Kia Sorento new vs old 1

Launched just last month, the 2016 Kia Sorento is a welcome entry into the seven-seater SUV market – the new UM-generation model is offered with plenty of equipment at competitive prices. But that was also the case with the previous-gen XM, so how do these two stack up against each other? We’ve pitted these two back-to-back in a full photo gallery so you can see and judge for yourself.

The old car was not exactly terrible to look at – particularly in facelifted form, as seen here – but the new car certainly brings the game to the next level. The sleek twin projector headlights, three-dimensional “tiger nose” grille and more intricate detailing in the broader two-piece tail lights provide the UM with a confidence and sophistication that was missing in its predecessor.

Its cleaner, more assertive look is accentuated by the sheer size of the new Sorento – it measures a massive 4,780 mm long, 1,890 mm wide and 1,685 mm tall, with a wheelbase of 2,780 mm. This makes it some 95 mm longer and 5 mm wider (plus an 80 mm longer wheelbase) than the already-substantial outgoing model – although it is slightly lower, by 15 mm.

Kia Sorento new vs old 2

There are a few things that count against the UM, however. Those of you with an eye for detail will notice that it’s missing the XM’s panoramic sliding sunroof; it’s a touch impractical in our climate, but it would have been nice to have nevertheless. The 19-inch chrome wheels on this top-spec 2.4 HS variant are also rather ostentatious – we’d much rather have the classier two-tone Y-spoke items on the mid-range 2.4 MS model.

Inside, the differences between the two are even greater, with the new car introducing acres of soft-touch plastic (with faux dashboard topstitching, no less) that banish memories of the hard, scratchy stuff you’ll find on the old Sorento. You’ll also find a more organic design in here, with more upmarket touches – including a sportier three-spoke steering wheel – than in the utilitarian cabin of before.

Despite those differences, those familiar with the XM will feel right at home here, sharing items like the fully-digital Supervision seven-inch TFT LCD speedometer and multi-info display, as well as the transmission tunnel layout with the gearlever on the right and dual cupholders (with a sliding lid) on the left. A new addition on the new Sorento is the electronic parking brake and an auto brake hold function.


Previous-gen Kia Sorento XM (top) vs new Sorento UM (bottom)

At the rear of the cabin, the second-row air vents have moved from the B-pillar to the rear of the armrest console, while the fan speed controller for the third row is now a rotary knob. Handy levers have also sprouted along the sides of the cargo area to fold the second-row seats from the rear.

Meanwhile, the tailgate is now powered on the 2.4 MS and up, and gains handsfree operation on this 2.4 HS. The latter opens the tailgate if it senses the key in close proximity to the rear of the car (à la new Hyundai Sonata), rather than having users kick under the rear bumper, as is the case with most other systems.

Under the bonnet, these two are identical, so both are powered by a 2.4 litre Theta II CVVT four-cylinder petrol engine, mated to a six-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive. The new car actually makes slightly less power than before, at 172 PS (down 4 PS) at 6,000 rpm and 224 Nm (down 3 Nm) at 4,000 rpm.

Previous-gen Kia Sorento XM (left) vs new Sorento UM (right)

There’s also a 200 PS/441 Nm 2.2 litre CRDi turbodiesel offered on the new Sorento, but that’s only offered on the base-spec 2.2 LS, lacking the high level of equipment seen on this car.

With all that aside, let’s talk pricing – the new Kia Sorento 2.4 HS seen here is priced at RM175,888 on-the-road with insurance. That’s a huge near-RM20k jump from the RM156,800 that Naza Kia asked for the previous-gen model, although the increase in equipment, as well as the considerable improvement in looks and perceived quality goes some way towards making that up.

So, what do you think of the new 2016 Kia Sorento, and would you prefer this over the previous-generation model? Sound off in the comments section after the jump.

GALLERY: New Kia Sorento UM
GALLERY: Old Kia Sorento XM