2021 Kia Sorento First Look: Taking Inspiration From the Telluride

2021 Kia Sorento First Look: Taking Inspiration From the Telluride

It’s no secret that we love the Kia Telluride, our 2020 SUV of the Year, and we’re happy that the smaller Sorento is taking a page from its playbook and embracing some of its bold design cues. Now we learn the specifications of the revised 2021 Kia Sorento arriving in the United States, including details of a new hybrid variant.

Like the Telluride, the new Sorento has a boxy and prominent front end, and the new expansive grille makes its cup appear even wider. The headlights, now integrated into the radiator grille, offer “tiger eye” LED daytime running lights, which signify “the intense impression of the lines around a tiger’s eyes”. By pushing the A-pillar back slightly, Kia gave the Sorento a more windswept design. We can see the influence of the Telluride in the strong character lines, vertical tail lights and the model name written in bold type on the back of the SUV.

The mid-size SUV is based on a new, lighter and stronger platform. The new platform allows Kia to stretch the crossover wheelbase by almost 1.4 inches, allowing more interior space. Overall weight dropped slightly by 119 pounds and average tensile strength improved by 4%. Thanks to the new architecture, Kia can accommodate hybrid and plug-in hybrid powertrains.

The plug-in hybrid Sorento won’t be available until next year. But a traditional hybrid is available at launch. It consists of a turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine and a 59 hp electric motor, which work together to produce a combined peak of 227 hp. Kia says the Sorento hybrid is the most powerful of its kind in its class and estimates the model will handle fuel consumption figures of 39 mpg in the city, 35 mpg on the highway, and 37 mpg combined.


Previously, the Sorento offered 2.4-liter four-cylinder and 3.3-liter V6 engine options. For 2021, these have been replaced with two different four-cylinder options, each displacing 2.5 liters. The former produces 191 horsepower and 182 lb-ft of torque, which it sends to the drive wheels by means of an eight-speed automatic transmission. Fuel economy is estimated at 27 mpg combined, or 2 mpg compared to the old base engine. The second, a turbocharged unit, develops 281 horsepower and 311 lb-ft of torque and is based on an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. At 25 mpg combined, this mill is 3 mpg more efficient than the previous V-6. Maximum towing capacity is 3,500 pounds on this model. Both new engines are available with front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive.

When it finally arrives, the Sorento plug-in hybrid will be able to travel 30 miles on pure electricity, according to Kia. It uses a turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine and a 90-horsepower electric motor, which represents a combined peak power of 261 horsepower. All-wheel drive is standard, as is a six-speed automatic.

Kia is offering the new X-Line trim to Sorento buyers looking for something a little more rugged. This variant increases the ground clearance by an inch and improves the angles of approach and departure of the crossover to better help it to think outside the box. The Sorento X-Line also receives an all-wheel drive system with a central locking differential, hill descent control, X-Line-specific 20-inch wheels and a more robust roof rack. The X-Line kit is available on the top of the range SX-Prestige version. Other available 2021 Sorento trim levels include the LX, S, EX and SX.

The new interior of the Sorento is fantastic. There’s a rotary shifter, an optional 10.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system, and an optional 12.3-inch digital instrument panel. Buyers can also get soft leather seats, along with metallic inlays or open-pore wood accents. Kia notes that the new Sorento offers more legroom and cargo space than before. Six and seven seat configurations are available.

Standard safety features include a forward collision warning system, lane keep assist, lane departure warning and rear occupant alert. Additionally, blind-view monitors help drivers change lanes more easily by providing a video view of adjacent lanes in the dashboard.

The 2021 Kia Sorento is expected to go on sale later this year. Pricing hasn’t been announced yet, but we expect the SUV to start above the current model’s $ 28,110 base price.

The first glimpse of the Kia Sorento after 2021: Taking inspiration from the Telluride appeared first on MotorTrend.

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