Kia’s big new SUV — the Sorento — powerful, progressive, and versatile for everything in life

Declan Colley looks forward to the all-new Kia Sorento, which is scheduled to arrive in Ireland in the third quarter of 2020
Kia’s big new SUV  —  the Sorento  —  powerful, progressive, and versatile for everything in life

Details of the latest version of the Kia’s big SUV, the Sorento, have been revealed by the Korean manufacturer.

The arrival of the new car in Ireland is scheduled for the third quarter of this year and Kia Ireland says initial product offering will be with diesel motivation only, but with a plug-in hybrid coming along shortly after.

Kia describe the new car as being powerful, progressive, and versatile and say the fourth generation of Kia’s flagship SUV is designed and engineered to take on everything life throws at it.

The company also points out that the new Sorento raises standards in the midsize SUV class for space, efficiency, and quality and sits at the heart of its reinvigorated global SUV line-up, which also includes the Seltos, Telluride, Stonic, and Sportage, although we only see the latter two.

The Sorento boasts a redefined exterior design — with sharper lines, hi-tech details, and elongated proportions — and this gives it a more confident and mature presence. Inside, its attractive cabin also introduces premium-quality materials and cutting-edge infotainment technologies.

This is the first vehicle to be based on Kia’s new-generation midsize SUV platform. Paired with a larger body to maximise cargo and luggage space, the platform ensure the Sorento is one of the most versatile and spacious three-row SUVs on the road.

Furthermore, an innovative interior packaging means it can offer all this while accommodating Kia’s new ‘Smartstream’ electrified powertrains — the first time that hybrid power has featured in the Sorento line-up. As a result, the new model is said to offer greater fuel efficiency, lower emissions, and higher performance than its predecessors.

This will be Kia’s most hi-tech car ever, thanks to its progressive connectivity, driver assistance, and infotainment technologies. Its user-friendly twin digital displays deliver advanced graphics, new telematics features, and smartphone connectivity.

A mainstay of Kia’s global line-up, more than 3m Sorento models have been sold worldwide since it was launched in 2002. In that time, Europe has accounted for around 300,000 of these.

Kia’s newest SUV will be available with hybrid power — a first for a Sorento — and buyers will eventually able to choose from hybrid or plug-in hybrid variants.

The Sorento Hybrid is powered by a new ‘Smartstream’ electrified powertrain, pairing a 1.6-litre T-GDi (turbocharged gasoline direct injection) with a 1.49 kWh lithium-ion polymer battery pack and 44.2 kW electric motor. The intelligent packaging of the Sorento’s new platform means the battery pack can be located under the floor, with minimal impact on cabin or luggage space.

Producing 230 bhp and 350 Nm torque, this electrified powertrain combines low CO2 emissions with high

levels of performance.

The new 1.6-litre T-GDi engine features Kia’s new Continuously Variable Valve Duration technology, regulating valve opening time according to driving conditions, instead of operating on a fixed opening time. This boosts performance at low-to-mid engine speeds and enhances fuel efficiency.

The Sorento Hybrid will go on-sale in select European markets from launch, with others to follow later in 2020. The new Sorento will also be available as a plug-in hybrid variant from late in 2020.

Well, here’s a first — a tattooed car

Lexus has commissioned a one-of-a-kind version of its UX compact SUV and it has been designed and created by leading London tattoo artist Claudia De Sabe.

Using a pure white car as her canvas and a Dremel drill tool instead of a fine tattooing needle, Claudia produced a sweeping design featuring koi carp along the entire length of the vehicle. The koi is a motif familiar from traditional Japanese art, representing qualities of good fortune and perseverance.

Claudia used the Dremel tool to drill away the surface paint and expose the metal underneath to create the complex pattern and then applied five litres of high-quality car paint by hand to bring out the details.

Gold leaf

As a finishing touch, she used gold leaf to create highlights and give the design a stronger 3D effect, before the whole car was given a protective lacquer costing so it can be driven on the road.

The process took six months to complete from the initial drawings, with the ‘tattooing’ completed over five eight-hour days of intensive work.

The tattooed UX doesn’t have a price tag, but it is estimated that the bespoke work could cost upwards of €130,000.

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