One of the most exciting times for auto fans is the announcement that a popular vehicle will be undergoing a major redesign. This is certainly the case if the brand and make are especially popular, or the model has new features or utilizes cutting edge technology. Automakers understand this, which is why they are constantly making incremental changes to their current designs, ending production of unpopular designs, and even doing complete redesigns when they feel a model has fallen behind the times. Korean powerhouse Kia is no different, which is why 2021 will signal a new era for the Kia Sorento. This popular, 3-row SUV had already undergone a bit of an overhaul in 2019, but Kia has not been content to just leave things as they are and plans to unveil the 2021 Kia Sorento in South Korea in the next month. This will be followed by a rollout to the United States and other markets worldwide. This move is not surprising for Kia and is one of the reasons why it has been named by J.D. Power & Associates “Best Mass Market Brand in Initial Quality” for five straight years.
A New Sorento for a New Era
With a name that evokes the gorgeous Amalfi Coast of Italy and a style that is solid and dependable, the Kia Sorento first hit the market in 2002 as a compact SUV. Since then, the Kia Sorento has undergone a number of major changes over the years to where it is now, an affordable, 3-row midsize SUV. To date, Kia has sold three million Sorento SUVs worldwide, and this fourth generation of the model may yet be the most popular ever.
The current 2020 Kia Sorento has a base MSRP of $26,990, making it affordable for most SUV drivers. However, that price tag shouldn’t deceive you, as the Sorento has many safety and luxury features often found only in higher-priced vehicles. The current model of the Kia features standard 7-inch infotainment and connectivity system that includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Bluetooth, and an optional Harman Kardon sound system.
Electronic Brake-Force Distribution, active Electronic Stability Control, and Hill-Start Assist Control are standard, providing a high safety level for your Kia Sorento. This will give you the peace of mind that your vehicle’s braking and handling will not feel in some of the most difficult situations. Other available safety features include blind-spot collision avoidance, forward collision-avoidance assist with pedestrian detection, and rear cross-traffic collision avoidance, using the Sorento’s smart technology to better help you avoid collisions and minimize risk. Kia offers these on the Sorento over its five different trim levels.
The Kia Sorento is also fairly roomy for a vehicle of its type. The design of the Kia allows you to seat up to 7 passengers comfortably in its compartment, with improved access provided by a one-touch, slide-and-fold seat in the second row. If you need to haul cargo instead of transporting people, the current design of the Sorento allows you to up to 73 cubic feet of cargo in the space behind the first row of seats.
The 2021 Kia Sorento promises to take these key features, and improve them to the next level. Kia intends to do this without altering the price point of the Sorento, maintaining affordability over the different trim levels.
Moving in Style
Kia recently gave a sneak peek of the 2021 Sorento, and it was eye-opening. The new Sorento has a more distinct, futuristic look, from its full-width grille to its rear slope. The look is slightly more tapered than the current model, giving it a better aerodynamic profile. This should help improve the Sorento’s already impressive fuel economy numbers. The current Sorento has been rated to provide up to 22 miles per gallon in the city, 29 miles per gallon on the highway, and overall a combined rating of 25 miles per gallon.
The lines on the 2021 Kia Sorento also look crafted and sharper. This is one midsize SUV guaranteed to turn heads as it drives by, rivaling the looks of substantially more expensive, luxury midsize SUVs like the Porsche Cayenne, Lexus RX, and BMW X-5. The designers at Kia have achieved this without compromising the interior space of the Sorento. Early reports indicate that, if anything, the 2021 Kia Sorento will offer more cargo space than the current model. This has been achieved by graduating the taper of the vehicle. In addition, the seven passengers in the new 2021 Sorento will find it roomier and more luxurious than the 2020 model. This is because attention has been paid to efficiency in the design of the interior cabin.
The improved appearance of the 2021 Kia Sorento carries over to the choice of LED headlights and taillights. The headlights are set on a horizontal array above the grille that is both striking and effective. Drivers will have a better view of the road at night and in inclement weather. Kia has opted for a pair of split vertical taillights that will show up clearly to the driver behind you while contributing to the aesthetic appeal of the overall vehicle. Kia completes the package with the Sorento name spelled out on the bottom of the tailgate, and integrated exhaust finishers with reflector housings, giving the vehicle a rear profile not often seen in SUVs of its price class.
It is our understanding that the 2021 Kia Sorento will be built on a dedicated vehicle platform that will be unique to the vehicle. As a result, Kia’s engineers will not have to make any compromises with the vehicle that often occur when automakers use a platform for multiple vehicle types. Clearly, Kia understands that what works on a minivan or sedan will be counterproductive to the performance of a midsize SUV. The use of a dedicated platform shows that Kia is committed to making the 2021 Kia Sorento the best in its class of affordable, 3-row, midsize SUVs.
New Drivetrain Options for an All-New Sorento
Based on the images of the 2021 Kia Sorento released to the public, the new model will be available in both hybrid and plug-in versions. This will be a welcome addition to this excellent vehicle. As stated earlier, the Sorento already boasts exceptional fuel economy, and by giving the public the option for a hybrid or plug-in, Kia shows that it wants to improve on these numbers. As it stands, the Sorento already offers drivers the option of two different engines. The base model is a highly efficient 2.5-liter inline four-cylinder gas engine. This is offered on the Sorento L and Sorento LX models.
For drivers who want more power, the Sorento S V6, EX, and SX models come equipped with a 3.3-liter DOHC 24-valve V6. Early indications are that Kia will retain the 2.5-liter inline four-cylinder gas engine, but offer up to four different engine options for the 2021 Sorento. These may include a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline 4-cylinder gas engine, a turbocharged 2.5-liter V-6 gas engine, a 2.0-liter turbo-diesel, and 2.2-liter turbo-diesel. This may change between now and when the 2021 Kia Sorento is released to the public here in the United States later this year.
The current model of the Kia Sorento is front-wheel drive standard, with four-wheel drive available as an upgrade. This may still be the case with the 2021 Sorento. In addition, there are indications that Kia will upgrade the infotainment and connectivity systems for the 2021 Kia Sorento, with the possibility that it may include 5G LTE connectivity as that is rolled out throughout the country. Finally, if Kia decides to follow the trend of many other automakers, it may make a number of safety features currently available as optional upgrades standard on all models of the 2021 Kia Sorento.
From striking new looks to improved cabin space and new engine options, the 2021 Kia Sorento should be the model that takes this great midsize SUV into the next decade of automotive experience.