internal-combustion options.
A long-awaited wet-clutch, eightspeed dual-clutch transmission has also been developed for the Sorento (a version of which will find its way into the Hyundai i30 N). Right-hand-drive engine options are said to include a 2.2-litre diesel with DCT and a 2.5-litre Theta 3 petrol in manual and auto forms, both engines offering the choice of two- or all-wheel drive.
The cabin has come in for an upmarket revamp, with a Jaguar-style rotary gear selector, a secondary knurled dial for drive mode selection, plus a 10.25-inch touchscreen and a 12.3-inch digital cluster.