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The new Kia Sorento has a tricky job to do
THE fourth-generation Kia Sorento made its debut here last week, with a mission to lift its maker above the mainstream and into the world of premium Sport Utility Vehicles (SUVs).
"With the new Sorento, we want our customers to experience the comfort and practicality of a premium SUV equipped with class-leading innovations," says Royston Soh, divisional manager, head of Kia sales & marketing. "It is the most advanced Kia model in Singapore to date."
The seven-seat Sorento has more interior room than before, thanks to a 35mm increase to its wheelbase, but Kia claims it is far more than just a people mover because it has technology and features that would be at home in a pricey German SUV.
Instead of physical instruments for the driver, it has a high-resolution 12.3-inch digital display, as well as a 10.25-inch touchscreen for infotainment. The largest in any Kia, the driver display isn't just for digital eye candy, but enables a new safety feature. The Sorento is the first car to feature a virtual blind spot monitor, which shows the driver a video feed of the area beside the car when the driver activates the turn signal.
The Sorento also comes with radar cruise control, forward collision detection and mitigation, and a host of other safety features. Such active safety items are not unprecedented, but are rare in the segment and sometimes cost extra even in luxury-branded SUVs. Yet, the systems are standard issue in the Sorento SX Tech Pack (at S$166,999 with Certificate Of Entitlement) and the range-topping GT Line Tech Pack (S$176,999).
The least expensive Sorento SX version costs S$157,999 but comes without the active safety systems and 12.3-inch driver display. Kia may be ready to leave the mainstream market, but the same might not be true for some of its customers.