Kia is here to stay

Mabuyane kekana

Mabuyane kekana

The time has gone when people could brush off Korean cars and claim that they would not last in South Africa.

Today Kia is one of the world's fastest-growing car makers. Kia Motors South Africa recently launched its luxury SUV (sport utility vehicle), Sorento. But the face-lifted Sorento is not that different from the old model.

The new Kia Sorento comes with a 10-year, 150km warranty. This means that the resale value of the Sorento should improve.

According to Ray Levin, Kia South Africa's chief executive, the manufacturer has faith in the Sorento.

"This vehicle has given us they confidence to provide a 10-year warranty," he said.

Levin said his company had improved the after-sales service at its dealerships. He said it has hired new management at a "problematic" Pretoria dealership.

The face-lifted Sorento is a 3,8litre 24-valve petrol V6 that produces 198kW of power at 6 000rpm and torque of 360Nm at 4500rpm.

Of all-aluminium construction, the engine features variable valve timing and is now coupled to a five-speed automatic transmission to provide a better choice of ratios and more relaxed cruising.

The second-generation CRDi engine displaces 2,5litres and delivers ultra-high pressure fuel to the injectors.

The injectors are electronically controlled to ensure perfect ignition timing and optimum combustion.

The result is an impressive power plant that delivers a maximum power of 104Kw at 3800rpm and a maximum torque of 350Nm at 2000rpm.

All that power is channelled through a solid five-speed manual transmission sporting an enhanced synchro mechanism or automatic transmission.

The obvious change on the Sorento is a revised front-end with a new bumper, grille and headlights.

Indicator lenses are now orange, with projector-style lighting more obvious behind the clear polycarbonate of the all-in-one headlight pod.

Circular fog lights are incorporated in the bumper.

There is still that trademark high and prominent bonnet, giving the front view an unmistakeable resilience and strength.

The rear and tail lights are wrap-around to make them more visible.

The interior has comfort features, power steering with cruise control, and full dual-zone air-conditioning.

The bottom-of-the-range Sorento costs R299995.