Kia Ireland started in Ireland ten years ago this year and in that time have become a very recognisable brand. They have also managed to keep themselves in the top ten of the sales chart for the last few years thanks to having a very strong line-up of cars. The Sorento adds a new layer to that strength.
Before the recession the Sorento made up around 25% of all Kia sales because people wanted an alternative to the Toyota Land Cruiser. The first faller of the crash was the big engine and along with it the Sorento, the change in the Motor Tax system brought in by the Green Party in 2008 also played a large role in killing the SUV as most of them were in the higher tax band.
Things have come full circle for the large SUV market as sales are up again and, we are told, confidence is returning to the market. The new Sorento will cost just €390 a year to tax which is a far cry from the couple of grand it would have cost.
The new Sorento is lower, longer and wider than previous models, this allows more room in the back seat for three and there’s a seven seat version that still has a boot. The exterior is more rounded with Kia’s ‘Tiger nose’ design on the front it does make it a little brash but it’s still an appealing car to look at.
It’s the interior where most of the changes have happened; the dashboard has become a soft touch affair with the lines extending right through the doors. It does have a luxury feeling especially in cream colour, there’s a look of Range Rover about it and that’s no bad thing.
On the road the Sorento is soft and comfortable, there’s a certain ease as it potters along. It does feel big on the road, but you can see the bonnet from any seating position so parking outside the local school while blocking the road should be a problem.
The prices start at €38,995 for the EX 2WD that comes with five seats 17” alloys, rear privacy glass and a 7” Sat Nav with reversing camera. The one Kia expect to sell most of is the Platinum which starts at €43,995 which has all the above spec and adds panoramic sunroof, Xenon lights, leather and heated (front and 2nd row rear ) seats .heated steering wheel, 8 way power adjustable driver’s seat. If you need an automatic there’s the €49,500 range topping Platinum auto that comes with an electronic parking brake and 18” wheels.
I rather like the new look of the Sorento, the dash layout is very nice and the spec is high for the money. It’s arriving in dealers this week so it shouldn’t take long before we see it on the road.
More on the Kia Sorento when I have a full test later in the year.