Johannesburg - Kia’s Sorento SUV, which is quite possibly one of the most underrated vehicles on the South African market, has been given a refresh, with updated styling inside and out as well as a rejigged range.

To that end, the entry-level LS models fall away, as do the range-topping SX and SXL derivatives, leaving LX and EX as the only specification grades available.

Although the demise of the entry models makes the Sorento range less accessible, prices of the mid-range models have been reduced. The 2.2 LX for instance, previously cost R599 995 but now sells for R569 995. The EX AWD meanwhile, is down from R706 995 to R639 995.

The disappearance of the LS also means that the 2.4-litre normally aspirated engine option falls away, thus all models are now powered by Kia’s 2.2-litre turbodiesel, rated at 147kW and 440Nm, while a new eight-speed automatic gearbox (with four driving modes) is standard across the range. Buyers still have a choice between front-wheel-drive and permanent all-wheel-drive.

The external facelift sticks to a path of familiarity, but there is a new and more sculpted front bumper as well as a redesigned grille with more chrome brightwork and the headlights have a new inner design, featuring an LED daytime running light strips on upper versions.

There’s also a new bumper at the back while the tail lights and tailgate have been subtly revised. Finally, all models ride on newly designed 18-inch alloy wheels.

Design changes to the cabin are even subtler, but they do include a redesigned steering wheel, gear lever and instrument cluster.

All models now feature seven seats as standard, and now upholstered in leather across the board. The third row folds flat, increasing the luggage volume to 605 litres.

Also standard is a 20cm touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility as well as integrated satnav and reverse camera. All derivatives also get dual-zone climate control, auto headlights, reverse camera and rear USB ports.

Additionally, the higher-spec EX gets rear sun blinds, electrically-operated front seats, wireless phone charging, an auto defog system, illuminated door scuff plates and exterior roof rails.

Safety kit includes six airbags and ESC stability control, and the after-sales deal consists of a five-year/100 000km service plan and five-year, unlimited kilometre warranty.

PRICES

2.2 CRDI LX R569 995
2.2 CRDI LX AWD R609 995
2.2 CRDI EX R599 995
2.2 CRDI EX AWD R639 995

IOL Motoring