LONDON: Kia's fourth-generation Sorento sports utility vehicle (SUV) will be equipped with a newly-developed "Terrain Mode" feature when European sales start in the second half of 2020.
The Terrain Mode will provide drivers with dedicated modes for mud, snow and sand conditions to improve traction for the all-wheel-drive variants.
To select the mode, drivers will need to use the Mode Select dial on the centre console.
The system automatically optimises the drivetrain to best suit each scenario, adjusting engine torque output and distribution, as well as stability control characteristics.
Terrain Mode also adjusts shift timings for the two available transmissions (eight-speed dual-clutch for diesel models and six-speed automatic for hybrid variants) to suit different surfaces.
When in ‘Snow’ mode, the Sorento will look to maintain forward momentum in low-grip, icy conditions by limiting torque output from the engine, while apportioning it as equally as possible between all four wheels.
The traction control system (TCS) carefully applies low levels of braking force to the wheels to optimise traction.
Meanwhile, the transmission uses shorter shifts, keeping engine speeds down to prevent wheel slip.
For mud mode, the wheels are driven based on a slightly delayed shift pattern with the smooth application of engine torque throughout the AWD system, and stronger braking force applied via the TCS.
This helps the vehicle maintain momentum without becoming stuck in mud.
Finally, Sand mode helps drivers avoid the risk of the vehicle getting bogged down by matching higher levels of engine torque output with delayed up-shifts, distributing torque as evenly as possible throughout the AWD system.
In this mode, the TCS also provides higher levels of braking force, enabling the system to distribute more torque to the wheels as required.
“The Sorento is now more capable than ever and is designed to provide drivers with greater confidence and control at the wheel. The new model combines intelligent all-wheel drive and a strong monocoque chassis with new Terrain Mode functionality. It’s, therefore, quicker to react to changing conditions, and lets drivers enjoy more effortless progress,” said Kia Motors Europe product planning and pricing director Pablo Martinez Masip
The newly equipped Sorento will go on sale in the UK soon with more information to come.