by clicking the arrows at the side of the page, or by using the toolbar.
by clicking anywhere on the page.
by dragging the page around when zoomed in.
by clicking anywhere on the page when zoomed in.
web sites or send emails by clicking on hyperlinks.
Email this page to a friend
Search this issue
Index - jump to page or section
Archive - view past issues
The Mercury Cars Guide : July 17th 2010
8--- Classifieds 62 300 400 • carsguide.com.au Saturday, July 17, 2010 PREVIEW Kia Sorento Kia in another dimension Keith Didham DRIVEN This is a classic example of not being able to judge a book by its cover --- or in this case, a brand by just one model. S OME brands are viewed by many buyers as being one dimensional --- for years Holden was known as the Commodore Car Company, something it has shaken off thanks to the success of its Captiva and Epica models. South Korea's Kia has been in the same boat. Mention Kia in passing at a party or around the barbie and the typical response was ''they make small cars, don't they''? Indeed Kia does and it does it very well with its Rio. But Kia is far from being just a cheap and cheerful car company. The factory-owned Australian subsidiary has been kicking some big goals lately with record monthly sales, accolades for the low operating costs of some models while the strong selling Rio has won itself some important green credentials. Kia has come of age and in recent times the brand has diversified to broaden its appeal, especially to younger trendsetters. Look no further than the funky (and let's say) bravely styled shoe box they call the Soul. Kia, a sister brand to Hyundai, also makes a fine people mover in the Carnival which was came out on top in a recent CarsGuide guide to family wagons. Kia also produces a damn fine soft roader wagon. OK, I'm the first to admit that the Sorento probably hasn't yet achieved the same street cred as others in its price bracket like the Ford Territory or Capitva. We have been driving the most popular version of Sorento --- the mid-spec SLi with an on-demand all- wheel drive system --- and came away more than impressed. It ticks the boxes as a quality family wagon with seven seats, it has a two-tonne tow capacity (petrol and diesel auto; 2.5-tonne for manual), and in diesel form at least, has terrific fuel economy. The Sorento's downsides are its ride, which can be annoyingly rigid at times especially on poor urban roads, some of the cabin design (like the awkward positioning of the trip computer button behind the steering wheel) is a work in progress and there's an odd soft feeling to the brakes. The Sorento was reborn last year. The old version was given a sufficient makeover to really make this a new model. The former body- on-frame chassis was replaced with a monocoque design; engine size was downsized to 2.2-litres in the diesel and 2.4 in the petrol but was offset by good gains in economy; the low- range capability was ditched; the styling was sharpened to provide a sleeker, lower profile and importantly the wagon was put on a diet. To broaden its appeal there's even a two-wheel drive version. The result is a wagon which is remarkably quiet, comfortable and cheap to run. The SLi diesel with a six-speed automatic/sequential manual gearbox, sells for $45,990 plus on-road costs. There is a plusher version, the Platinum, at $48,990 but in my book the extra $3000 isn't worth it unless you really need a sunroof, push button start and an upmarket sound system. The SLi works just fine. Two weeks behind the wheel, a mix of highway and urban driving, some easy off-road work plus towing a trailer laden with half a tonne of firewood saw average fuel consumption swing from 8.4l/100km to 12.6l/100km. That gave the Sorento a range of about 800km between fills from the 70-litre tank. There were two things which impressed --- how easy it is to drive and how comfortable it is; more comfortable, especially the driver's seat, than its sister model the Hyundai Santa Fe. Storage space is generous with a deep centre console bin, a decent glove box and door pockets for bottles. With the third row seats folded, the boot space is also generous but it all but disappears when the seats are in use. That's the compromise of a seven seater. Once you climb in, the rear seats are not too bad in the comfort stakes even for adults, unlike some seven seaters I have driven. The SLi comes well packaged as well with dual air conditioning, central locking, electrics for windows and mirrors and a decent audio system all provided along with 18-inch alloy wheels, fog lamps and cruise control. On the safety front it comes with a European five-star crash rating, stability control, six airbags and rear park sensors, plus a much-needed rear facing camera, the display of which is incorporated in the rear view mirror. Hill start and downhill assist add a sense of security when tackling steep slopes. Missing? The obvious ones are Bluetooth and satellite navigation but I'd like to see more 12-volt power outlets and while the leather upholstery gives the wagon a plush feel, seat warmers would remove the shock value of getting into the cabin on a freezing winter's morning. OK, call me soft, but leather is cold and can be sticky hot in summer. Give me cloth upholstery anytime. The Sorento diesel boasts self- levelling suspension and is powered by an excellent 2.2-litre turbo diesel (145kW/436Nm) mated to a six-speed auto with the ability to shift manually when needed, such as towing. There's a little bit of traditional turbo lag off the line, but the diesel is punchy enough and remarkably quiet. Push the wagon along the twisty stuff and it doesn't show any real vices either. The wagon feels balanced and secure. The ride varies from good to choppy depending on the road surface. Interestingly, it is good on gravel but poorly surfaced urban streets can catch it out; its almost if the dampening can't quite keep pace with the drive. This is a soft roader so offroad work is limited by tyres. That said, we took the Sorento places I would normally stop and think about traversing and we didn't once use the centre dif lock. There's much to like about the Sorento. Best of all it comes big on value for money and economy and, what may be surprising to some for a Korean-built vehicle, quality. 281 Main Road, Glenorchy Phone: 6213 3315 Hans Kerkvliet 0411 174 411 Robert Heuke 0438 289 277 $23,990. Drive away. The V240 4x2 Ute -- Leather trimmed seats, airbags, CD/radio, ABS/EBD, air conditioning, electric windows, alloy wheels and a 3-year/100,000km warranty... Great. 4x4 $3,000 extra. Metallic paint $350 extra. The Great Cars of China are here! $23,990. Drive away. The X240 4WD -- Leather trimmed seats, airbags, CD/radio/mp3, ABS, climate control, electric windows/mirrors/driver s seat, alloy wheels and a 3-year/100,000km warranty... Great. Metallic paint $350 extra.
July 10th 2010
July 24th 2010