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Sunday, April 24, 2022

Review: 2022 Kia Sorento 2.2 SX


Kia wants you to believe that they’ve moved up. With a new logo, tagline, and even dealership look the Korean automaker says they’re rocking more of a premium vibe now. Beyond all the marketing speak, the truth lies squarely in the pudding, or rather, in the cars. If there’s any chance anyone would take Kia’s aspirations seriously, they’d have to back them up with some great cars. First out of the gate is this: the 2022 Sorento—a mid-sized SUV that brings snazzy style, dizzying tech, and real space in the segment. It’s also mighty expensive now.

Priced at P 2,588,000, it serves as a litmus test of what people think of Kia’s new positioning versus what the brand’s worth. Removing all brand prejudice, the Sorento’s actually a bold, head-turning SUV. The design looks fresh in a sea of ubiquitous seven-seaters, and attracts attention on more than one occasion. It paints a heavy presence with its big grille, large lighting elements, and liberal spattering of chrome. There’s no way you’ll lose it in the car park.



Inside, Kia’s managed to give the Sorento an interior that’s not just hardwearing, but of good quality. There are still some hard plastics, but it takes prodding around to find them. And besides, they’re in areas where you don’t usually touch or get in contact with. The areas that you do touch and feel on a daily basis are filled with soft, plush plastics with chrome, piano-black, and even matte wood trim peppered throughout. All the switchgear operates with precision too, and everything feels solidly put together.

Moreover, the Sorento’s packed with things families will actually find useful. There’s a good amount of power points, USB sockets, and even air vents to go around. Speaking of air vents, those on the dash are actually double vents, so you can aim one at your face and the other to stop your nether regions from sizzling.



Kia also managed to cram a large array of in-cabin tech without making the experience gimmicky or confusing. Instead, they’ve made sure it’s approachable even to a neophyte. Thankfully, there’s no overreliance on the touchscreen here; it’s all about tactile switches. Not only do regular functions like the climate controls, heated/vented seats, and drive modes get dedicated buttons, but even more obscure functions like the camera and the driver assist functions do so as well.

That’s not to say Kia’s forgotten to add some razzle-dazzle. In this top-trim Sorento SX, the analog gauges are replaced by a 12.3-inch digital cluster. It’s crisp and clear, and allows a degree of configurability. Regardless though, it retains a two-dial layout because whenever you indicate, feed from a wide-angle rearward view camera pops up in the instruments. It’s a bit more awkward to use compared to, say, Honda’s LaneWatch, but it’s still handy for checking out the blind spots. No complaints about the central screen as well. It’s snappy and has neatly-organized menus. It even comes with wireless Apple CarPlay. And yes, there’s also a wireless device charger neatly tucked in a bin in front of the shifter.



The front seats are lofty and provide plenty of support. The spec sheet only indicates eight ways of movement for the driver, but in reality, there’s more. Aside from the electric lumbar adjustment, even the cushion length can be adjusted to accommodate those with longer hips. Meanwhile, the second row is equally generous, and can actually sit three abreast thanks to the minimal floor hump. Onto the third row, getting in and out is easy with the second row’s power-actuated latch. From there, expect a livable amount of space with ample head- and legroom.

When not in use, the third-row collapses into the floor easily, revealing a cavernous cargo hold. The load area itself is usefully square. Plus, the second-row can be folded remotely thanks to switches in the luggage compartment. This makes loading a piece of IKEA furniture less of a hassle.



For 2022, Kia has opted to simplify the Sorento’s powertrain combo to just one: a 2.2-liter 4-cylinder diesel driving the front wheels. The SmartStream D, as the engine’s called makes 202 horsepower and 441 Nm of torque. It’s far superior in refinement compared to other diesels in this price range beating even the current benchmark, Mazda’s Skyactiv-D. It’s also rev-happy for a diesel, though there’s no need to mash the throttle since there’s great pull even at low revs. The accompanying eight-speed dual clutch is well-matched to the engine as well. Aside from its high levels of refinement, it helps bump up the fuel economy to 10.63 km/L.

Sitting atop a new platform, the Sorento’s made to eat miles effortlessly. It makes short work of expressways with its cossetting ride and impressive levels of NVH. Unfortunately, around town, it’s far less impressive. It tends to fidget over surface imperfections and thud over potholes especially when it’s just the driver aboard. Once the family’s packed in, it settle down a bit.



