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Top used cars: Kia Sorento: The M-Class from Korea

Top used cars: Kia Sorento
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D he attack came as a bit of a surprise: With the Sportage and the Retona, Kia was not considered a contender for beauty awards or sales records. Together with Ssangyong you can find cheap leasing offers here and Asia populated the niche of cheap, slightly bizarre exotic vehicles among off-road vehicles. Everything was different with the Sorento.

Focus on the Mercedes M-Class

The people from Kia confidently announced that the Sorento can also be found in the newly launched M-Class from Mercedes here in my sights. That was not an empty promise, because both the pleasing shape and the thoroughly successful workmanship of the Sorento, in conjunction with the low cost price (from 26,970 euros), provided Kia with completely new experiences: delivery times of up to one year!

The diesel Sorento 2.5 CRDi sold so well that the presentation of the announced petrol models was postponed more and more in order to at least cope with the demand. The stock of used vehicles is correspondingly abundant today, and interested parties can currently choose from hundreds of offers.

Although more and more US import Sorentos with V6 petrol engines have recently hit the market, one should look to the diesel models concentrate, which are considerably less thirsty and easier to change hands when sold later. First of all, it is important to distinguish between the LX and EX - two equipment versions of the first model series: In the cheaper, but thoroughly properly equipped LX, a simple additional four-wheel drive is installed in the official German models. The EX models have an automatically activated all-wheel drive.

Kia Sorento is also good off-road

In both cases, the Sorento has an off-road reduction, and that is not an empty promise. Because as modern as it looks on the top, the base is solid: the Sorento stands on a sturdy ladder frame. Rear rigid axle and front independent suspension with coil springs ensure proper off-road capability. The Sorento proved this as early as 2002 in our super test, where it presented itself as a real expert.

One handicap of the first series is the very tightly tuned chassis, which not only limits the twisting in the terrain. The suspension comfort cannot convince all around, especially on bad roads and paths. Retrofit shock absorbers or a complete chassis can help. That should be the caseTreat Sorento not only for reasons of comfort, but also because of the moderate elevation of three centimeters. Because the low ground and abdominal clearance are the Korean's biggest shortcoming in off-road use.

The CRDi engine installed in the first series is completely sufficient with 140 hp for the Sorento, which weighs 2056 kilos. If you still want more, you should look around for the popular facelift model that was introduced in 2006. There the revised four-cylinder with 170 hp and 392 Newton meters not only brings significantly more life into the booth, the chassis has also been reworked from relentless to cuddle factor. This means that the facelift Sorento leans more noticeably in curves, but travel and piste comfort has clearly improved.

There are slight compromises in terms of space, the Sorento is not a giant. The choice of materials, workmanship and noise insulation are right - the Kia is a pleasant long-distance partner. The low consumption matches this. If you take it easy, you can travel a hundred kilometers with 7.5 liters of diesel. Another reason speaks for buying used: the completely new Sorento, which Kia presented in April 2009, shares the frameless platform with the Sportage. Off-road drivers and trailer drivers will not be happy about that.

Body check

No special incidents: The rust prevention on the Sorento is decent, and the vehicles available are still relatively young. Flash rust on frame and chassis parts is harmless. Oil leaks are hardly known. Occasional corrosion can occur on the sills in the area of ​​the rear side doors. Because the ground clearance is not outstanding in series production, the underbody should be checked carefully for damage caused by touchdown. The cross member under the gearbox in particular likes to collect dirt in the field.


The engine is inconspicuous and, with correct maintenance, a long-term runner, which can be bought without hesitation even with high mileage . That doesn't quite apply to the transmission: overloading in heavy trailer operation annoy both the switch and the automatic Sorento in the long run. The gears have to shift cleanly and without scratching, and the automatic transmission has to change levels gently and without jerks. Also check the reverse gear! The speed-dependent power steering can occasionally work too stiffly due to a sensor error. The 2.5 CRDi runs smoothly and, above all, economically. The first model generation with 140 hp delivers completely sufficient performance. The facelift version with 170 HP from model year 2006 is better for the sidecar company and those interested in performance.

Spare parts

The prices for original spare parts are at a relatively low level. However, wearing parts such as brake pads are more expensive. Large aggregates such as exchange engines and gearboxes are surprisingly cheap. The offer toUsed spare parts - for example for body repairs - is very poor, the Sorento is still too young for that. If not already installed, the Kia should be given an improved chassis. Ordinary dampers can be had for around 350 euros, and a complete chassis with lift springs and dampers is on the market for around 850 euros. A complete service checkbook is mandatory in order to guarantee the documentation of the technical improvements.

Price range

EZ 05/2002, 160,000 km The Sorento is also in demand used, the first models are for around 8,000 euros.
EZ 03/2006, 35,000 km A facelift model with 170 hp and few kilometers changes hands from 15,000 euros.

Drive technology

The Sorento LX has a simple, rigid additional all-wheel drive, the more expensive EX has automatic all-wheel drive. The differences are easily recognizable on the selector switch, which has only two levels (4x4 auto and low) on the automatic all-wheel drive. Models imported in gray can have different features.


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