Different than Telluride but oh so good.
The reveal of the 2021 Kia Sorento has been a bit disjointed, to say the least. After spy photos showed the new SUV completely undisguised, Kia decided to reveal it in full, holding off on essential details such as the powertrain. Kia was set to reveal the Sorento at the 2020 Geneva Motor Show but following the event's cancelation, the Korean automaker has now opted for an online debut. The latest addition to Kia's strong SUV lineup has finally been revealed in Europe, giving us a solid picture of what we can expect when the US version is revealed later this year.
This is far from the first time we've seen the Sorento's updating styling, which looks completely different than the larger Telluride. Kia could have played it safe by making this a "baby Telluride" but instead decided to take a risk by giving the Sorento a design language all to itself. A decision that we think has paid off. This is a great looking SUV.
Inside, the Sorento still packs three rows of seats, accommodating up to seven passengers. Like the exterior, the Sorento's interior is not just a straight copy of the larger Telluride's cabin. Kia has brought in an available mood lighting system with the same type of trim found in the smaller Soul. The high-quality cabin boasts an optional 10.25-inch (8.0-inches is standard) touchscreen infotainment system and an even larger 12.3-inch digital driver instrument cluster. Just like the Hyundai Palisade, the digital gauges have different designs for the car's drive modes and the lane change cameras take over when the driver uses their turn signals. A head-up display is also available to ensure the driver keeps his eyes on the road.
Kia has packed the Sorento with technology including Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and the ability to connect two devices via Bluetooth at the same time. Other convenience features include a wireless charger, Bose audio system, and seven USB chargers.
Safety is at the forefront of the new Sorento with high levels of active and passive safety technology. All of the usual safety goodies are found here but the Sorento also gets the Smart Parking Assist first seen on the Hyundai Sonata. It also features Kia's level two autonomous driving technology, allowing the car to brake and steer at speeds of up to 180 kph (112 mph).
Powering the new Sorento, for the first time ever, is Kia's new 'Smartstream' electrified powertrains in both hybrid and plug-in hybrid configuration. A 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder is mated to a 1.49 kWh lithium-ion polymer battery pack and 44.2 kW electric motor. Total output is around 226 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque, though we will have to wait for the SAE-rated specification.
Kia will begin selling the Sorento Hybrid in Europe from launch while the plug-in hybrid won't be available until later in 2020. Europe will also get a 2.2-liter 'Smartstream' diesel engine that won't be offered in the US. We expect the US market to receive the Sorento Hybrids but our base engine option will be a 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder producing at least 290 hp. Expect to see a US-specific reveal in the coming months.