Being a tall and somewhat heavy car, don’t expect sports car handling. Body lean is pronounced when pushed. Some care must be exercised in pulling out of a corner at speed. With the engine’s copious low-end torque, it’s easy to cause the front wheels to spin. This SUV’s in desperate need for standard all-wheel drive. Thankfully, there’s not much in way of torque steer. On the subject of steering, it’s light and numb, but at least there’s some precision baked in allowing drivers to place it confidently on twisty pieces of road. It also tracks straight and true on expressways.

In terms of safety features, the Sorento has leveled up tremendously. Not only does it come with a full suite of active and passive safety features, but there’s also a suite of driver aids like autonomous emergency braking, blind spot indicators with rear cross traffic alert, and lane keep assist. The only thing lacking? Any form of adaptive cruise control.



Removing the badges, the Sorento is a great mid-sized SUV. Save for the lack of all-wheel drive for this top-of-the-line SX, it drives well enough, is roomy, and is made with great craft. However, once the badge’s factored in, it doesn’t just feel expensive. It is expensive. Kia may have the confidence right now to sticker this 7-seater SUV past its traditional competition, the PPVs, but personally that move’s a bit premature. A different sort of Kia script may adorn this SUV, but ultimately, it’s the same brand that carries with it some baggage, at least locally. Only time will tell if all this talk of becoming a more evocative brand will work. However, now is not the right time. In the end, the Kia Sorento is a great mid-sized SUV, but it’s not a great mid-sized SUV at its price.

2022 Kia Sorento 2.2 SX

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Ownership 2022 Kia Sorento 2.2 SX
Year Introduced 2022
Vehicle Classification Mid-Sized SUV
Warranty 5 years / 160,000 kilometers
The Basics
Body Type 5-door SUV
Seating 7
Engine / Drive F/F
Under the Hood
Displacement (liters) 2.2
Aspiration Turbocharged
Fuel Delivery Common Rail
Layout / # of Cylinders I4
BHP @ rpm 202 @ 3,800
Nm @ rpm 441 @ 1,750-2,750
Fuel / Min. Octane Diesel
Transmission 8 DCT
Cruise Control Yes
Fuel Economy @ Ave. Speed 10.63 km/L @ 17 km/h
Dimensions and Weights
Length (mm) 4,810
Width (mm) 1,900
Height (mm) 1,700
Wheelbase (mm) 2,815
Curb Weight (kg) 1,811
Suspension and Tires
Front Suspension Independent, MacPherson Strut
Rear Suspension Independent, Multi-Link
Front Brakes Vented Disc
Rear Brakes Disc
Parking Brake Electric, w/ Auto Hold
Tires Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric 3 SUV 235/55 R 19 V (f & r)
Wheels Alloy
Safety Features
Airbags 6
Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS) Yes, with EBD
Traction / Stability Control Yes
Parking Sensors Yes, Front & Rear
Parking Camera Yes, 360-degree
Front Seatbelts 3-pt ELR with pre-tensioner x 2
Rear Seatbelts 3-pt ELR x 3,
3-pt ELR x 2
ISOFIX Child Seat Anchor Yes
Other Safety Features Forward Collision Avoidance Assist
Blind Spot View Monitor
Blind Spot Indicators w/ Rear Cross Traffic Alert
Lane Keep Assist
Exterior Features
Headlights LED
Fog Lamps Yes, Front (LED)
Auto Lights Yes
Rain-sensing Wipers Yes
Tailgate Electric
Interior Features
Steering Wheel Adjust Tilt/Telescopic
Steering Wheel Material Leather
Seating Adjustment (driver) 8-way, Power, Vented/Heated
Seating Adjustment (front passenger) 8-way, Power, Vented/Heated
Seating Surface Leather
Folding Rear Seat 60/40, Sliding (2nd row),
50/50 (3rd row)
Sunroof No
Trip Computer Yes
Convenience Features
Power Steering Yes
Power Door Locks Yes
Power Windows Yes
Power Mirrors Yes, with Fold
Rear View Mirror Auto-dimming
Proximity Key Yes
Climate Control Yes, Dual (Front), Manual (Rear)
Audio System Stereo
USB
Bluetooth
Smartphone Connectivity Apple CarPlay
Android Auto
# of Speakers 6
Steering Controls Yes

24 comments:

  1. At that price, is it better to buy the Mazda CX-9 base or CX-8 TOTL?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Stay away from the base CX-9. Not worth it. The CX-9 only gets better once you reach the mid-grade Black Edition. It's actually weird why Mazda Philippines opted to introduce an additional variant when the CX-9 isn't a strong volume model.

