KIA SORENTO PLATINUM

Indicative drive away price: $60,546

A new, bigger more refined  Sorento has broken the Hyundai Santa Fe’s three-year winning streak in this hotly-contested category.

The new Kia is based on the same platform as the current Carnival people mover, not the older Santa Fe with which it has historically shared many engineering fundamentals. So, for now, these two Korean SUVs are no longer twins under the skin.

Pricing starts from $40,990 (plus on-road costs) for the 2WD petrol Si, ranging up to $60,546 for the Australia’s Best Cars-winning 4WD diesel Platinum. That makes the Platinum variant some $4500 more expensive than previously, but it’s also a lot more car.

Another winning area for Sorento is its running and repair costs, where it finished one point ahead of both Santa Fe and the third-placed Land Rover Discovery Sport.

The newcomer is longer and wider, and NVH (noise, vibration and harshness) levels have been refined thanks to improved soundproofing insulation.

The interior is well appointed, with seven seats as standard. Leg room in the third row seats is excellent and ventilation controls are standard, something which can’t be said for all of its competitors.

While the Platinum’s 2.2-litre turbo-diesel is the same size as before, it now punches out 147kW and 441Nm – slightly more than the previous model.

The new Sorento also boasts improved safety kit, including a rear-view camera as standard across the range. All model grades get six airbags (including curtain airbags all the way to the third row) and hill start assist.

Additional safety systems on the Platinum include lane departure warning, active cruise control, blind-spot detection and rear cross-traffic alert. A five-star ANCAP safety rating applies.

SCORE
1ST: KIA SORENTO PLATINUM, 884
2ND: HYUNDAI SANTA FE HIGHLANDER CRDI, 880
3RD: LAND ROVER DISCOVERY SPORT SD4SE, 846