The fourth-generation 2021 Kia Sorento will be arriving at dealerships in Canada this fall and those who go see it will find a fully transformed model. The company's most popular vehicle gets a transformation that can be described as major for 2021.
Yesterday’s presentation gives us the general picture of what’s new with the next Sorento. We’ll have the opportunity to come back to you with more details, but most importantly, our impressions of driving it once we get behind the wheel.
New platform and engines
The 2021 Sorento is based on the new N3 platform, which is lighter and more rigid than the previous one. The new platform has a 35-mm wheelbase, which translate into a more spacious interior (14 mm for the second row and 93 mm for the third row). Total weight is reduced by 3.1%, while the torsional rigidity of the structure increases by 4% compared to the outgoing third-generation model.
The new Sorento product offering also includes two new engines. First, a 2.5L 4-cylinder engine replaces the 2.4L block that has served the SUV for some time. The new unit delivers 191 hp and 182 lb-ft of torque, with Kia promising an average fuel consumption of 9.7L/100 km. The automaker points out that represents a 4.9 percent improvement over the previous model's 10.2L/100 km rating.
Then, a 2.5L turbocharged 4-cylinder engine with 281 hp and 311 lb-ft of torque comes standard on four of the model's six variants. It also offers improved fuel economy, with an estimated average rating of 9.9L/100 km. That's 10.5 percent better than the 3.3L V6 engine found in the 2020 model lineup.
Where we're losing something is in terms of towing capacity. The new Sorento peaks at 3,500 lb. When asked about that, Kia answers that the Sorento's capacity meets the majority of buyers' needs, and that now that the company has the big-capacity Telluride in its lineup, it could afford to take a "step back" with the Sorento.
Ultimately, the customers will decide if that’s a problem for them, but there’s no denying Kia has removed one selling point when it comes to the new Sorento.
The product offering for 2021 includes six variants: LX+, LX Premium, X-Line, EX, EX+ and SX. The 2.5L turbo engine comes into play starting with the new X-Line variant, which emphasizes sportiness. More details are to come regarding this trim, but we already know it benefits from a slightly higher ground clearance. It also features distinctive styling elements, as well as captain's seats in the second row.
Every 2021 Sorento comes with all-wheel drive, three rows of seats and an 8-speed automatic transmission.
Pricing will be announced shortly before the vehicle officially debuts in Canada.
What about those promised hybrid and plug-in hybrid variants, you may be asking? They will be available later this year. And if you're wondering why the U.S. is getting the hybrid variant before us, it's because it will have a front-wheel-drive configuration. Only later will hybrid (and plug-in hybrid) models with all-wheel drive come off the assembly line.
There’s also a complete transformation inside the new Sorento. The model can be delivered with a fully digital dashboard on a 12.3-inch screen. A blind spot monitor also shows images captured by the side cameras, in real time, when the turn signals are activated. We saw this system with the Telluride, for example.
Up to eight USB ports are available inside. As for the multimedia system screen, it can be either 8 or 10.25 inches, depending on the version or option selected. The UVO system and all its functionalities are included as well. In terms of security, just to give you an idea, two pages of the press release were devoted to the features that can be found with the model. It's comprehensive, let's just say.
Aesthetically, as you can see in the images, the design signature of the new Sorento is bold, especially at the rear with the lights composed of two sections. On board, new materials have been chosen, including satin accents.
As mentioned, the Sorento is a very important model within the Kia range, so it's not surprising to see the automaker give it so much attention.
At the same time, it’s expected to cede its spot as the brand’s top seller to the new Seltos in 2021.
For the rest, we'll be back with a full review once we’ve had a chance to get behind the wheel.