Raising the Bar 2013 Kia Sorento and Quoris
You know a car manufacturer has “made” it when its products make you want to walk around them, point out interesting little details, and jostle for the keys so you can be the first to drive it. That doesn’t really happen a lot with jaded motoring journalists who’ve been there, done that, and need a kick in the pants like the prospect of a supercar test drive to really get excited.
And yet, as I saw the Quoris for the first time, sitting in the lot under the mellow sunlight, I have to say it was honest-to-goodness attractive. A little bit of BMW 3-Series in the front, a little bit of 5-Series on the flanks, a little bit of Maserati in the back, but otherwise the car is indubitably the most attractive Kia I’d seen in a long time.
And that’s saying a lot, because if you’ve been paying attention to the manufacturer’s recent progeny it has been on a roll with the Sportage, the Rio hatchback, and has even given the otherwise puny Picanto a helpful dash of zest. As for the Quoris, which Kia has envisioned as a premium luxury sedan with BMW 5-Series levels of refinement and features at a 3-Series price, it has succeeded at endowing it with an aura of dignified luxury that used to be the domain of European marques. Definitely a far cry from its predecessor, the bug-eyed, barge-like Amanti/Opirus!
Once we get rolling, the senses confirm that all the good vibes aren’t an illusion. The doors close with the reassuring heaviness of a German car, the V6 engine purrs deep behind the firewall hinting at the power it can unleash at the prod of the go pedal, and the ride is that sublime blend of compliance and firmness that lets you comfortably cruise at high speeds.
Numerous, little details abound that should please the well-heeled, sophisticated buyer like the analog clock, the plush carpeting and pliant leather, and the high-tech features like the Thin Film Transistor (TFT) instrument panel and Head-Up Display. Just like the Euro stars, the Quoris also employs a mildly confounding “haptic” control dial to access the various menus for the sound system, climate control and navigation system.
The heart of the rear-wheel-drive Quoris is a DOHC 3.8-liter V6 rated at a healthy 294 ps and harnessed to a slick 8-speed Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT). The suspension is a fully-independent system utilizing 5-link front and rear systems with High Performance Dampers, or a premium Air Suspension setup on the top-of-the-line variant. Even the battery has been mounted in the trunk for improved front/rear weight distribution, taking a cue from the Germans.
A host of high-tech features keep the Quoris on the road, including a Blind Spot Detection system, Front-Rear camera parking assist, Adaptive Headlamps, a Lane Departure Warning System, ABS, stability control, and the usual battery of front, side and curtain airbags. The Adaptive Headlamps are remarkably useful and beautiful to look at; they’re housed in two 4-cell clusters per headlamp housing and are programmed to create a wide arc when stopped and which then narrow down and aim farther down the road when driving at speed.
Creature comforts are aplenty in the Quoris, including a rear seat entertainment system with two LCD monitors, 17-speaker Lexicon 7.1 sound system, multimedia support powered by an Atom processor, and heated seats. There’s even a “VIP” option called One Touch Relax Mode that has automatic adjustment of the headrest height, controls for the entertainment system, and a special “nearside” seat; it has a reclining backrest, sliding cushion, extending lower leg support and electric air-cell lumbar support, and allows the front passenger seat backrest to tip forward so you can stretch your legs out “like a BOSS.”
Simply put, if there was ever any doubt that Kia could make a serious luxury car, the Quoris puts these to rest. I wouldn’t be surprised if this graces the stables of quite a few wealthy homes in the next few years.
It didn’t really look like it needed improving, but Kia did it anyway with their 7-seat SUV. The subject of a mid-life improvement, the Sorento underwent relatively minor aesthetic tweaking and substantial improvements underneath the skin. The front and rear ends have been restyled to lower the Sorento’s aerodynamic drag coefficient (Cd) to 0.34, featuring a new front grille with LED positioning lights and vertical axis foglamps, and a new tailgate with reshaped LED combination lamps. They make the clean aesthetic of the Sorento look more bright-eyed and “beefy.” Overall length and wheelbase are unchanged, but it now sits 10mm lower thanks to a revised suspension.
The latter’s basic specification of front struts and rear multilink suspension remains the same, yet these are now bolted to all-new, stiffer subframes. These allow more precise location of the suspension components and use revised mounting bushings to reduce vibrations. The bushings are larger, and subtle changes to the suspension geometry enhance shock absorption while longer trailing arms are fitted at the back. High-performance dampers are used for improved ride comfort and stability. The revised suspension is also more compact, freeing up more legroom. An optional Motor Driven Power Steering system with “FlexSteer” is available, allowing the driver to choose between three settings of steering effort and feel.
Depending on the market, the Sorento can be powered by a 280-ps 3.5-liter V6; a 176-ps, 2.4 liter inline-4; or a 197-ps 2.2-liter TCI (VGT) turbodiesel. The 2.4-liter “Theta II” Gasoline Direct Injection (GDI) engine uses a new cylinder head and pistons plus new fuel injection and intake systems, producing 9 percent more power and 6.6 percent more torque than the previous multi-point injection engine. The R2.2 TCI turbodiesel uses a 3rd-generation common-rail fuel system, variable geometry turbo, advanced ECU with 32-bit microprocessor, chain-driven DOHC 16-valve intake/exhaust system, vibration-damping balancer shaft, and a close-coupled diesel particular filter.
All Sorento models can be spec’d with a 6-speed manual or automatic transmission, and two-wheel or four-wheel drive.
Inside, the Sorento features a new center stack with a large display screen, a color TFT LCD information panel, and satin chrome accents for the door handles, A/C vent surrounds and center stack switches. Premium options include 6-way power driver’s seat, 4-way passenger seat, heated and ventilated front seats, heated 2nd-row cushions, panoramic glass sunroof, and rear-view safety camera. A stiffer body shell and vibration-damping subframe mountings help to reduce noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) by at least 5 percent through the cabin floor. Kia also quotes a reduced noise level at idle in the diesel from 46 to 43 dB, and down to 63 dB from 65 dB when cruising at 110 kph.
At speed on the highway, or just cruising around town, the updated Sorento proves all the changes have been worth the effort. It tracks confidently and has sufficient power to get going quickly, the ride is taut and disciplined, and overall it exudes a level of confidence and discrete sportiness that one can enjoy for many miles. The market for SUVs just got that much more complicated.
Raising the Bar 2013 Kia Sorento and Quoris | Motoring, Business Features, The Philippine Star | philstar.com
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