Apr 13, 2013

Magic Monster Ride

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(Daddy tests drives)

Or least that’s what my kids call the new Kia Sorento. This monster ride had them utterly mersmerized when I got the chance to take it on a one-week jaunt around Singapore, all thanks to Cycle & Carriage Kia.

So when Ayd first saw the car, the first thing he exclaimed was "It is a monster!"

And it is.

What seems like a facelift for the Sorento is actually a total model change: the 2013 Kia Sorento now has an all-new platform. For starters, it now comes with new headlamps with LED positioning lights, a new tailgate with LED rear combination lamps; new bumpers for both front and rear with vertical-axis fog lights; a larger area of body-colour surface and larger 19-inch alloy rims.

Ours was the 2.2L Diesel CRDi variant and it was my first time driving a Kia car, not to mention a diesel car! But more on my driving experience later... because all of the cool gadgets and stuff are found inside the car.

For one, the interior is built very spaciously. I could fit a child seat and two booster seat comfortably for my monkies along the second row.

As for the boot, it still provides a decent space even though the third row of seats are up. At least the space could still fit my pram and umbrellas!

Oh, and where are the gadgets you say? Plenty actually.

The cabin of the Sorento sparkles with an array of luxurious equipment:
  • Button start with keyless entry system
  • Six-speed automatic transmission; hence more fuel efficient
  • Integrated steering wheel controls with Bluetooth hands-free, auto-cruise and audio remote capabilities
  • Three rows of air-conditioning vents - these made my 2 boys yelp with joy!
  • Six airbags
  • Auto light and rain sensors
  • Power memory seats 
  • Ventilated front seats with heating and cooling functions - air-con for the bums, I like!
  • 4.3" full colour TFT LCD touchscreen audio system with rear view camera

Pretty awesome stuff, right?

But the best feature of the lot - which also proved to be the greatest hit with the monkies - has got to be the two-part glass panaromic sunroof!

That's right, the sunroof extends all the way to the second row of seats, creating an even more spacious interior ambience  Driving with the sunroof open and enjoying the fresh outdoor breeze was definitely the most-liked activity for the monkies. Or was it the constant opening and closing of the sunroof?

Either way, the boys couldn't wait to pop their heads through the sunroof!

As for the drive, I simply loved being behind the steering wheel. The diesel engine packs 197 hp with a massive 436 Nm of torque to all four wheels, allowing the car to have a sporty feel on urban roads and yet is comfortable and stable off roads. But I needn’t have been surprised – this diesel variant is after all a 4WD.

What's more, you can customise the steering of your Sorento thanks its new 'FlexSteer' system. This allows you to select the intensity of the steering, i.e. how 'light' or 'heavy' the steering wheel will feel.

I've kept the most impressive feature to the last. And this is where the magic comes in, or in the kids’ eyes at least. The Sorento is the first Kia to sport the Smart Parking Assist System, which means that the car will be able to parallel-park on its own!

The process is easy enough. With the push of a button, the car scans for a suitable parking space, then proceeds to steer the car into the space without the driver having to touch the steering wheel. All you have to do is to control the brakes. The first time I tried it, I could have sworn the wifey's and boys' eyes popped out of their sockets. Subsequently, the boys were always on the lookout for parallel parking lots in the carpark!

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed my 1-week affair with the Kia Sorento and I highly suspected my three monkies did too. In fact, they were visibly reluctant to part with it when I had to return it to Kia Motors Singapore. 

Whether you are looking for a sporty and fun drive, or just simply looking to fit your family in for a leisurely ride, the Kia Sorento surely doesn't disappoint on both looks and performance fronts. But don't just take my word for it.

Feel the power behind the wheels for yourself . Test drive it at a Kia Showroom today!

This article first appeared on TheAsianParent.com on 5th April 2013. The views and opinions expressed are mine and cannot be bought. However, I may want to buy yours if I run out of my own.

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