Johannesburg – Kia has always had a well-priced entry into the Sorento range in the form of the 2.4-litre LS. Problem is, many buyers would have seen its 127kW normally aspirated 2.4-litre petrol engine as too much of a compromise, both in terms of performance and economy.
Now Kia is introducing what looks to be a somewhat sweeter deal. The new 2.2 CRDi LS derivative adds Kia’s meaty (147kW/440Nm) 2.2-litre turbodiesel engine to the equation, along with a six-speed automatic transmission.
Priced at R489 995, the newcomer is just R32 000 more expensive than the 2.4 LS petrol model, but it undercuts the next most affordable diesel model, the LX, by almost R100 000.
So what have they cut to make the saving? As you’d expect with such a large saving, a few luxury features got the chop. The LX model’s dual zone automatic climate control, for instance, makes way for a conventional manual unit with no rear seat ventilation, while cloth replaces leather on the seats and there’s a normal manual parking brake in place of the more luxurious model’s electronic unit. Also gone are the front parking sensors, rear-view camera, electric seat adjustment, heated mirrors, electrochromatic inside mirror and auto light control.
But do you really need all that stuff anyway? Given the price, Kia appears to have come up with a sensible spec sheet that still has all the basic comfort, convenience and entertainment features, including a six-speaker audio system with Aux and USB ports as well as well as Bluetooth connectivity.
Unfortunately Kia has skimped on safety items. While the LS has ABS brakes and dual front airbags, you have to stretch to the LX for side and curtain bags.
Like the LX, the LS is a five-seater – only higher-positioned models offer seating for seven – but it does boast a huge 660-litre boot and the rear seats have a handy 40:20:40 split folding function.
Given its unibody architecture, Kia is positioning the Sorento as a more sophisticated alternative to bakkie-based large SUVs such as the Toyota Fortuner and Chevrolet Trailblazer, which sell in a similar price range. The Sorento LS and LX models are front-wheel driven, while the EX, SX and SXL feature permanent all-wheel drive.
KIA SORENTO PRICES
2.4 (petrol) LS manual 5-Seater – R457 995
2.2 CRDi LS automatic 5-Seater – R489 995
2.2 CRDi LX automatic 5-Seater – R582 995
2.2 CRDi EX automatic 7-Seater – R686 995
2.2 CRDi SX automatic 7-Seater – R713 995
2.2 CRDi SXL automatic 7-Seater – R733 995
Prices include a five-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty and five-year / 100 000km service plan.