Hybrid Power, More Safety, Better Looks
The 2021 Kia Sorento is the latest in the South Korean brand’s crossover renaissance, coming on the heels of the compact Seltos and a bit adrift of the ever popular Telluride. But the latest Sorento, the fourth generation of the nameplate, is a much bigger step forward in its segment than the two well-received models that came before it.
Where the Telluride and Seltos have resonated with customers without fundamentally changing the game, the Sorento arrives in a hotly contested segment with a number of innovative features and compelling technologies. The hybrid model, for example, is turbocharged. And if you want a plug-in, a Sorento with 30 miles of all-electric range and standard all-wheel drive will arrive late next year. Inside the cabin, the standard three-row layout introduces the captain’s seats for the first time, while outdoor enthusiasts will appreciate the robust new X-Line trim. And of course, the Sorento is smarter and safer than ever. Read on to find out more.
Exterior design: make the wave
The 2021 Sorento eschews the harsher lines of the Telluride in favor of a blend of the design featured on the Seltos and the new K5 sedan. The traditional ‘Tiger Nose’ grille is on hand, flanked by angular headlights reminiscent of the Seltos – the powerful LED position light is not as aggressive as the K5, but it complements a clean and sleek fairing for the crossover from Kia.
The profile has a number of flashy touches, from the subtle side grille to the wave-shaped pattern on the C-pillar – available in a gloss black or polished silver finish depending on the trim. A strong character line at the bottom of the doors complements the black cladding below, giving the Sorento a slightly rugged appearance. The greenhouse, however, is a contrast, with a sleek roofline and lean D-pillar.
The 2021 Sorento eschews the harsher lines of the Telluride in favor of a blend of the design featured on the Seltos and the new K5 sedan.
Our favorite touch, however, comes at the rear, where the Sorento builds on the taillight design that Kia introduced on the Telluride. There is depth to these two vertical lights, with the exterior part integrated into the rear fenders while the interior lights are part of the tailgate. This element features strong styling, from the crease at the bottom just above the prominent “SORENTO” logo to the crisp lines around the license plate housing. The bumper, on the other hand, takes an Audi-style approach, with silver elements meant to mimic exhaust housings.
Interior design: Oh Captain, My Captain
Fortunately, the Sorento is inspired by the K5 for its interior design. This sedan has one of the nicest interiors in its class, after all. The prominent silver shine on the climate vents can expand to include dashboard or door elements, although a nice matte wood – inspired by Telluride, no doubt – is also available for customers looking for a more finish. luxurious. And like the K5, the available 10.3-inch touchscreen is housed in a neat casing that blends in with the instrument cluster. Underneath are a pair of vertical air vents and a high center console.
For the first time, the Sorento will offer second row captain’s seats.
Depending on the trim, there is quilted leather padding on the outside of the seats and well-padded leather door inserts. The front perches look plush, but maybe the second row is the best seat in the house. While a seven-passenger arrangement is standard, Kia is offering captain’s seats in the second row for the first time.
It’s not an unusual option among larger crossovers, like the Telluride, but the Sorento is something of a middleman, dividing the difference between compact crossovers and large crossovers, while its third row is distinct among vehicles. of similar size. The captain’s chairs make it all the more interesting as a rival to the Ford Edge or the Nissan Murano.
Technology: do you want it all?
Like any new vehicle, the Sorento offers a complete technological suite. The touchscreen infotainment system, like the K5, comes in 8.0- or 10.3-inch sizes, the latter offering haptic feedback buttons on both sides of the screen. The larger screen also offers split-screen functionality, so when using Apple CarPlay, drivers still have access to native infotainment on the right side of the screen.
An available 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, also likely taken from the high-end K5 versions, completes the larger display. This is a first for Kia’s crossover line, and if the K5 is any indication, it will be a clean and engaging way to relay vehicle information.
Options include a 10.3-inch touchscreen and a 12.3-inch digital instrument panel.
There are a total of eight USB ports in all except the base Sorento (the LX has six), although we don’t know if these are older or newer USB-A sockets. In terms of audio, Kia promises a 12-speaker Bose audio system available.
Finally, Kia’s UVO telematics suite benefits from notable improvements. Connected routing uses cloud computing to provide drivers with the fastest route possible, taking into account expected traffic information and driver preferences. Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa integration is also available, so drivers can simply ask their virtual assistant to start their Sorento every morning. UVO can also warn drivers, via a smartphone app, when their engine is idling and even automatically stop the car after a predetermined amount of time. And if there is movement inside the vehicle, owners will receive a notification to check the rear seats.
