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 |  Apr 02 2009, 12:14 PM

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Kia has chosen the Seoul Auto Show to officially take the covers off the new 2010 Sorento CUV and we’ll have to admit to being impressed. The new SUV is better in pretty much every way.

The new Sorento is built on an all-new platform that is longer, with a dash that has been moved further forwards and a tailgate that has been moved further rearward. The new SUV now has more legroom, headroom and shoulder room than the previous model, with 2.5-inches more headroom and 4-inches more legroom for third-row passengers. Trunk space behind the rear seat has also been increased by 15 percent.

The Sorento’s driving dynamics have been improved thanks to a body that sits lower by 10mm and a center of gravity that is 54mm (2.1-inches) lower. There is even a better feel from behind the wheel as the Sorento gets a six percent more direct steering rack.

Inside the crossover is impressively luxurious and features plenty of technological gadgets and gizmos, including a push-button ignition, navigation with a 6.5-inch LCD screen and the choice of a 6, 8 or 10 speaker sound system with a MP3 and iPod connectivity.

There’s even a panoramic glass roof.

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Safety features like HAC (Hill-start Assist Control) and DBC (Down-hill Brake Control) are also a part of the package, as is a back-up camera with images being transmitted to a screen on the car’s rear view mirror.

As for engine options, the Sorento will be offered with four different engines including a 2.7-liter V6 LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) powerplant available in Korea, a 2.2-liter diesel engine (with 194hp and 321 ft-lbs of torque) destined for international markets and a 2.5-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine that makes 173hp and 166 ft-lbs of torque.

Fuel economy should improve significantly thanks to a new six-speed automatic transmission. A five-speed automatic will also be available, and it’s not clear if it will be offered in North America (but likely will on lower trim levels). There is even a six-speed manual available, but that will most certainly not make it to the U.S.

And as expected, the Sorento will be available in 2WD and 4WD.

“With the new Sorento, we have created an all-new, seven-seater CUV that will soon be recognized as an ‘exciting all-rounder’ with a much broader customer appeal,” said Hyoung-Keun Lee, Senior Executive Vice President & COO of the International Business Division at Kia. “Despite the current economic uncertainties, we are confident that New Sorento will significantly increase Kia’s share of the utility vehicle market, achieving annual global sales of 140,000 units from 2010.”

GALLERY: 2010 Kia Sorento

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Official release after the jump:

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