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Discussion Starter #1
The Fall/Winter 2005-2006 Issue of Motor Trend picked the Kia Sorento as the Compact SUV Winner over 15 entries.

Just got hold of Motor Trend's 2005/2006 Fall/Winter issue with their Editor's Choice and Best in Class Awards. Here are the picks:

1. Among Compact SUVs (an enigma considering they originally classified the Kia Sorento as midsize), the Kia Sorento is the winner, with the Ford Escape as honorable mention. The category included 15 SUVs, including the Honda CRV, Toyota Rav4, Jeep Wrangler, Ford Escape, Land Rover Freelander, Mazda Tribute, Mitsubishi Outlander, Suzuki Vitara XL7, Chevy Tracker (Grand Vitara), Chevy Blazer, Jeep Liberty, Nissan Xterra (2004 model), etc.

2. Midsize SUV was broken down into 3 subcategories:
a. Midsize Under US$35K winner: Toyota 4Runner (Hon. Mention: Chevy Trailblazer)
b. Midsize Over US$35K winner: VW Touareg (H.M: Acura MDX)
c. Overall Winner: Lexus GX 470. (H.M. Volvo XC90)

3. Fullsize SUV winner: Dodge Durango (H.M. Toyota Sequioa)

It's noteworthy that the 4Runner and the GX470 are, really, the same vehicles and is known locally as the Toyoto Land Cruiser Prado. The Lexus, though is the high tech version, with better suspension and variable height adjustment, etc. Of course, the V8 engines make a world of a difference as well.

The Sorento surprises because, first, MT used to classify it as midsize, although by what measure remains a mystery:

If by size, the BMWX3 Mercedes M Class, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Isuzu Rodeo, Lexus RX330 have similar dimensions, but they remain in the midsize category.

If by engine displacement, the Sorento's 3.5 liter V6 is certainly bigger than the X5's 3.0 liter or the Isuzu Rodeo's 3.2 liters or the Lexus LX330 or the Toyota Highlander's 3.3 liters, etc. So why is the Sorento under compact?

The only thing compact about the Sorento is its base price of under US$20 grand (with all the add-ons, it goes up to over US$30,000, however - so this criterion can be deceiving).

In 2003, MT failed to include the Sorento in their Car of the year shootout (was it because they did not get a hold of a test unit in time for the tests?). In 2004, they kind of recognized its performance in a comparo between the Jeep Liberty and Suzuki XL7 (The Sorento came in 2nd for best balance between on- and off-road performance). It didn't qualify for the 2004 COTY because it was no longer a NEW SUV for 2004.

For 2005, they give it "Best compact SUV (see above). What gives?

Other winners, FYI:

1. Ultimate Performance SUV: MB G500 (HM: Porsche Cayenne Turbo)
2. Compact 2WD Ext Cab Pickup: Toyota Tacoma PreRunner (Hilux?)
(Hon. Mention: Chevy Colorado (Isuzu D-Max?)

The only SUVs not represented in the mix are the Nissan Patrol and Nissan Xtrail. Well, if you include the other korean marques, the SSangyong Rexton, Korando pair as well.

Fellow owners of Kia Sorento in the Philippines, rejoice! The 3.5 EX model has been an excellent choice for me. I've driven it for 15,000 kms since I bought mine in June and have had zero problems. More than half of those miles were driven over awful roads (have you driven the Quirino highway in Bicol recently? Well, I drive over it at least twice a month -- and I don't really slow down when I pass over deep ruts) and offroad. I visit real estate that is 26 kms away from the nearest dirt road and traverse some pretty bad boulder/dirt hills to get there (Caramoan peninsula, if you must ask).

So far, the worst thing to happen was a tiny squeak coming from the front end after such a trip. Back in Manila, I rocked the Sorento sideways a few times, trying to find the source of the squeak, and, lo and behold -- the squeak's gone. On my next tune-up, I will consult Bong of Signet about this very trivial issue, just in case it comes back.

When I first got the Sorento, it used to cost me a tankful and some (of premium unleaded) to get from Quezon City to Naga City (about 450 kms or about P2.400). Six months and 14,000 kms later, it now costs me about 3/4 of a tank of gas to cover the same distance. The owner's manual does, in fact, point this out, that as the engine gets "settled," gas consumption will improve. In June, I got 5-7kms per liter. Today I get 6-9 kms per liter, depending on the mix of driving I do (city and hiway).

With all the hype other brands are doing for their SUVs, it's unfortunate the Sorento is not getting the accolade it deserves; I know Kia probably does not have enough marketing pesos to spend for what they perceive to be a limited market for their ladder-frame/solid axle/traditional SUV (Philippine drivers, being more biased towards riding comfort/soft ride/van-type city driving, will default on the softroaders and crossover type SUVs as well as the AUVs pretending to be SUVs kind.

With the diesel LX version, I expect to see more Sorentos on the road. On my daily commute along Edsa (QC to Makati), I'd be lucky to see 1 or 2 other Sorentos on the road (I see at least 1 Sorento in the Signet Boni showroom, if it's any consolation. IN the Makati area, I see a couple, if I were to stand at the corner of Ayala and Makati avenues a good 4-6 hours in a day.

