So both the Kia and the Mazda were fresh in my mind when I got along to the launch of the updated Sorento.
Here are the main differences between a 2017 Kia Sorento and a 2018 version:
- Updated V6 petrol engine that is now 3.5 litres in capacity, up from 3.3 litres
- The V6 now produces an additional 7kW/18Nm for a new 206kW/336Nm output
- Slight fuel economy gain over previous V6 engine - 0.1L/100km
- 2.2 litre diesel engine remains the same, though fuel economy improved by 0.6L/100km
- Both engines are mated to an improved eight-speed auto transmission (where the fuel economy benefits have come)
- New â€˜Smartâ€™ drive mode - a mode that senses your driving style/road conditions and acts accordingly
- Tweaks for suspension and steering settings
- Emergency braking - standard
- Apple CarPlay/Android Auto - standard
- Digital radio - standard
- Updated digital speedo/driver info screen
- New-look grille and taillights
- New steering wheel design
- Fresh alloy wheel designs
- New paint colour (as seen in the photos) - Gravity Blue
- New top-spec GT-Line variant replaces Platinum grade (diesel only)
- Price increases up to $2,000
Some general comments about the updated Kia Sorento for you:
The V6 engine doesnâ€™t feel noticeably different to the less-powerful 3.3 litre version and given the choice I would opt for the 147kW/441Nm turbo-diesel (as about 70% of Sorento buyers traditionally do).
The new transmission is a welcome addition, it is a smooth shifter that is happy to assist with a change down in quick time should you need some extra go.
Perhaps the biggest improvement though is what the Kia engineers have done to the ride and handling.
Iâ€™m always concerned when I hear that a car has been given a sharper and sportier feel - in this case that has been achieved, without a loss of comfort.
The 2018 Kia Sportage, especially in â€˜sportsâ€™ mode has a bit more flair and is not quite as conservative in feel as Sorentos of the past.
If you want me to give you a verdict on which of the two you should buy, hereâ€™s where I see the differences:
- The Mazda CX-9 has a nicer, more modern and more prestigious interior
- Access to the third-row of seats (improved in the 2018 variant) is better than the Kia
- The Mazda turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine is a good compromise between the Kiaâ€™s two powerplants
- The Kia feels a lot roomier (overall) inside
- Kiaâ€™s entry also provides much better visibility than the Mazda, and is thus an easier vehicle to drive
- Factor in Kiaâ€™s seven-year warranty, compared to Mazdaâ€™s three year coverage
My advice is to drive both and see which ones suits you, for me though, at this point in time, Iâ€™d be leaving a Kia dealership with my new seven-seat SUV.
NUTS and BOLTS - 2018 Kia Sorento
- Engines: 3.5 litre V6 petrol producing 206kW/336Nm or 2.2 litre turbo-diesel producing 147kW/441Nm
- Transmission: Eight-speed auto
- Safety: Five stars
- Warranty: Seven years
- Origin: South Korea
- Price: from $42,990