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2006 Kia Sorento 2.5CRDi XE

Sep 2006 - Third Report, First Off-Road Adventure (2,300 miles)

2006 Kia Sorento XE 2006 Kia Sorento XE 2006 Kia Sorento XE 2006 Kia Sorento XE 2006 Kia Sorento XE

Since day one I’ve been determined to get the Sorento’s tyres muddy and really test its off road ability. Well, now I finally have. Ok, it wasn’t perhaps the most extreme off-road adventure but hey, I have to rely on this car for my daily commute so I don’t want to knacker it. And besides, it’s probably much further off-road than most off-roaders ever go.

The lane behind Mike’s house gradually deteriorates the further you go along it. It turns from nicely tarmacced, through slightly lumpy to omigod I’ve trashed my undercarriage. Just the job for the Sorento to have a bash at.

We started at the top end which meant we’d be coming down the hill rather than up it. I say "we" as I was following Mike in his old Grand Cherokee...it’s always good to have a buddy in these situations. After a quick reccy on foot, just to check for any serious damage inducing obstacles, we set off.

The first bit was actually flat but full of large divots, puddles and mud so I switched the transmission to 4Hi using the rotary control knob on the dash, thus engaging 4-wheel drive, but keeping the standard high-ratio gearing. First gear was appropriate here as there were a few rocks and boulders which required avoidance but the Sorento ploughed through with ease.

As we approached the top of the hill the lane became much more grassy and rutted. Here we paused to switch to 4Lo. The Sorento requires you to be stationary and in neutral before low-ratio gearing will engage. With that done, we continued. At first, low-ratio first gear felt painfully slow so I changed up to second. However, as the incline steepened and the ruts became deeper I was soon back in first gear, grateful for the additional engine braking it provided. Unfortunately (or is that fortunately?), this downhill section was not particularly muddy so there were no real traction issues and we made it through unscathed. Fantastic!

Interestingly, when we reached the tarmac at the bottom we met a girl in an old Suzuki Swift with big alloys and deep spoilers coming the other way. "Can I get through this way?" she said. "Sure" we said "go for it". Snigger, snigger. No, actually, that would have been mildly amusing but we’re much more honourable than that so we suggested she turned around and found an alternative route.

The Sorento felt right at home on this terrain. The whole car felt really solid and well made. There were no clunks or bangs from the transmission or suspension and no creaks or groans from the interior trim. In fact, the only strange noises were the giggles and yelps from my eight year old daughter who was enjoying being bounced around in the back. The biggest disappointment was the fact that it rained later on and washed most of the mud off! Bugger. I guess we’ll have to do it again, up the hill this time.

Gav.


Jul 06 - First Report (84 miles)...More

Aug 06 - Second Report (1,080 miles)...More

Nov 07 - Fourth Report (24,300 miles)...More

Feb 08 - Fifth Report (27,600 miles)...More

Apr 08 - Sixth Report (31,800 miles)...More

Feb 09 - Seventh Report (47,000 miles)...More

Aug 09 - Eighth Report (49,500 miles)...More

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