• THE PRICE IS RIGHT

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    KIA-SORENTO20131022AS I write this, a typhoonhad just went out of the country. But the weather is still not cooperating. Living on the northern border of Metro Manila, it is difficult to test a vehicle.

    But despite the fact that I live near flood-prone areas, I still had the time to check out the 2013 Kia Sorento 4×2 LX AT. This car gave me the chance to go around the Metro despite the deluge that Luzon was experiencing.

    The Sorento provided smiles during the gloomy weather. I was able to drive from our hometown and to traverse some flooded streets with ease because either the waters were not high enough or because of the midsized SUV’s improved dimensions. A proud stance of 1,700 millimeters tall and a ground clearance of 185 millimeters, along with large 235/65 R17 tires, made the Sorento stand tall and conquer the murky waters.

    Driving safely and confidently in bad weather is one thing; driving fast and safely is another. The Sorento, despite its size and high ground clearance, can still run fast but safely even in torrential rains, thanks to its excellent grip on the road.

    The Sorento 4×2 LX’s 2.2-liter, 16-valve, four-cylinder engine that has double overhead camshafts, common rail direct injection and an electronic variable-geometry turbo-charger (called e-VGT by Kia) with intercooler has shown that speeds over 100kph can still easily be attained in any weather (of course, it’s best to keep driving safely). That said, the engine is not much of a fuel-guzzler.

    During the typhoon, I got home from Makati—taking a longer route—faster than I expected, with a fuel consumption reading of 4.2 liters per 100 kilometers, or an amazing 23.8 kilometers per liter. This when the engine is capable of outputting 194hp at 6,000rpm and 436Nm at 2,500rpm—powerful for a vehicle of the Sorento’s size.

    Besides performance, another thing noteworthy about the Sorento is the comfort that it extends to its driver and passengers. Two air-conditioning vents are placed between the driver and passenger doors to ensure that everyone inside the cabin gets to enjoy the same temperature. The driver is given priority when it comes to comfort, thanks to a bucket seat with height adjustments. So even shorter drivers can stand proud when driving the Sorento.

    The car also has a casual feel inside, with fabric-covered seats and an audio system that is not much different from vehicles in this category—conveying the message that the Sorento LX is for everyone. The audio is good because it is iPod-ready, and there will be less cable wires dangling in the cockpit as the car’s auxiliary and USB ports come with pockets for music and mobile devices.

    What’s also nice about the Sorento is its simple steering wheel, which only has two buttons, one of which is for the trip meter. Clearly, safety was considered here.

    But the ultimate happy thought for the Sorento 4×2 LX is its price; P1.365 million. That is quite low compared to other vehicles in the same category, and this should give consumers a lot to be happy about when it comes to savings and value.

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