Also, local car mags haven't updated their prices. The Sorento EX 3.5 liter now retails at P1,520,000 no longer P1,380,000 (old price). The diesel models range from P1,090,000 to P1,190,000, according to my Kia Makati friend.

This is like a call in the wilderness: Are there other guys out there (Philippines) with Sorentos? Would love to hear from you.
 

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Hey Swim,

That was an informative post that you just provided and I might add - encouraging - on the fuel consumption comment.

I did get my Sorento EX V6 in late June 2004 if only to beat the price increase to P1.52M. I used it for a few weeks and I was off to the US for a work-related trip. I came back home to spend Christmas, and of course to enjoy the Sorento again, only to return to the US in mid-January 2005.

It is a guzzler alright but after reading your story on how gas consumption improved over time, I just can't wait to drive it all over town when I get back. But I don't mind spending the gas money if only to get a kick out of the adrenaline rush when you push the pedal to the floor.

I think the odometer is at about 1,800km or thereabouts so I have a long way to go before the engine gets "settled". The dealer tells me that the first routine check-up will be at 7,500km so again I have to do a lot of driving before then.

Here's an amusing story - I was lining up before a BPI ATM when another car owner parked nearby and asked all sorts of question on the Sorento. I thought he was also trying to do an ATM transaction and offered to resume the talk after I do my thing with the ATM. He said no thanks, and just said he had been looking for a Sorento owner to interview as has was thinking of buying one. I think the Diesel was his target because of the price. When I got back to the car, my wife was chuckling and she saw how the other guy was pointing to the car in an animated fashion and with eyes glowing, pretty much like a kid in a candy store. I just told her that what I feel for the Sorento is what she feels when ogling at jewelry.

Oh well, to each his (her) own.

Happy driving!

By the way, I didn't go for the other SUV's as I didn't want to be part of the "herd". At least there are two of us now in the wilderness.....
 

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Discussion Starter #3
At long last Rocky79B, a fellow traveller (to Sorento, Italy?)!

With less than 2000 kms on your log, yeah, you've got a ways to go. I got my first tuneup at the 10,000 log (mainly because the manual said first 10,000, not 7500 as specified by local Kia), and noticed the significant improvement in consumption.

I've been enjoying the same unsolicited attention in the Sorento. Everytime I drive along EDSA, there's always at least a couple of Everests or CRVs or xTrails and Patrols who trail a distreet distance from me, obviously checking out the Sorento. In parking lots and carwashes, it gets lots of attention as well. I removed all identifying marks on my Sorento (blacked out center caps on wheels, no Kia logo at front and back, no Sorento EX markings - I do not want to be a promotional billboard for any brand) so I often get puzzled looks and you see them checking out the rear end for a brand or logo and then, -- knitted forehead and all -- check out the front end. They're obviously disappointed because it's not there and they're left to guessing. Which is fine with me.

I see a few Sorentos running along EDSA once in a while. Makati probably has the greatest concentration of these babies. I expect (and hope) the diesel version will increase the density, though, I wish Kia salespeople would explain that the trucklike ride of the Sorento is not for everybody.

But yes, again, you're right, the Sorento's 3.5V6 packs quite a punch; I get a kick out of leaving the heavily-touted 3.0V6s of the Accords, Camrys and Maximas in my asphalt-laden dust (I know they're faster, but for kickin' acceleration, we beat them with our considerable torque). You can just imagine my consumption when driving in the city.

You've just recently been there so you know this as well. I was in Soutehrn California before Christmas and was heartened to see Sorentos on many roads -- almost the same trim and features as ours, except that their EX model gets power everything (and a sunroof as option), including seats, automatic a/c, heaters galore and a fulltime 4wd. Oh well, guess you can't have everything.

They did retain the engine, suspension and brakes for the Philippine model, though, which is dandy. Back to the US, apparently, the Sorento is turning out to be one of the most popular SUVs for 2004 in the US, it being affordable (around US$30K fully loaded with its base model at less than US$20K), giving hope to Kia that it's poor quality reputation in the US, will finally be reversed. The Sportage, apparently, will reinforce this notion, if I were to base it on the early US reviews of the vehicle.

Back here at home, I've proven for myself how the Sorento's old/traditional body-on-frame design is the ideal for my kind of driving -- which is, over severely dilapidated roads leading south from Manila.

I'm glad you're enjoying your Sorento as well. The skittishness of the ride over broken surfaces is due to its relatively short length and the unsprung weight (it rebounds) given its solid axle configuration. In other words, the Sorento, for all its well-put-together interior and exterior, is still, a truck. Which is exactly how I like it and what I need. For ths looking for a family hauler, they may be better served by a CRV.

And, as you very well know, it's a looker.

If you were to try sitting inside the other SUVs, the Xtrails interior sucks, the CRV's looks weird (shift on the dashboard), the RAV4's is dark, Forester's is like a 10-year old car, the Everests is very obviously a pickup trucks (in diesel guise, with diesel vibes). The Escapes and Tributes is nice, though still cheap compared to the Sorentos.

