MUNICH -- Kia Motors Corp. has engineered the new Sorento to drive more like a car to broaden the appeal of the SUV that will have its European debut at the Frankfurt auto show next month. Kia ditched the current Sorento's body-on-frame structure and designed a new monocoque bodyshell.
Panu Vainamo, Kia Europes marketing general manager, said in a statement that the new Sorento's ride and handling have been biased more toward on-road smoothness and comfort without ignoring the current model's off-road capability.
He said the new Sorento is meant to be an all-rounder with a much broader appeal."
The new bodyshell helped Kia reduced the new models weight by up to 215kg (about 474 pounds) compared with the current Sorento. Less weight helps improve fuel economy.
At 4685mm, the new Sorento is 100mm (about 4 inches) longer than the current model to make room for a third row of seats. It is also lower and sleeker and incorporates Kia's new design look.
The SUV will be offered in Europe with Kias new 197hp, 2.2-liter diesel, which is linked to either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission.
Last year, Sorento sales fell to 16,817 in Europe from 28,756 in 2007, according to market researchers JATO Dynamics.