Kia Sorento.
Kia Sorento. Contributed

Sorento wins Best Car Award for SUV

KIA'S growing reputation as a manufacturer of quality cars with a strong desirability factor was further underscored this week with the Sorento taking home Australia's Best Cars award for an SUV over $40,000.

The SLi Sorento impressed the panel of judges from Australia's state automotive clubs to win the ultimate accolade for both value and function.

Kia Motors Australia CEO M K Kim said he was pleased with the formal recognition of the Sorento which had enjoyed consistent public and media praise since it was launched last year.

“The Sorento has been consistently hitting the right note with buyers and the media for almost a year now and this prestigious award is a clear sign that we are offering cars that please both the eye and the heart,” Mr Kim said.

Accepting the award at Sydney's Randwick Racecourse, Mr Kim said the Sorento's win, following closely on the Sportage's success as Drive's Best SUV Under $40,000 last week, is recognition that Kia is building cars Australians want.

“Both the Sorento and the Sportage were optimised for Australian conditions and tuned to meet the specific demands of Australian drivers,” Mr Kim said.

“Australian drivers are a discerning group, possibly more so than in any other world market, and they have been telling us that they like what we are doing, both with the styling of the cars and the engineering,” said Kia Motors Australia chief operating officer, Tony Barlow.

“To have won awards with two different models is satisfying in that it is always preferable to have more than one string to your bow. That is only going to improve as further new models such as the Optima and next-generation Rio come to market next year.”

All vehicles across the Sorento range recently received a 2011 model year refresh.

The list of enhancements include the latest Bluetooth technology, providing hands-free mobile phone connectivity and media streaming, all operated through steering wheel-mounted controls and a head-lamp escort function where low beam illuminates the ground in front of the car at night after it has been turned off, providing occupants with enough light to get from the car to the house safely.

The top two models (Sli and Platinum) received upgraded in-mirror display rear view cameras, offering a higher resolution image and parking guidelines, a leather-wrapped instrument cluster housing and the front passenger window is now automatic both up and down.

The Platinum's panoramic sunroof is now alarmed, which is activated when the car is “off” and the driver's door is opened.

Recommended retail pricing for the Sorento range starts at $36,490 for the entry level Si 2WD automatic 2.4-litre petrol.

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