Monday, November 16, 2015

Used Car Review - Kia Sorento (2009-2015)

From a wallflower to world performer? Myk Belmonte discusses this car in total.

2009-2015 Kia Sorento

Kia had been offering the Sportage during the 90s, in which that quality issues was too plenty for this vehicle. Too much embarrassment had its second generation model utilized a shared with the Hyundai Tucson, in which it is based from the Elantra. Thankfully, the memories of the past were purged away by these reliable successors, in which both Korean brands reaped their successes with.

Entering the crowded and popular SUV market is the Sorento, which had Kia a foothold on the segment. Slotting above the Sportage (which wasn't a big seller even in South Korea itself), the first generation model used a body-on-frame chassis while its successor is now based on a car chassis. The unibody construction and the removal of the low-ratio transfer case had the vehicle lose more weight. With this in mind, Consumer Reports gave the V6 model an excellent score in its July 2010 issue.

Columbian Autocar Corporation brought in the second generation Sorento in September 2009, together with the overpriced Soul and Forte. Initially, a 2.4 gas model available in 4x2 and 4x4 guise were first made to be available until the diesels arrived the following year. Like the previous model, it competed with PPV's from Thailand (think Toyota and Mitsubishi) and the Hyundai Santa Fe, its sister vehicle. From launch, all Sorentos were offered in EX models until a cheaper LX was introduced in a 2013 facelift, making the EX strictly 4x4 one time.

Value and Costs
With the launch of the third generation model last April, prices of 2009 to 2015 Sorentos had dropped considerably. Older units can be fetched for as low as P520,000 with newer ones still playing in the P1.1M range. Since Kias aren't known for stellar resale values, their poor depreciation will favor the second hand buyer and this one is a good alternative against popular nameplates.

This vehicle isn't anymore as unreliable like most Korean cars of old, which is a good thing. Just like any vehicle, check out for any wear and tear caused by daily driving. Some models gain electronic gadgets, so have an eye if these go wrong. Parts supply aren't a problem, thanks to Korean parts specialist shops that sprout like mushrooms. Lastly, Kia has a five year warranty, so find yourself a 2011 or later model to get the remaining chunk.

Exterior and Interior
If the first generation model has some resemblance from the Lexus RX SUV, then the second generation has more visual lines that is more striking even when afar. This vehicle ushered the usage of Peter Schreyer's "tiger nose" grille application, further extending to other Kia vehicles. LX models loses the fog lamps and roof rails while EX units have these.

Since our market favors vehicles that can seat more than five humans, the Sorento obliges this especially that it has a third row seat (thanks to a size increase). This feature was dropped in 2013 for LX models, while the EX 4x4 has this one among the variants. Apart from this, material quality is top notch plus they are logically placed and numerous pockets abound the vehicle. Mood lighting, which illuminates the door panels during evening, comes standard only for 2009 to 2012 models.

All new engines (for the Philippine market at least) have seen usage in this vehicle, and interestingly enough both engines are from Hyundai. The first engine to be offered is a Theta II 2.4 4-cylinder, shared with the Hyundai Sonata and several Kia vehicles, that has 174hp at 6,000rpm and 227Nm at 3,750rpm. The popular engine (and what we pick) is the R 2.2 diesel which produces 194hp at 3,800rpm and 436Nm at 2,500rpm. For all intents, skip the gasoline especially that the engine struggles to carry the weight in which fuel economy and acceleration suffers because of this. On the other hand, the diesel is much powerful and powerband is accessible at an early 2,500rpm. No more 4x4 locking hubs available, it utilizes an all wheel drive system for selected models while front wheel drive is the basic one.

Driving Impressions
Since it now uses a unibody platform, riding and driving one is more similar to a car with high levels of refinement. Steering and handling may be on the lighter side, but that is an advantage for easy driving. If you are considering trading a truck based SUV, this is one good bet.

With lots of changes, the second generation Sorento is an improved beast with numerous accolades and acknowledgements under the name, Kia has a winner here. Though far from perfect, it has taken its efforts more seriously.

The Good:
  • Comfortable ride
  • High quality materials
  • Powerful diesel engine
The Bad:
  • Gasoline lacks power
  • Vague steering
  • Tight third row
The Pick: 2.2 models, no brainer choice

Engines: 2,359cc Theta II I4 gasoline, 2,199cc R I4 diesel
Power: 174hp @ 6,000rpm (gasoline), 194hp @ 3,800rpm (diesel)
Torque: 227Nm @ 3,750rpm (gasoline), 436Nm @ 2,500rpm (diesel)
Fuel Consumption: 5-9km/L (city), 9-12km/L (highway) (*estimated and varies)
Transmission: 6-speed manual (2013-2015 LX diesel 2WD only), 6-speed automatic
Suspension: Front McPherson strut, rear multi-link

Price (New): P1,200,000-P1,900,000
Price (Now): P520,000-P1,100,000
Rivals: Hyundai Santa Fe, Chevrolet Trailblazer, Ford Everest, Isuzu Alterra, Mitsubishi Montero Sport, Toyota Fortuner
On Sale: 2009-2015

Kia Pasay - (02) 852-1490

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