Kia Sorento (2009): first official picture from Seoul

Published: 02 April 2009

What’s new on Kia’s Seoul motor show stand? 

The firm wheeled out star designer Peter Schreyer to help unveil the all-new Sorento. Surprisingly, the compact SUV looks uninspired. And inside it was a letdown with scratchy plastics giving it a utilitarian feel of Kias past. Schreyer’s influence was more obvious on the second new car on the Kia stand. Called the VG it’s a handsome-looking BMW 5-series sized saloon. A production version is being launched at the September 2009 Frankfurt motor show. In its white pearlescent paint it looks the part. Sadly, it’s unlikely to back that up with a rip-roaring drive as it’s based on the front-wheel drive platform of the Hyundai Grandeur ocean-going liner.

CAR highlight

The white leather interior of the VG looked great for its Huggy Bear-style opulence. But the American designed Koup was in our view the best-looking car on the stand. And it’s close to production reality, too, judging by the number of disguised prototypes running around at the firm’s Namyang R+D facility.

What were they thinking?

Eco Dynamics is simply the Kia version of Hyundai’s Blue Drive. But as Kia revealed its version after its sister company, the green tech simply smacked of chronic me too-ism.

In a nutshell

Despite a bit of a blip with the Sorento, the VG and Koup prove Kia’s design renaissance is continuing. The firm is gradually shrugging off its dull but worthy image with a range of increasingly handsome products. Next up will be hybrid power plants to fulfil the Eco Dynamics strategy.

CAR's rating for Kia's stand: ***

>> Further live photos due from Seoul in the next few hours