New ‘Terrain Mode’ makes fourth-generation Kia Sorento more capable than ever


The fourth-generation Kia Sorento will be equipped with a newly-developed ‘Terrain Mode’ feature when European sales start in the second half of 2020.


Terrain Mode will provide Sorento drivers with improved traction, stability and control on mud, snow and sand, with dedicated new driving modes for each. The system will make all-wheel drive (AWD) versions of the new SUV more capable than ever across a range of low-grip surfaces.


Controlled using the Mode Select dial on the centre console, drivers can switch to Terrain mode to choose from ‘Mud’, ‘Snow’ and ‘Sand’ modes. 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 double-clutch transmission for diesel models, six-speed automatic for hybrid variants) to suit different surfaces.


Pablo Martinez Masip, Director of Product Planning and Pricing at Kia Motors Europe, comments: “The Sorento has always been a highly capable vehicle, and the new model demonstrates how Kia has evolved the car for the modern era. The first-generation Sorento, launched in 2003, paired all-wheel drive with a robust body-on-frame chassis, making it a solid performer in all conditions. 17 years on, the fourth-generation model uses advanced drivetrain technology to enhance its abilities further.


“The new 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.”


Snow mode: for winter sports and colder climes

The Sorento’s ‘Snow’ mode is ideal for drivers in colder climes, or for families who regularly engage in winter sports. Optimised to maintain forward momentum in low-grip, icy conditions, Snow mode limits torque output from the engine, while apportioning it as equally as possible between all four wheels. The traction control system (TCS) system carefully applies low levels of braking force to the wheels to optimize traction. Meanwhile, the transmission uses shorter shifts, keeping engine speeds down to prevent wheel slip.


Mud mode: for festival-goers and rural drives

Mud mode provides greater traction and control for drivers tackling muddy tracks and fields – the perfect solution for rural drivers, or even visitors to rain-soaked festival fields. To achieve this, the wheels are driven based on a slightly delayed shift pattern, 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 the mud.


Sand mode: for beach lovers

Sand Mode helps Sorento drivers more confidently traverse sandy tracks, beaches, and even deserts. It helps 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 Sand mode, the TCS also provides higher levels of braking force, enabling the system to distribute more torque to the wheels as required.


Kia Motors ( is a maker of world-class quality vehicles for the young-at-heart. Founded in 1944, Kia today sells around 3 million vehicles a year in over 190 countries, with 52,000 employees worldwide, annual revenues of over KRW 58 trillion (about US$50 billion) and manufacturing facilities in six countries. Kia is spearheading the transition to electric vehicles and pursuing mobility services to help tackle urban challenges around the world. The company's brand slogan – "The Power to Surprise" – represents Kia’s global commitment to surprise the world with exciting, inspiring experiences that go beyond expectations.

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