2023 Kia Sorento in Malaysia – CKD SUV; 6 or 7 seats; 2.5L petrol, 2.2L diesel; AEB standard; fr RM220k est – paultan.org

The fourth-generation Kia Sorento has been officially previewed in Malaysia, with local distributor Dinamikjaya Motors, a subsidiary of Bermaz Auto (BAuto), revealing it is now accepting bookings for the redesigned three-row D-segment SUV.

Final pricing will be revealed on launch day, which we’re told will take place very soon. For now, the company says the Sorento is estimated to range from RM220,000 to RM255,000 across three variants, with local dealers claiming deliveries will start from March this year. It should be noted that unlike the Carnival, which initially arrived in fully-imported (CBU) form, the Sorento will be offered as a locally-assembled (CKD) model from the start.

The base option is the 2.5 2WD 7-Seater, which is powered by a 2.5 litre naturally-aspirated four-cylinder MPi engine that delivers 177 hp at 6,000 rpm and 232 Nm of torque at 4,000 rpm. The mill drives the front wheels through a six-speed automatic transmission, with the quoted top speed being 195 km/h.

Next on the list is the 2.5 AWD 6-Seater that gets the same MPi powerplant, but with an all-wheel drive system to send drive to all four corners. It also adopts a 2-2-2 seat layout with two captain chairs in the second row rather than a bench, which is what the entry-level variant’s 2-3-2 configuration gets.

Rounding off the trio is the 2.2D AWD 6-Seater, which also comes with six seats and AWD, but features a diesel engine instead. The 2.2 litre four-cylinder turbodiesel is the same one found in the Carnival and provides 199 hp at 3,800 rpm and 440 Nm from 1,750 to 2,750 rpm. Unlike the MPV, the oil burning Sorento features an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission instead of an eight-speed automatic – top speed also goes up to 205 km/h.

In its latest form, the Sorento is a bigger car compared to its predecessor, with a 10 mm increase in each direction to become 4,810 mm long, 1,900 mm wide and 1,695 mm tall. The wheelbase has also grown by 35 mm to 2,815 mm, with most of it going to the more rearward A-pillars.

Along with shorter overhangs, the SUV sports a more premium look, complemented by sharper lines and bolder styling cues. The latter includes a more substantial “tiger nose” grille with U-shaped inserts that flows neatly into the slim headlamps and L-shaped daytime running lights. The lower apron features a large intake that extends into L-shaped air curtains at the corners of the bumper.

Down the sides, chrome scuttles contribute to the upmarket appearance and is joined by a chrome “shark fin” on the rear quarter glass. However, it is the rear that undergoes the most significant changes, with four vertical taillights bars set beside a sculpted tailgate. Adding to the visual statement is a large black bumper insert and faux vents that integrate lights and reflectors.

The interior is equally as distinctive thanks to the dual-tier air vents on the dashboard, with those in the middle “cradling” the control panel for the dual-zone climate system, which is set below the 10.25-inch infotainment touchscreen.

Our local Sorento will come with a traditional gear lever instead of a rotary dial, and you can easily tell the difference between 2WD and AWD models by the controls on the centre console – the latter has more drive modes as well as brake auto hold.

The higher-spec variant also comes with 19-inch wheels (instead of 18-inch units), a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster (the 7-Seater gets a multi-info display and analogue dials), a Bose sound system, leather upholstery (instead of fabric) as well as rear shades.

All variants will come with powered front seats (the 6-Seater’s front passenger seat has controls on its side), one-touch entry into the third row, second- and third-row air vents, a powered tailgate, the ability to fold the second-row seats from the boot, a Qi wireless charger, keyless entry and start as well as Android Auto and Apple CarPlay support.

On the safety front, six airbags, ABS, EBD, brake assist, DSC, traction control, hill start assist and Multi-Collision Brake Control are standard across the range. The Sorento also gets adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist and autonomous emergency braking from its base variant onwards.

In the D-segment SUV space, the Sorento competes against the Mazda CX-8, Hyundai Santa Fe and Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace. Once again, estimated pricing for the Sorento is between RM220,000 to RM255,000. Like what you see so far?

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