It has been another uneventful month for the Sorento, by which we mean it is trucking along fine with no problems.
The big Kia has covered plenty of kilometres over the past few weeks; out on photoshoot duties, kid ferrying and holidaying and it hasn’t thrown up any gremlins. No control-alt-delete moments, and nothing rattling.
Kia is clearly forging ahead in the quality stakes. It achieved the top ranking in the latest JD Power quality rating, a first for a mainstream carmaker and more recently Kia emerged gleaming in a German quality test. A Sportage was subjected to a 100,000km endurance evaluation by German motoring magazine Auto Bild and it passed the trial without any defects or problems whatsoever. It was the first car to complete this publication’s torture test without recording a single fault and, given the magazine’s nationality, you can imagine it has put a few BMWs, Mercs and Audis to the sword over the years. If reliability and quality matter, Kia is a brand to have on your shopping list.
The kids are still doing a great job of testing the durability of the rear quarters which are holding up well, all the cute wee messes wiped clean and the surfaces looking just like new. So too the alloys, no kerbing gashes thus far. The tyres are right sized too; with just enough sidewall; they impart a decent ride quality and can handily absorb curbing impacts, we discovered. Brake pad dust however is an issue. Why go to the trouble of designing nice shiny alloys only to fit brake pads that generate an excessive amount of dust? It doesn’t take long to accumulate either, but at least the 19-inch alloys are of the easy-to-clean variety. You’d be surprised how many look good but are ghastly to maintain.
The Kia’s R-series diesel is tried and true technology, and continues to impress, hauling around the Sorento with minimal lag while using less juice than our last long termer, the Mercedes-Benz GLE. The V6-powered panzer could get through diesel around town, while the Sorento has improved slightly to average 9.6L/100km overall.
We managed to activate the Sport mode this month, the setting adding a little more heft to the steering when negotiating our way through to Raglan for the long weekend. We found the added wheel weight helps smooth your progress through winding sections and keeps those on board happy. The all-wheel drive system, an on-demand type, never suffers wheel slip up front.
Some SUVs with a similar AWD set-up will let the fronts slip a little when gassing it away from a standing start but the Sorento always delivers maximum traction. Stall it up on the brake and it gets going fairly smartly for a big rig. It’s about the biggest test of the AWD system most will likely make, unless you buy the Sorento for towing duties. We’ve yet to use the tow bar, save for attaching the wheelie bin to haul it up the driveway on rubbish day. Perhaps we can find something decent to haul next month.