Kia Sorento 2015 review
Malcolm Flynn road tests and reviews the Kia Sorento SUV with specs, fuel consumption and verdict at its Australian launch.
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If I remember rightly, some years ago at its zenith, the Holden Jackaroo was voted the best performing off-roader on bitumen by an Australian motoring magazine.
Somebody at HQ must have been going through the files because the Jackaroo's slightly distant successor, the Colorado 7, has been upgraded to match its outstanding off-road capability on the street.
In fact, the whole range of Colorado trucks and SUVs has been given the once-over taking it to a new level of comfort and convenience. Holden Director of Marketing, Bill Mott says the Model Year 15 upgrades have improved Colorado's urban drive comfort and further increase its widespread appeal.
"The Colorado range has a great reputation for off-road driving and we want to ensure this translates into urban and highway driving too," he says. "While customers enjoy the reassurance they get from driving a very capable 4x4, they should also enjoy driving it on everyday errands and weekends away.
"The reduction in powertrain noise across the range and the introduction of a tailored comfort suspension on the Colorado LTZ truck ensures that driving a Colorado is both a comfortable and enjoyable experience in any environment.
"Finally, as we remain committed to providing outstanding customer value, we have managed to do all this while maintaining our 2014 prices in addition to continuing to run our very competitive capped price servicing offer."
Colorado LTZ models exude an air of luxury inside the cabin
To take the rule to these claims I was put in possession of a top-of-the-range Colorado 7 LTZ diesel automatic, which goes to market at $50,990, plus on-road costs.
With its contemporary twin grille with mesh inserts, chrome surrounds, large colour bar and prominent Holden lion emblem, the Colorado 7 LTZ has rugged looks to match its off-road ability but, with the latest in projector lighting up front, chrome power fold mirrors, door handles, fog lamp surrounds and window detailing it is not out of place among the latest automotive city slickers.
Colorado LTZ models exude an air of luxury inside the cabin with additions including new, heated leather-trim seats (optional on Colorado LTZ Crew Cab).
Enhanced surroundings come via an upgraded Jet Black instrument panel, centre console, and soft-touch door trims and armrest, while the centre stack and steering wheel trims are now a premium piano black.
Through Holden's MyLink drivers can connect to Bluetooth and access apps keeping them tuned into music, news, other entertainment and navigation.
At first glance there appears to be no satellite navigation via the 7-inch touch screen. But on closer inspection, Colorado owners can access BringGo, a navigation app that provides access to 3D maps, turn-by-turn directions, and points of interest, emergency contacts and more.
Bluetooth connectivity means the touchscreen can be used to wirelessly stream audio files for playback from a paired mobile phone or Bluetooth device allowing access to 1000 contacts and missed or recent call history.
Embedded apps include Pandora, Stitcher and TuneIn allowing owners to create their own personal stations, stream their favourite podcasts, radio shows and news, and listen to the world's radio from wherever they are.
Apple iPhone users can use Siri Eyes Free Mode via a paired compatible Apple smartphone to get Siri to select and play music, hear and compose a text message, read notifications and add reminders.
Last year, the Colorado range took on a new 2.8-litre Duramax 2 diesel engine offering more power and torque – with six-speed automatic transmission an impressive 147kW and a maximum 500Nm – the latter across the entire curve, making it one of the best in class. Fuel economy remains the same, or is slightly better, across the range of SUVs and trucks.
Enhanced transmission calibration includes shift stabilisation in uphill and downhill modes and grade braking control preventing unnecessary shifting between gears when travelling uphill, and suitable shifting when travelling downhill to minimise braking.
Active Select allows the driver sequentially to shift gears manually via the centre console-mounted gear lever. Chassis control systems such as Trailer Sway Control and Hill Start Assist, as well as a Descent Control, give the driver confidence in difficult situations on and off road.
An electronic part-time transfer case is activated by a rotary switch on the centre console. It ranges from two-wheel High: two-wheel drive mode in which drive/torque is sent to the rear wheels only; Four-wheel High in which four-wheel drive mode generates drive/torque at all four wheels; Four-wheel Low, a four-wheel drive mode that incorporates a 2.62:1 ratio and finally Neutral: a position with no drive/torque supplied to the wheels, allowing the vehicle to be towed.
The more refined MY15 Colorado 7 maintains its five-star ANCAP safety rating, with front driver and passenger airbags, full length curtain airbags, the latter extending to the third row.
Electronic Stability Control, ABS anti-lock braking with Electronic Brake force Distribution and Hydraulic Brake Assist are complemented by Rear Park Assist and a reversing camera, making the wagon one of the safest of its kind.
There is little to rattle a calm cabin ambience with a reduction in powertrain noise over the previous model, while the entire Colorado range also benefits from wind noise improvements after intensive wind tunnel testing.
There are also refinements to that off-road bonus, Hill Descent Control, and the street-smart Hill Start Assist, which offers driver confidence in releasing the brake pedal on tricky inclines when setting off.
Off the mark, the Colorado 7 doesn't set the pulse racing, but once up to speed the big SUV is in no danger of being left behind in town or country traffic. Grabbing the gear lever and taking charge of shifts adds little to the driving experience.
As for fuel consumption, In 50 kilometres of urban action the Colorado 7 diesel consumption ranged between 13.0 and 15.0L/100km. Over a similar distance on the motorway, the figure floated between 5.0 and 6.0L/100km: it's the consummate cruiser.
The '7' in Colorado's name refers to its seven-seat capability. Seating arrangements include a second row 60:40 three-seat bench and 50:50 separate seats in the third row. All seats are on the firm side and could wear out their welcome on a long run.
Holden has successfully done what it set out to do
The backs of this row fold flat to allow for extended load carrying space, while the second row tumbles forward to further increase this and allow for easy passenger access to the back row.
With the third-row seatbacks up, there is enough room for the children to enjoy enough freedom to be able to get up to some mischief there, but luggage space behind is strictly limited.
Holden has successfully done what it set out to do and that is add improvements to its Colorado 7 SUV that smooth out facets of its off-road ruggedness and broaden its appeal by making it more family friendly.
|LT (4X4)||2.8L, Diesel, 6 SP AUTO||$20,555 – 30,990||2015 Holden Colorado 7 2015 LT (4X4) Pricing and Specs|
|LTZ (4X4)||2.8L, Diesel, 6 SP AUTO||$22,949 – 32,990||2015 Holden Colorado 7 2015 LTZ (4X4) Pricing and Specs|
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