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Sorento has pulling power.

Byline: By David Whinyates

If I had the cost of a night's camping for every time I've been asked about the Kia Sorento's towing abilities, I'd be able to meet my site fees for months on end.

As a motoring writer driving an endless variety of different cars you become accustomed to being stopped by complete strangers and asked about the car you're driving.

But the cars which arouse the most interest are usually high performance machines which most drivers might wish they could drive but which, in reality, few can afford.

That's certainly not the case with the Sorento, for this is an eminently affordable SUV ( an absolute steal, if the truth be known, when you consider its towing abilities.

Here's a car which will do pretty much everything a Merc M-Class or Land Rover Discovery 3 will do, but at a fraction of the price.

It even undercuts the perceived lower-cost alternatives to the prestige brands, such as the Mitsubishi Shogun and Nissan Pathfinder, by a couple of grand across the range.

And right now, with a revised and more powerful 2007 version just arriving in showrooms, there are some real bargains to be had at dealers who still have stocks of the outgoing model with as much as pounds 6,000 off top of the range 2006 models and almost pounds 2,500 off entry level models.

That means you can get a full-size, four-wheel-drive tow car for between pounds 16,000 and pounds 20,000. The new range is going on sale at the same prices as before.

And, frankly, although the more powerful newcomer has a number of improvements, including more power and torque, improved performance and an even higher, 3000kg maximum towing weight, it's difficult to find too much wrong with the original.

Over the last few months we've towed our fully loaded, 1,714kg MTPLM Bailey Senator well over 5,000 miles around Europe and the UK and the entry-level Sorento XE 2.5 turbodiesel took it all in its stride.

The 138bhp oil burner pulls effortlessly from rest and there's no evidence of turbolag ( just a smooth and progressive delivery of power helped by seamless changes from the five speed auto box fitted to the test car.

It is, perhaps, a little too quick to change down when tackling gradients and engine noise does increase on long, uphill hauls, but ( other than the usual diesel clatter on start up ( noise levels in general are low.

In fact on smooth tarmac surfaces, the lack of rumble from the tyres and absence of suspension chatter means the silence is uncanny.
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Copyright 2006 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Sep 1, 2006
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