Kia's SUV game is stronger than ever before.
After being revealed in the European market earlier this year, the US-version of the all-new 2021 Kia Sorento has finally been announced. With new powertrains, bold styling, and even an off-road trim, it's bound to contribute towards Kia's hot run of SUV sales.
We've discussed the Sorento's styling before and it remains one of the best-looking crossovers in its segment with its tiger nose, broad grille, a distinctive character line along the side, and wheel sizes ranging up to 20-inches in size. A wheelbase longer by nearly 1.4 inches has helped to free up more space inside and Kia says that overall weight has been reduced by 3.1 percent relative to the previous version.
In terms of powertrains, the Sorento range is powered by a choice of four engines, starting with a 2.5-liter GDI four-cylinder with 191 horsepower and 182 lb-ft of torque. A turbocharged version of this engine delivers 281 hp and 311 lb-ft, and a super-efficient 1.6-liter GDI four-cylinder hybrid makes 227 hp and can achieve 39/35/37 mpg across the city/highway/combined cycles. In 2021, a 1.6-liter GDI turbocharged plug-in hybrid (PHEV) will offer 261 hp and around 30 miles of pure electric range.
All models offer AWD besides the non-plug-in hybrid, which comes with FWD exclusively.
The base model utilizes an eight-speed automatic transmission and the turbocharged 2.5L GDI has an eight-speed wet dual-clutch, while both the hybrid and PHEV versions use a six-speed auto.
The main trim levels are LX, S, EX, SX, and SX-Prestige. There is also the X-Line SX-Prestige AWD, which features a raised ride height (by one inch), bespoke 20-inch wheels, and a standard on-demand AWD system with both downhill descent control and a center locking differential.
In the cabin, the Sorento takes a step upmarket with bright satin finishes, available open-pore wood inlays, and available leather seats with an embossed quilt pattern. The newly available 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster is a first for any Kia SUV, and it's complemented by technologies like a surround-view monitor, a 10.25-inch touchscreen, wireless charging, and a Bose premium sound system. These features are trim- or option-dependent.
A more versatile interior features both 4+2 or 5+2 seating, along with available second-row captain's chairs.
The Kia Drive Wise safety suite is comprehensive, with standard items including forward collision warning, speed limit assistance, and driver attention warning. Available innovations comprise cyclist detection, blind-spot collision avoidance, rear cross-traffic collision avoidance, and smart cruise control linked to the navigation system that can automatically lower the vehicle's speed prior to reaching a curve in the road.
With its superior tech, a wider range of powertrains, and confident appearance, the Sorento is bound to follow in the footsteps of the bigger Telluride, which has proven to be a hit for the Korean marque.
Pricing will be announced closer to the Sorento's on-sale date, which will be sometime before the end of the year.