Hot gusts of sprightly sunlight spurt like saintly curtains betwixt the cloud cover that lurks low over the egregious expanses of England before me. As 2010’s mileometer clicks over from summer to autumn, so the weather becomes as icily indecisive as a dual dicked Dalmation, one moment blasting glistening gasps of sunlight towards terra firma, the next sluicing the scenery with wet wafts of pointed precipitation.
In such predictably unpredictable conditions where second guesswork becomes as pointless as a mangled missile there is nothing so warmly reassuring as being clasped to the warm bosom of four-wheel drive. I therefore count the lucky stars in my metaphorical bag of blessings that the steed I am pedalling today apportions power to all four paws, since I am literally in Sorento. That name is no slip of the finger tips as I pound the PowerMac for I am not in some Italian idyll but instead presented before multiple miles of Eastern England’s most brutal blacktop that will shortly test the metal mettle of Kia’s strangely striking new 4×4. Time to see if it’s the full antipasti…
First impressions are of grunt like a gnu and a gearshift slicker than Don Draper’s hairstyle. The 2.2-litre TDI four banger may suck from the mucky pump but its muscular moanings are smoother Nigels Havers in a single malt sodden silk sock. Net result is that the Sorento can be rowed along like a supercharged speedboat in a squall.
So it scampers soundly in a straight line, but what’s it like at answering questions when the shifting gets twisty? The answer is, quite simply, not bad at all. The stiff shell soaks up suspension shocks like a solid sponge, allowing the McPhersons to strut their stuff as this tall and talented high rider flows through corners like a metal river.
I pile in hot to one seasoned switchback and slam shut the gas as the apex winks back at me. All at once the tall tail steps wide, I simply catch it with a dab of oppo and I’m away.
The Kia Sorento 2.2 CRDi KX-1 is a bitch. And I spanked it.
Troy Queef is Executive Associate Editor-At-Large for DAB OF OPPO magazine