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Kia Sorento: What's the story behind the model name?

Is Kia's Sorento large SUV named after the town in Australia or Italy?

The first thing we did when trying to figure out the meaning of the Sorento badge was to ask Kia Australia.

“No idea” was the simple reply. Beyond, that is, the obvious connection with towns such as Sorrento in Victoria, Western Australia and, of course, Italy.

Since the Sorrento on the Bay of Naples is the best known globally, and Kia is definitely a global company, it would stand to reason that it’s the Italian Sorrento that Kia was referencing.

And there are plenty of precedents for car companies naming sometimes hum-drum cars after exotic resort locations: Ford Capri and Cortina; Chevrolet Malibu; Triumph Dolomite. So why not Kia Sorrento?

That gains weight when you consider that – depending on who you talk to – the town of Sorrento was named after the Sirens that inhabited the area according to Greek mythology.

And if the PR spin is to be believed, Kia picked up on the Sirens’ legendary powers of attraction to describe it’s alluring full-sized SUV.

So why then, did Kia manage to spell Sorrento incorrectly?

The Sorento was first introduced back in 2002. The Sorento was first introduced back in 2002.

Even Tina Arena managed to get the spelling correct on her 1995 single 'Sorrento Moon'. Although, ironically, despite being born to Sicilian parents, Ms Arena was actually singing about the Victorian Sorrento in the song, and the film-clip was partly filmed at Sorrento back-beach, south of Melbourne.

By spelling it with one 'r', Kia instantly put all those theories in doubt, because even the Australian Sorrentos are double 'r'.

Maybe saving a few cents on each badge was a thing in South Korea back then. Rs don’t grow on trees you know.

So what of Kia?

The next generation Sorento is expected to land in Australia later this year. The next generation Sorento is expected to land in Australia later this year.

That’s a bit more interesting because even though it’s one of the shorter words on the planet, 'Kia' is actually a two-part word.

The 'Ki' bit is a way of saying 'coming' or 'arising from' while 'a' is either 'the East' or 'Asia'.

Which is a heck of a lot less esoteric than a mis-spelt Italian resort town.