Design & Technology

Stay cool and comfortable in the heat of summer June 25th, 2009

Jung, Woo-Chul By Ki, Chang-ju
Seat System Design Team

Ventilated seats for all-new Sorento
I was one of the research engineers of the seat system design team for the all-new Sorento. I’d like to tell you a little about the ventilated seats that’ll make driving more pleasant in the summer.

Even with air-conditioning, long distance driving can become uncomfortable on a hot and humid summer day. After driving for a prolonged time, most people will feel sticky and sweaty.

That’s why luxury sedans feature intergrated cooling/heating systems with seats that blow air to keep the driver comfortable.

This, of course, translates into extra cost and added weight which is why they are usually installed only in luxury sedans. To resolve both the cost and weight issues, Kia created a system in which air is blown directly from the seat. It was designed to provide the same quality of ventilation as systems in more expensive cars at a lower cost.

Let me give you a quick overview of the structure and mechanism of our ventilation system.


When the ventilated seat is activated, a motor inside the blower pushes out air via a duct to the seat cushion and back. This controls the seat’s temperature and dampness to provide greater comfort for the driver. The breathable seat offers three levels of ventilation which is controlled by the ECU module.

After development, I remember testing the system in a chamber with a temperature of 38℃ and 80% humidity. Those conditions are said to create the highest level of discomfort.

Based on various specifications, the system was activated under the conditions noted above. It could pass the test only if the temperature and humidity dropped to the targeted levels. Thanks to repeated testing and stringent testing standards, Kia managed to develop a ventilation system that keeps drivers and passengers cool and comfortable even on extended drives.


The mechanism behind the system is simple.

The system is activated by turning the ventilated seat dial switch (see figure above) to the left when the vehicle is in Key-on mode. The switch is located in the center console to the right of the driver’s seat. Ventilation force can be set to three levels using the dial.

The all-new Sorento’s ventilated seats ensure a comfortable and enjoyable driving experience, even in the hottest days of summer. Try it out for yourself when the all-new Sorento makes its debut in your area!

  • This sounds fantastic! Will this be a standard feature or an option? Which seats will have the ventilation?

  • Kamal

    Wonderful feature. optional or Standard? and on which models? When is the NEW Kia Sorento being launched in the United Arab Emirates?

  • Colin

    Thank you for your interest in all-new Sorento!
    also sorry for late reply.

    First of all, We don’t have any plan to launch all-new Sorento in UAE this year, so you might meet all-new Sorento in next year.
    Vetilation seat will be an optional choice and only for driver seat in EX trim.

    Than you!
    Have a nice day.

  • Dom

    Thank you for the information Colin. You really should upgrade the ventilation seats for at least the first two rows as an option.
    I live in Austria, Europe. I have a couple of questions :)
    When can we expect the new Sorento to hit the road in Europe? Will the cars come from the South Korean production facility? And finally, compared to the old Sorento, will it be in the same price range or more expensive?
    Thank you!

  • Colin

    Hi Dom,
    It’s pleasure to answer your question! : )
    We already have shiped the all-new Sorento to Europe. But we are not able to tell you the exact launching timing.
    It’s Because launching timing will vary from each country.
    If you need more information, you’d better to visit this site at some time (there’s no information about all-new Sorento yet)
    Price might be more expensive comparing to the previous Sorento.
    I suggest you to contact local dealer! They will help you up kindly.
    Thank you!

  • Dom

    Thank you for your kind answer. I have seen information from the dutch Kia homepage. Also under this url you can see that the prices, at least in Holland, are cheaper (
    It always depends on the taxes in each country I believe. Calculation is getting very complex within the european union. Well, we have LOTS of taxes here in austria :)

    I’m looking forward to the IAA in Frankfurt.
    You have been very helpful – thank you again.

  • Charles

    Hi there! This is an amazing feature! I can’t wait to see this in action, as I live in California – where we see 90 degree weather year round!

    Does anyone know when the new Sorento will arrive in the US? I read one place that they’re looking at September, but I’ve also been told December. I’m asking because I’m going to buy one as SOON as my they arrive at my Kia dealer!!!

  • Colin

    Hi Charles,

    Thank you for your compliment on the all-new Sorento’s ventilation seat.
    I had a chance to drive all-new Sorento, but, unfortunately, I forgot to experience the new function : )
    My colleague told me it is a great feature to keep you back dry and comfortable.

    The all-new Sorento will be launched in 2010 but we are not sure exact date yet.
    It will be produced in Georgia, so you might meet all-new Sorento soon after rolling out from Kia Motors Georgia.

    Thank you!

  • OJ

    What is the size of this vehicle, especially trunk space with seats down? What will be the mpg and cost in the US?


  • Surprising even the harshest critics, new Sorento has to be driven to be believed.

    The original Kia Sorento was a ‘landmark’ vehicle which took the Korean brand into a whole new section of the automotive
    market all around the world.
    Its style is innovative, durable,and so are its off-road abilities and value-for-money.

    The addition ventilated seats for all-new Sorento makes it a catch in the world automobile market..

  • Pingback: Features you would add..... - Kia Forum()

  • SgGuest201206

    Just bought a Sorento from Singapore, but as I read these articles, seems like the one I got doesn’t have these features.. and the dealer doesn’t tell about these..