Performance: Turbo. Hybrid. Hybrid turbo.
Kia is moving forward with four powertrains available for the 2021 Sorento, but two of them are somewhat familiar. Base models feature a 2.5-liter naturally aspirated four-cylinder that delivers 191 horsepower (142 kilowatts) and 182 pound-feet (247 Newton-meters) of torque – it works with an eight-speed automatic transmission. The top-of-the-line movement is a turbocharged version of the 2.5, which comes with an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission and develops 281 hp (210 kW) and 311 lb-ft of torque (422 Nm). Front-wheel drive is standard with these engines, while all-wheel drive is an option.
Kia promises healthy fuel economy gains with both of these engines, which suggests that the base plant will return 27 miles per gallon combined, a two mpg improvement over the 2020 model. The turbocharged supply, as for it is expected to yield 25 mpg combined, which is three more mpg over the old V6-powered Sorento.
Kia projects a total of 261 horsepower and up to 30 miles of all-electric range for the Sorento Turbo Plug-In Hybrid.
If fuel economy is really important, however, you’ll want a glimpse of the two electrified Sorentos. The standard hybrid model will be available at launch and pairs a turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine with a 44-kilowatt electric motor and 1.5-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery to generate 227 total horsepower (169 kW). A six-speed automatic sends power to the front wheels only, and the 39 cities, 35 highways and 37 combined aren’t very impressive – those numbers aren’t far removed from the larger Toyota Highlander Hybrid, which is also available. with all-wheel drive.
The most convincing option, in our opinion, is the new Turbo Plug-In Hybrid. You’ll get the same 1.6-liter turbo and six-speed automatic, but the power of the electric motor increases to 66.9 kW, while the capacity of the lithium-ion battery increases to 13.8 kWh. All-wheel drive is the only way to fly with this model, while Kia projects a total of 261 hp (195 kW) and up to 30 miles of all-electric range.
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While hardly a model known for its off-road performance, the 2021 Sorento will feature an X-Line variant with an 8.3-inch ride height. Meanwhile, a “torque-on-demand” all-wheel drive system, a locking center differential and standard hill descent control should give this sportier variant respectable capability in rough conditions.
Regardless of the finish, however, the entire Sorento platform benefits from a “lighter, stronger and more flexible” platform. Kia promises a 3.1% drop in total weight, which equates to 119 pounds. The N3 platform is expected to result in improved driving dynamics, as well as additional comfort through reduced noise, vibration and harshness.
Security: full protection
The 2021 Sorento promises huge improvements in active safety, with Kia touting a total of 16 different systems to keep its all-new crossover unfolded and shiny. Standard equipment includes typical reports such as forward collision warning with pedestrian detection and automatic emergency braking, a driver attention warning system and lane keeping. Perhaps the most innovative is the new Smart Speed Limit Assistant, which can adjust the speed of adaptive cruise control via a forward-facing camera or GPS navigation information.
However, digging into the options results in smarter and more advanced gear. However, Kia did not provide details on the availability of these items in the Sorento lineup. What we do know is that customers can upgrade the forward collision warning system to detect cyclists and operate at intersections when turning left.
The blind spot monitoring system can not only detect other vehicles, but can also apply the brakes to prevent the Sorento from changing lanes to another motorist. And a navigation-based version of Adaptive Cruise Control can slow the Sorento down before cornering, while Highway Driving Assistant uses speed limit data on federal highways to adjust the ACC setting.
Price and date of sale: to come
Kia promises to have everything but the Sorento Turbo Plug-In in dealerships by the end of 2020, but the automaker hasn’t announced pricing on any of its five versions (LX, S, EX, SX and SX Prestige) . That said, we don’t expect huge increases over the current model.
The 2020 Sorento starts at $ 26,990 for the base L, which Kia is abandoning. The LX variant goes for $ 28,090, while the S, EX, and SX are asking for $ 33,190, $ 35,490, and $ 40,090, respectively. These numbers give a glimpse of most of the Sorento lineup, but the SX Prestige complicates matters – it should easily hit $ 40,000 and could potentially hit $ 45,000 before options. This is simply an educated guess on our part, however. Look for much more on Sorento 2021 pricing in the coming weeks.
|2021 Sorento LX:||$ 28,000|
|2021 Sorento S:||$ 34,500|
|2021 Sorento EX:||$ 37,000|
|Sorento SX 2021:||$ 41,500|
|Sorento SX Prestige 2021:||$ 44,500|