Our long term Sorento continues to impress, and we wonder why it’s not a better seller in its segment.
Kia is enjoying a boom in sales, riding the market trend upwards, but it’s well ahead of the average growth curve, with retails up more than 50 per cent over the past year. While some refer to the SUV market as a whole, it’s a different beast as you progress up through the price points. Kia’s big seller is the Sportage, and this is driven by the 2WD Urban variants, raising the Sportage nameplate up to the third most popular passenger car of the year. It would likely be second if you removed the Rav4’s rental numbers.
Contrast this with Sorento, which is not quite the sales darling, selling around a quarter as many in total as Hyundai manages to sell Santa Fes and third of what Toyota does with the Highlander. We’re not sure why either. Previous to our long term experience, we stated we preferred the Sorento in this class, but perhaps those brands are better at sharpening the pencil come time to strike a deal, but Sorento deserves better patronage.
While 2WD sales dominate the Sportage numbers, it’s the opposite when talking big SUVs like Sorento where the front-wheel drive models make up only a small per cent of the total. The best seller is the EX 4×4 diesel and then the Premium. You only have to take a quick drive to realise big SUVs really do benefit from AWD, the 2WD models suffering from wheelspin and torque steer as the front wheels try to do it all. And they are not that much cheaper, or less thirsty, especially considering the Sorento 2WD is a petrol V6.
The Sorento’s 2.2-litre diesel is not the newest engine out there but its performance and economy is still impressive. Our consumption average nudged up a couple of tenths this month with more city commuting miles now registering 9.8L/100km, which is good for the size of vehicle.
It continues to ply the pre-school run where child care facility car parks are predominantly crowded with SUV-driving parents. We’ve again found the rear-most seats useful this month, pressed into service on weekends and we also discovered that missing library book hiding away underneath the seventh pew. We still haven’t found anything to tow however. The shiny silver paint work is no longer blemish free, the rear bumper sporting a set of scratches after a Mazda Axela reversed into us.
And while generally the Kia remains fault free, we experienced one moment with the proximity key with the Sorento managing to lock itself while the keys were inside. Lucky we had dropped the windows a few centimetres while we were out and this allowed us to break in using an old fashioned unlocking device, the wire coat hanger. Stretching it out and fashioning a hook on the end, we managed to fish the keys out of the centre console and then unlock the Sorento. We haven’t managed to replicate this self locking feat, but it was a case of when those convenient features can sometimes turn out to be an inconvenience.