      Anyway, if you don't mind not having the turbo, the TOTL CX-8 is actually hard to beat. The interior is equally usable vs the Sorento, though there are no air vents in the third row (the Sorento has them mounted on both sides). That aside, you get everything else missing in the Kia.

      Delete
    2. Thank you Uly for your brutally honest evaluation of vehicles, as always :)
      Interesting to note that the TOTL CX-8 (a non-JDM) is actually better than the base CX-9 (a JDM).

      Delete
  2. What's Kia's baggage, Uly?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. maybe the kia-hyundai engines, but iirc kia ph and hyundai ph never gave an official statement

      Delete
    2. Reputation for discounting, inconsistent aftersales dealer experience (the new ones seem better though).

      Delete
    3. Why would Kia price it lower if its superior to the Turd World PPVs? I wouldn't choose a Fortuner or Montero over this one. You get what you pay for.

      Delete
    4. That's you but for the majority of Filipino car buyers, they are price conscious. They will buy which brings them the most bang for the buck. If the Kia was priced lower say around Php2.1M for the SX (because truth be told, in a few months or a year, Kia will be discounting this by 300-500k), wouldn't it sell more and convince the consumers to switch to something better than the PPV's?
      The PPV's of Toyota and Montero sell well because they bring the needed heft, height and carrying capacity for most at a price point of 1.6-2M. The TOTL PPV's do not make up for majority of the sales of these car companies. It's the mid-grade and entry levels.

      So with your logic, we should just resign to the fact that a better product should always be priced higher than the current competitors? No room for products or strategies that are game changers for the market?

      Delete
  3. I think Kia and the other mainstream brands should focus on the subcompact and compact crossover segments, w emphasis on the ff: turbo engines, competitive pricing, tech, cabin materials, and safety features. These are what are being offered by the Ford Territory and Geely Coolray, to much success. Of course, we cannot talk yet about long-term reliability and durability (needs a few more years of observation).

    ReplyDelete
  4. They can't do anything about the price since it's imported from Korea right?

    Is it safe to assume most of their lineup will be more competitive once Kia Indonesia starts exporting to our country?

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  5. We have the previous gen Sorento. Comfortable and solid driving dynamics (for its class) in the city even with just the driver (so comfortable that even I alternate it with 20 inches wheels 265/45 tires it is still comfortable). I also find the steering feel better than current CX5. So it is sad to read here that the new Sorento is less than impressive around town.

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  6. Have you checked the tire pressure Uly?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes. When I got the unit, it was at 32 PSI which was below the recommended of 35 PSI. The first thing I did was to adjust it to 35 PSI.

      Delete
    2. I see.

      Great review as always. Couldn't agree more on their pricing strategy.

      Delete
  7. A very honest review. A rarity these days. Kia should tone down their pricing.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Ayala has just followed Columbian's way of pricing... Overpricing great Kia products and later on regretting that by doing a 400k discount... In the first place, why overprice when you can have more sales and have positive word of mouth????

    Take note that Columbian's pricing scheme eventually led to the downfall of Kia.... Ayala started great pricing the Stonic & Seltos just right... they are now being arrogant and over-confident and overpricing the Carnival, Sorento and even the Sportage.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I think pricing is mostly relative to (percieved) competitors, rather than a nominal peso amount. Tech and ride quality-wise, this is worth their intended 15-20% premium over most PPV 7 seaters.

    Could've used a better feeling steering wheel though.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Exactly. It's better than the Turd World PPVs, it should be priced more. How much are refinement, ride quality & handling worth to you?

      Delete
    2. It's the perceived pricing due to competitors with the PPV's which is a strategy but given Kia's market position, brand perception, do they have the luxury to be like Toyota price it high and under-spec it? If they priced it accordingly they could sell it more and have more visibility and customers.

      With your reasoning, it's ok to price it this high because the under-spec and over priced PPV's are slightly below its price? Not going to sell. Price conscious yung Pinoy. See the success of Geely and other china made cars like the Ford Territory. People buy it over the likes of Toyota, Mazda and Honda. They have better specs but undercuts the competition. So should they have priced it higher since they're better in specs?

      Delete
  10. At 2.6 MM, quite expensive i supposed, more expensive than High End Fortuner, Terra, Everest and Montero.

    ReplyDelete
  11. They need to introduce a variant with:
    -All Wheel Drive
    -Paddle Shifters

    Maybe they can follow the Australian-spec GT-Line variant

    ReplyDelete
  12. 2.6m for a Kia? I'll just buy a 2nd hand audi and a Veloz for that price.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A spare veloz for when your audi breaks down?

      Delete

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