The 2020 Kia Sorento Black Edition is the swansong special for the soon-to-depart third-generation large SUV from South Korea.
Goodbyes are always hard, but for the hard-nosed car buyer, that means blood in the water. Couple that with an unexpected global economic shock and you’ve got cars to shift.
Special editions are a good way to do that and the Sorento’s final special is the rather attractive Black Edition.
How much is a 2020 Kia Sorento Black Edition and what do I get?
Kia Sorento Black Edition V6: $49,190
Kia Sorento Black Edition AWD diesel: $52,960
Most of the time these specials are based on a particular spec with a few extras thrown at them but for this one, it’s hard to tell. Kia says the spec sits between the SLi and GT-Line. Seems legit.
For your money you get 19-inch alloys, a six-speaker stereo, dual-zone climate control, reversing camera, front and rear parking sensors, active cruise control, sat nav, auto headlights and wipers, panoramic sunroof, fake leather interior, heated and folding power mirrors and a full-size spare.
The Black bit means those tasty black alloys (reminds me of the blade designs in the 747-8’s GEnx turbofan engine), gloss black grille and roof racks, dark chrome door blades and black side mirror covers. The extras looks great in this Snow White Pearl and you can also get Aurora Black and Silky Silver (all for $595 extra). Clear white is a freebie.
Six speakers doesn’t sound like very many for a car this big, but they do the job. You get DAB digital radio thrown in as well as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The 8.0-inch touchscreen works well, the base software isn’t bad at all (it’s shared with Hyundai, right down to the font) and it’s easy to use.
Safety – 5 stars (ANCAP, October 2017)
The Sorento scores six airbags, ABS, stability and traction controls, forward AEB (low speed), forward collision warning, lane departure warning, lane keep assist and driver fatigue warning.
Slightly stingily, it’s missing a few key bits like reverse cross-traffic alert and blind-spot monitoring which I reckon will be standard on the new fourth-gen model. Don’t ask me why, it’s just a feeling.
You also get two ISOFIX and three top-tether anchor points for the baby and child seats. There are neither of these on third row.
Warranty and Servicing
7 years/unlimited km warranty
7 years/105,000km fixed-price servicing
Kia’s excellent – and industry-leading – seven year/unlimited kilometre warranty runs alongside fixed-price servicing for your first seven services. With service intervals at 12 months/15,000km, if you’re an above average mile muncher, it won’t go the full distance of the warranty.
The seven services cost $3081 or $440.15 each (roughly) which is a bargain for such a big bruiser.
Roadside assist starts you off with 12 months and is extended for another year every time you service with Kia.
Look and feel
The Sorento is a big unit but never really looks as big as it is. It’s a bit slabby from the side but this version is way better looking than its predecessor. This Sorento has a visual link to other cars in the range, most notably the Sportage, which is a quite striking machine. The big imposing grille looks great in black, as do those awesome wheels. It’s looking its age out the back, though.
I’ve gone to town with the interior photos so you can see all the cabin space and configurations. For up to five passengers, there is a ton of room in here. The middle row is swimming in space and will be fine even for surly 17 year-olds. Comfy, too, are all the seats except the third row. They’re a bit upright and you’ll have your knees in your face if you’re over 120cm. If you need all seven seats all the time, get a Carnival.
And I’m not saying Carnival because it’s another Kia but because it’s the best people moving device under a million dollars, basically.
Let’s not forget the figures – six cupholders, four bottle holders, a big centre console and boot space for days. You start with 142 litres, move to 605 with the back row folded away and then with two rows down, you get 1662 litres, which I think is probably a tad conservative.
Drivetrain and Chassis
You can have the Sorento in 2.2-litre turbo diesel or with the big 3.5-litre, naturally-aspirated Lambda II petrol V6.
An all-alloy unit, it produces 206kW at 6300rpm, and 336Nm at 5000rpm. That’s not a ton of torque, but given it’s front-wheel drive only, the off-road capability is somewhat moot.
The transmission is Kia’s own eight-speed automatic to help shift its 1875kg mass.
There’s nothing startling to report on the chassis, but the big 19s come with Hankook Dynapro HP2s measuring 235/55.
The brakes are huge, with 320mm ventilated discs up front and 305mm solid discs at the rear.
I’ve driven a few Sorentos in my time and have always come away impressed with the way it handles its bulk. When you’ve got runaway best-sellers like the Kluger in your class – surely the most boring large SUV on offer today – you have a big target to hit.
And Kia hits it. The 3.5-litre V6 is easily a match for the Toyota’s under-stressed unit. It sounds a heck of a lot better too, although it’s not backed up by a fun chassis.
Which is perfectly reasonable. The electric power steering is nicely weighted and set up well for both city and highway driving and won’t ever tell you a fib. Those big brakes haul the big thing down from big speeds without drama and the suspension keeps everything in check.
It’s lovely and quiet, too. I’d have this over the much more expensive Toyota any day.
It’s a very nice car to get around in. Comfortable seats, simple straightforward controls and a lovely smooth V6. You can do a lot worse.
King of the kids is, obviously, the Toyota Kluger. While I don’t like that car very much, it’s a very solid choice with a five year warranty, good build quality (despite its US origins) but it’s very soft and lifeless. And drinks, hard. Looks good in its Black Edition equivalent. Pricey, though and still doesn’t have Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.
Hyundai’s Santa Fe is similarly up for replacement soon, but the sister car is already a generation ahead, so it’s just a (big) facelift. I’m a huge fan of the Santa Fe, which does cost a bit more but it’s flippin’ loaded, even at the cheap end of things.
Mazda’s CX-9 is gorgeous, has a grunty 2.5-litre four-cylinder turbo and is just lovely. Only problem is, Mazda fits crap tyres, which on the FWD is a problem in the wet. Apart from that, it has a beautiful interior, is great to drive and feels just right. Costs a lot, though.
If you’re not bothered by the very latest and you need/want a seven-seater with a lovely petrol engine, do it. You can probably twist a grand or a few off the price at the moment, too, so you can’t ask much more than that.
Peter Anderson is the Editor and founder of the theredline.com.au. He’s been writing about cars for years and finds it difficult to talk about anything else.