The bigger, better, budget-busting KIA Sorento LS.

 

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The prices of cars have gone bonkers! What you could have bought for R500 000 a few years ago is vastly different now. That half a bar would get you a top of the range 3-Series with all the bells and whistles. Now, it'll get you standard 318i. 

 

As you can imagine, larger, and popular SUV's sit higher on the price chart. When budgets become tighter, people start buying what they need and less of what they want. 

 

If you like SUV's, and you require one that can carry more than just two kids, you’re best suited with a medium to large-sized SUV. You may even want one with 7-seats. What options do you have? There are a few if you're willing to spend more than a million Rand. But even if you had that to spend on a car, who would want to? Let's go back to my original number - R500 000. Is there anything worth looking at that's new for my growing family?

 

There is, KIA's newly introduced LS (entry level 2.2 CRDi) joining the ranks of the 2.4 petrol model. It's the same big, friendly and comfortable Sorento you know only simplified and driven via a refined powerful diesel engine. Less is more with this model. You are left with all you need rather than the extras that most don't use. What's left behind is perhaps the best value SUV money can buy. 

 

Higher spec'd models, although nice, detract from the Sorento's appeal - value. The higher priced Sorento models rival with stiff competition like the status-driven 7-seater Land Rover Discovery Sport while the more appropriate priced LS models compete with the less luxurious Ford Everest, Toyota Fortuner and Nissan X-Trail. The latter being the best-selling SUV worldwide. 

 

Offered with either 5 or 7 seats, the latter costing more and driven only by a refined 2.2-liter turbo diesel, that is mated to a smooth shifting 6-speed automatic gearbox.

 

Added to the Sorento’s strong points are its supple ride quality and high-level of structural refinement. Sprung like an orthopaedic bed and as quiet as an early Sunday morning, the Sorento is a relaxed place to be. Not the sportiest of SUV’s, the Sorento isn’t suited for high-speed cornering. It’ll do it, but you’ll feel like Willow Smith’s pop hit of 2010, Whip My Hair Back and Forth - you’ll be doing just that. In fact, the Sorento is better suited for its role - transporting families in aplomb.

 

Less really is more - the LS model comes standard with things like electric windows, central locking, manual air-conditioning, automated handbrake. There’s also an LCD screen, located between two analogue dials in the centre of the instrument binnacle, displaying all major trip computer information such as vehicle range and average and instant fuel consumption in one place. It also features a Radio / CD / MP3 player, multimedia ports for USB and AUX-in connections, and six speakers around the cabin. Rear seats feature a 40:20:40 split folding function, as well as a vast 660-litre cargo space – big enough for the entire family’s luggage, weekend sporting paraphernalia, and even the family’s Great Danes.

 

PLUS +

Attractive design.

Refined engine and cabin.

Comfortable ride.

Value for money package.

 

MINUS –

Thirsty engine (I averaged 10.8-liters during my urban cycle with the car over one week).

Higher priced Sorento’s lose their value for money proposition.

 

The Competition

Nissan X-Trail, Toyota Fortuner, Ford Everest and Land Rover Discovery Sport

 

Pricing

KIA Sorento 2.4 LS Manual 5-Seater - R457 995

KIA Sorento 2.2 CRDi LS Automatic 5-Seater - R489 995

KIA Sorento 2.2 CRDi LX Automatic 5-Seater - R582 995

KIA Sorento 2.2 CRDi EX Automatic 7-Seater - R686 995

KIA Sorento 2.2 CRDi SX Automatic 7-Seater - R713 995

KIA Sorento 2.2 CRDi SXL Automatic 7-Seater - R733 995

 

Service and Warranty

The new Sorento 2.2 CRDi LS Automatic 5-seater ships as standard with KIA’s innovative 5-year/Unlimited km Warranty, with 5-years/Unlimited km roadside assistance as well as a 5-year/ 100 000km Service Plan.

 

My Choice

KIA Sorento 2.2 CRDi LS Automatic 5-Seater - R489 995

www.kia.co.za

 

 

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