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Sorento SUV upgrade 4WD six-speed drivetrain allows on-demand driver control

October 11, 2012
Sorento SUV upgrade 4WD six-speed drivetrain allows on-demand driver control

Kia has upgraded its Sorento SUV. The company said today that it will be available with the 204kW 3.5-litre petrol Lambda V6 MPI (335Nm) and 145kW R2.2 TCI (turbo charged inter-cooler) turbo-diesel engine with 421Nm in manual guise and 436Nm coupled to the 6-speed automatic.

The automatic models produce maximum torque of 436Nm from 1800rpm. Kia says the automatic transmission in Sorento has two operating modes fully automatic or Sport.

For city driving, fully automatic mode is ideal, while Sport mode allows for clutch-less sequential manual gear changes up or down, one ratio at a time for greater driver control. GoSee finds this ability particularly useful for controlled towing on hilly winding roads. Hyundai's Santa Fe R also allows total drive involvement and performed strongly in a GoSee extended evaluation towing a 1400kg loaded Jayco Discovery pop-top caravan.

For improved traction and greater safety while driving in severely slippery conditions the driver can manually select Lock Mode in the 4WD on-demand drivetrain in the Sorento SUV.

Also under consideration for the Australian market is the 141kW, 242Nm 2.4-litre Theta II GDI engine. Industry website Autonews reports today that every upgraded Sorento model features a six-speed transmission (manual or automatic), while buyers are offered a choice of 2WD (front-wheel drive) for petrol and 4WD (four-wheel drive) for diesel.

An interesting innovation for drivers who regularly face difficult driving conditions, tow trailers or go off-road, is the diesel 4WD on-demand drivetrain which also offers a manually activated Lock Mode to split the torque 50/50 between the front and rear axles.

Fuel tank capacity is 64 litres. This will mean attention will need to be paid to fuel stops and range when towing long distances in more remote places.

Kia said today that maximum towball weight is rated at 120kg across the range (there is no petrol AWD); Towing capacity difference between manual transmission and automatic transmission is due to the capability of the cooling system within the automatic; Kia tests for the WDH as a part of towing kit development, however, Kia warrants the vehicle only under the condition that WDH is used as per the instruction manual.

Kia says theydo not really recommend weight distribution hitches as they put undue force on the vehicle.Kia do test for WDH as part oftheir testing andthey state thatthey do not recommend as Kia says no customers uses them as they were designed. (Disconnect them when going up and down sharp inclines and on rough roads) .

Editors Note: Icon towing equipment maker Hayman Reese will not warranty damage caused by reversing a caravan or trailer with the Weight Distribution Hitch system connected. The company also warns against over-tensioning of the WDH system.

The specifications for the 2013 model year say the braked maximum towing capacity for the petrol 3.5 litre Sorento SUV model is 2000kg. This is the same as the 2.2 litre diesel A/T model. The 2.2 litre diesel M/T model is rated by Kia to tow 2500kg. The Gross Weight of both the diesels is 2575kg. RRP for the 2.2 litre diesel SLI 4WD is $43,990. The Platinum version has a RRP of $50,390. Garth.