Kia transforms the Sorento from minivan-esque to muscular with the reimagined version of its mid-size crossover. With a squarer silhouette and more assertive exterior details, the new generation looks a lot different than the one it replaces. Although full details are still forthcoming, Kia has revealed that the latest Sorento will have more interior space and offer a hybrid powertrain. The cabin design looks to be an improvement over its predecessor, too, with slick digital interfaces and snazzier styling throughout. Slotting between the 10Best-winning Telluride and the compact Sportage, the 2021 Sorento is expected to further bolster an already impressive portfolio of Kia SUVs.
What's New for 2021?
The all-new Sorento is expected to make its debut at the Geneva auto show in March. Disguised and undisguised spy photos and several official images of the Kia have given us a pretty good idea of what to expect from the redesigned mid-size crossover. Its boxier proportions and bolder styling mark a stark departure from the curvier and softer appearance of the current Sorento. The Korean automaker has also said that the next-gen model will ride on an all-new platform that helps make it bigger inside and out. It will also feature a hybrid powertrain as well as an eventual plug-in variant.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
- L: $28,000 (est.)
- LX: $29,500 (est.)
- S: $34,500 (est.)
- EX: $37,000 (est.)
- SX: $41,500 (est.)
Kia hasn't said how much the 2021 Sorento will cost or what trim levels will be offered. However, we expect that the lineup will mirror the current version and cost slightly more when it goes on sale, likely later this year.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
The Sorento lineup will feature a turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and an eight-speed automatic transmission. The engine is expected to develop 277 horsepower. All-wheel drive will be optional as well as a hybrid powertrain that pairs a turbo 1.6-liter four-cylinder with an electric motor. The latter produces 59 hp and combines with the gas engine to make 227-hp in total output. While we expect Kia to offer a base engine that's less powerful than both of these setups, the company won't say whether that's true.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
Neither the EPA nor Kia have released any information about the upcoming Sorento's fuel-economy ratings. We expect the hybrid to be the most efficient version, especially in the city where hybrids thrive. Once we get its government estimates and have a chance to test them on our 200-mile highway route, we can evaluate the Sorento's real-world mpg.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
The first official photos of the all-new Sorento's interior are a big departure from the current version's rather staid aesthetic. The dashboard on the top-of-the-line trim is dominated by a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster and a 10.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system. The rest of the design blends rhombus-shaped air vents, integrated ambient lighting, and intricately stitched surfaces on the door panels and seat inserts. The center console hosts a rotary shift knob as well as a drive-mode selector and other vehicle functions. A variety of cubby storage spots and cupholders also fill out the console. While we can't comment on how comfortable the cabin is until we ride in one, the Sorento's wheelbase has been stretched by 1.4 inches compared with its predecessor, and Kia said the extra length and new platform increase interior space.
Infotainment and Connectivity
With infotainment and connectivity features at the forefront of new-car technology, we expect the Sorento to support all of the most desirable content. Its 10.3-inch touchscreen is already employed on other Kia products, and it includes Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and a Wi-Fi hotspot. There should be no shortage of charging ports, even in the back seat, and a wireless charging pad will likely be on the menu. We also expect the Sorento to offer an upgraded Harman/Kardon sound system for those who prefer an upscale audio experience.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
The 2021 Sorento hasn't been crash tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). While Kia hasn't revealed what driver-assistance technology will come standard and optional on the Sorento, we expect it to follow in the footsteps of its other SUVs such as the Telluride. That means automated emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, and lane-keeping assist should be included on every model.
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
Kia has one of the most impressive warranty plans in the industry. However, it doesn't offer the complimentary maintenance that its corporate counterpart, Hyundai, does.
- Limited warranty covers 5 years or 60,000 miles
- Powertrain warranty covers 10 years or 100,000 miles
- No complimentary scheduled maintenance