The Sorento's interior feels more substantial than even the new generation Pajeros (beacuse the Sorento's "surround" you and you don't feel like sitting above, as in the Pajeros). Ditto for the patrol.


Check out this other forum on 4x4ph.com to listen in on what other people say about the PHilippine version of the Sorento:

http://4x4ph.com/forum/index.php?act=ST&f=3&t=2727

Glad to know you're around and in the forum. Hope more Sorento owners will show up here.

Have fun!
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Browsing the net, I also came across offroad.com and the (US) Northwest Automotive Press Association (NWAPA) 2005 MudFest, both credible authorities in their own right. Here are their SUV winners for 2005:

1. Under US$25K Category Winner: Kia Sorento
Runner-up: Hyundai Tucson

2. US$25K to $35K Category Winner: Honda Pilot
Runner-up: Subaru Outback

3. US$35K to $45K Category Winner: Jeep Grand Cherokee
Runner-up: none

4. Over US$45K Category Winner: Land Rover LR3
Runner-up: Volvo XC90

For all the details, visit
http://www.off-road.com/events/nwapa/2004m...zapwinners.html

Some observations:
The Kia was NWAPA's Under $25K SUV since 2003; Hyundai's is all new for 2005

The Pilot and Subaru are both of 3 year vintage.

The Jeep Grand Cherokee is all new for 2005 and a hands-down winner.

The Volvo has been 2 years running in these annual awards; the LR3 brand new.

Sorry, not quite done yet. Edmunds.com also chooses their category winners. They post their historicals as well , so here goes:

SUV UNDER $25k
2005 Winner: Chevy Equinox
2004 Winner: Kia Sorento
2003 Winner: Ford Escape/Mazda Tribute

SUV UNDER $35k
2005 Winner: Toyota 4Runner
2004 Winner: Ford Explorer/Mercury Mountaineer
2003 Winner: Honda Pilot


SUV UNDER $45k
2005 Winner: VW Touareg
2004 Winner: VW Touareg
2003 Winner: BMW X5

SUV OVER $45k
2005 Winner: Land Rover Range Rover
2004 Winner: Land Rover Range Rover
2003 Winner: Land Rover Range Rover

visit them at
http://www.off-road.com/events/nwapa/2004m...zapwinners.html

The Sorento is getting noticed. Clearly, Kia's getting its act together. The Sportage is getting rave reviews abroad as well. Even the Kia Picanto is number 1 over 10 other competitors in the UK (by Autocar UK). Check out the Autocar ASEAN magazine (it reprints UK articles from their UK edition) for October 2004. It beat entries from Fiat (Panda, 2nd), Seat (Arosa, 5th), Vauxhall (Agila, 3rd) Rover (Cityrover, 8th), etc. Hooray for Kia!
 

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Hi, guys.

I'm curious about after-sales service, because (don't know if you've read my other posts but...) I've been having a hell of a time getting my own CRDi here, and it's not for lack of trying. I'm still waiting, and still getting frustrated by the lack of pre-sales service.

Still, I try, because I've test-driven it and I do like the ride. And I love the cabin; well thought-out, spacious, comfy. Perfect for my frequent out-of-town trips, especially with the 4-wheel drive, and with the diesel engine, economical.

My worry now though is that when I finally get mine, if I have any problems with it whatsoever, can I expect the same dismal service from after-sales? I know they like to play up their warranty but the truth is it's no different from the warranty of most of the other SUVs out on the market (if they mirrored the 10-year warranty in the US, now THAT would be a different story). Plus, I'm quite discouraged by my experiences so far with the Manila dealers.

Any feedback will be greatly appreciated.
 

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I'm glad to read the commendations on the Sorento. I'm very happy with mine (EX V6) and have had no problems with it at all. Kias have had a cheap and unreliable image in the past. The Sorento has changed all that. I also hope the new Sportage makes it to our shores soon. Together with the Sedona, Kia seems on its way to becoming 1 of the top 5 automakers in the world (their announced goal) this decade.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
jgotangco: Could you tell us a little bit more about the Picanto and your experience with it? My cousin is looking at it as a replacement for his old Mazda. Is it worth the P440K or would it be better to just upgrade to a Hyundai Matrix as the car salesman is trying to make us believe?

The Picanto looks nice, both in and out and topped the UK survey for subcompacts in last year's Autocar issue. I've checked out the interiors and it looks much better than its price suggests. How's performance and overall quality, specially on the road? Would you recommend it?
 

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I would recommend it if it still was 375,000 (the price I bought for the A/T). I really hate the fact that the price rose sharply since last year with no big change in specs. It would have been much acceptable if the 440,000 price if it was already all power, airbags, and ABS (full featured picanto). But if we're going to price, the Matrix would be at par with the Jazz. I go for the Matrix only because it was designed by Pininfarina. If it didn't have the Pininfarina tag, it wouldve been much cheaper.

But going back to the performance of the car, it is surprisingly good for its size and price. The suspension is quite capable on the terribly laid out roads by the DPWH. The legroom of the passengers at the back are adequately comfortable for long trips. You won't be able to bring a lot of stuff at the back but for trips to the grocery, it's perfect. I really recommend it for families not more than 4 (with kids not teeners).
 
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