"Kia Sorento comes out on top"

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The 7-seat Kia Sorento has emerged as the most impressive mid-size SUV on the US market following an exhaustive series of tests by the American equivalent of our Consumer NZ organisation.

The independently run Consumer Reports US has released its 2016 list of the Top Picks representing the ?best of the best?' from 260 vehicles recently tested across 10 categories.

The Kia Sorento not only came out as the Consumer Reports 2016 Top Pick in the mid-size SUV segment, its score was the highest of all the vehicles picked in the other categories.

For years Toyota Highlander has won the mid-size SUV category, but the latest Kia Sorento, launched as a brand new model in 2015, has now overtaken it.

Consumer Reports said of the Sorento, ?This is a great SUV hiding in plain sight. Most mid-sized crossovers often feel like uninspiring errand runners. But the Sorento offers class-above elegance at mainstream prices.

"It's a shade smaller than its mid-sized competitors, but that allows the Sorento to be city-friendly while still offering the space and features of a larger vehicle. The smooth 290hp V6 is responsive with competitive fuel economy, and the suspension absorbs the worst bumps and ruts with dignity while still giving you confidence in corners. The interior design is flat-out gorgeous. Well above average predicted reliability combines with good crash-test results. There?'s a new king of the category."

Consumer Reports is an 80 year old consumer rights organisation that undertakes product tests on thousands of items every year from cars to vacuums and TVs to refrigerators. It even has its own 327-acre automotive testing facility where it authenticates performance and other claims on behalf of its millions of members.

The high reliability rating for the new Kia Sorento mentioned by Consumer Reports should not come as any surprise because a similarly glowing review was released by internationally respected automotive consultants J.D. Power in its 2015 US Initial Quality Study.

J.D. Power named the Kia Sorento "Highest Ranked Mid-size SUV in Initial Quality" from its annual study of owner-reported problems in the first 90 days of new vehicle ownership, with scores based on problems that have caused a complete breakdown or malfunction, or where controls or features may work as designed, but are difficult to use or understand.

J.D. Power says, "The Sorento has both the fewest number of design-related problems and defect/malfunction problems in the mid-size SUV segment"

“The Sorento, Kia's 7-passenger midsize crossover SUV, has steadily improved its performance in the Initial Quality Study. The score of 81 PP100 (problems per 100 vehicles) in the 2015 IQS is a significant 26 PP100 improvement from 2014 and 33 PP100 better than segment average.”

The Kia brand as a whole was also praised by J.D. Power, which it rated second only to Porsche among all manufacturers for having the least amount of problems across its range of models.

New Zealand Kia Sorento owners can take considerable comfort from both the Consumer Reports Top Picks list and the J.D. Power Initial Quality Study, says Todd McDonald, General Manager of Kia Motors New Zealand.

“The Sorento and other Kia models in New Zealand share build quality sold in other markets around the world, including the United States,” he says.

Like the US, the Kia Sorento can now be experienced with a smooth and powerful V6 petrol engine, in addition to the 2.4-litre petrol and 2.2-litre diesel models, with all three matched to a six-speed, sequential shift automatic transmission.

The Kia Sorento is extremely well equipped, with satellite navigation, reversing camera, front and rear parking sensors, tyre pressure monitor and dual-zone automatic climate control are all standard across the range.

Recommended retail prices for the Kia Sorento start from $49,990 + ORC, and as with all Kia vehicles sold in New Zealand, it benefits from a 5-year/100,000km factory warranty programme and 24-hour roadside assistance.

Kia Sportage first SUV to achieve 2016 ANCAP safety rating

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The all new 2016 Kia Sportage has joined the Kia Carnival in passing the stringent 2016 ANCAP crash safety requirements, scoring a maximum 5-star rating in the process.

With the testing regime for the 2016 ANCAP programme having been further tightened compared to those carried out in 2015 and previous years, it is now much harder to achieve a top rating. The fourth generation Sportage easily achieved the 5-star requirements.

The Sportage performed well in testing, according to ANCAP Chief Executive Officer James Goodwin, adding that the 5-star rating applies to all model variants now on sale in this market.

ANCAP uses a range of internationally recognised crash tests and safety assessments undertaken by independent specialist laboratories.

A suite of crash tests is conducted to mimic the most common types of crashes, from frontal and offset collisions to side impacts. Vehicles must achieve high minimum scores across all physical crash tests for each ANCAP safety rating level in order to reach the 5-star level.

In all physical crash tests, dummies are used to scientifically measure the various forces on occupants and pedestrians. The data gathered from the dummies is then assessed and scores determined for each respective crash test.

In addition, vehicles are required to be fitted with certain safety assist technologies, such as Electronic Stability Control. For 2016, extra points are now awarded to vehicles fitted with Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB), which employs sensors to monitor the proximity of vehicles in front and activates the brake when it detects that a collision is imminent ? this feature is standard on Sportage Limited and GT Line models in New Zealand, as opposed to just one model (Platinum) in Australia.

The overall score is then translated into an ANCAP safety rating of between 1 to 5 stars, with higher scores and greater safety features awarded more stars. To achieve a 5-star rating, a vehicle must score a minimum of 32.5 points out of 37 ? the 2016 Kia Sportage comfortably surpassed that mark with 34.62 points.

Todd McDonald, General Manager of Kia Motors New Zealand, says the result underlines the ongoing efforts by Kia Motors to develop vehicles that are at the forefront of safety technology.

“The new Sportage had already achieved a Euro NCAP 5-star rating, with the test carried out at the end of 2015.

“The ANCAP test for vehicles sold in New Zealand and Australia has progressed a step further, with our Sportage achieving five stars under the more stringent rules applied in 2016,” explains Mr McDonald.

As well as performing well in crash tests, the new Sportage employs a range of latest technologies designed to avoid a crash in the first place. These include Blind Spot Detection, Lane Change Assist and Rear Cross Traffic Alert on all but the LX model. While the Limited and GT Line models not only gain Autonomous Emergency Braking, but also include Lane Departure Warning and Forward Collision Warning systems, as well as High Beam Assist, which detects approaching vehicles and automatically dims the headlights from high to low beam.

The Kia Sportage is available in New Zealand in four model variants, powered by a choice of either 2.0-litre and 2.4-litre petrol engines or a 2.0-litre common rail diesel engine.

Featuring a bold and distinctive exterior design, the Kia Sportage has already won two major design awards in Europe, including the ‘iF Design Award?' and the Red Dot award for design and innovation.

Recommended retail prices for the new 2016 Kia Sportage start from $35,990 + ORC, and as with all Kia vehicles sold in New Zealand it benefits from a 5-year/100,000km factory warranty programme and 24-hour roadside assistance.

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