Published on August 6th, 2017 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez


Remember the Kia Sorento Diesel?

Now some 14 years later, this SUV’s asking price has fallen to silly levels and some buyers are keenly looking at it, so we have decided to offer some friendly used car buying advice for this diesel off-road rider.

This Kia Sorento Diesel arrived in 2003 at a time when the SUV craze in Malaysia was starting. It sold very well due to its looks. The Sorento certainly looked the part having the design lines of the more exclusive Mercedes M-Class. Local brand owner Naza Kia sold the Sorento with a high level of standard equipment, with it being fitted with anti-lock brakes with electronic brakeforce distribution, twin front airbags, air conditioning, electric windows and tilt/slide sunroof. As well as a limited slip differential, there are neatly integrated front fog lamps, a sensible alloy wheel design and roof rails. The interior quality of the Sorento was quite good with soft touch materials and a quality feel. Only the low quality wood veneer trim fitted to the dashboard and the slippery ‘leather’ spoils the final luxury effect.

Most first owners are urban drivers where off road activity was never thought off. Still, a full under gear check is necessary with a detailed look underneath for scuff marks and jungle damage. Also, peel away the carpet from the side of the door kick panels to check for water damage. Also check the boot floor under the carpet. Kia plastics can be an issue after a few years if not looked after. Cracked and marked plastics should be a sign for an abused vehicle. Replacement can be expensive and not a plausible option. Another area that should be checked are the electrics. At the dealers yard make sure you have a friend with you on the outside of the vehicle to check if all the lights and signals are working and not forgetting wipers and your internal electronics like power windows and side view mirrors.

A highway test drive is needed to check the suspension to ensure that it is not too soft. Also with a highway test drive you can check to make sure that the 4-speed gearbox changes up effectively and also downshifts smoothly when slowing down. Make sure you test the Sorento in a car park to see if the steering turns with no noises and after parking it wait a few minutes and move it to see if there are any leaks on the floor and with the hood open check for hissing noises. Also check the oil filler cap to make sure that the oil residue is clean and with no metal flakes or water on it. Kia official manufacture figures when new showed a consumption of 8.5 to 9.4 L/100km on economy driving, which isn’t at all bad for a large and well built 4WD SUV like this however this figure will probably be impossible to achieve after all these years.

If you manage to find a decent urban used Sorento diesel from 2003 you will be looking at a price not more than RM18,000 and as low as RM5,000 with some tough negotiations for a first batch model.

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