New 2021 Kia Sorento Hits Dealerships in Time for Black Friday
The all-new 2021 Kia Sorento arrives in dealerships in time for some early Black Friday shopping. It is more powerful, more off-road capable, and more fuel-efficient than previous generations.
Kia’s seven-passenger, compact SUV will be offered in five trims: LX, S, EX, SX, and SX-Prestige and available with either FWD or AWD. Initially available with three powertrains, including a turbo hybrid, a PHEV will be introduced in the 2022 model year.
The top-of-the-line model for Kia is the SX-Prestige AWD with X-Line appearance package, a variant that further demonstrates the transformation of the Sorento into a more premium and tech-oriented SUV. The X-Line SX-Prestige AWD trim includes:
- Standard torque-on-demand AWD with center locking differential and downhill descent control, as well as snow mode;
- Increased ride height to 8.3-in. (1.0-in. increase over standard ride height); and,
- Exclusive bumper and exterior details, such as unique 20-inch alloy wheels and bridge-type roof rack
To demonstrate the potential of the X-Line, Kia recently introduced two extreme concept models: the Yosemite and Zion editions. They’re a strong message that Kia wants to compete with the likes of Jeep and Ford when it comes to off-roading.
The 2021 Sorento also demonstrates enhanced performance capabilities. There is a new 2.5-Turbo option with 281 horsepower and 311-lb-ft of torque mated to a segment-exclusive 8-speed wet-clutch DCT for more responsive around-town or mountain-pass driving.
There is also a new turbo-hybrid powertrain. It features 42 additional horsepower and nearly 50% better fuel economy than the outgoing Sorento base engine. It is the most powerful HEV in its class: 227-horsepower and estimated 37 MPG combined. Kia will also offer an available Plug-in Hybrid option with 261 horsepower and an estimated 30 miles of pure electric driving range.
The new Sorento has best-in-class passenger volume, which is important if you’re trying to ferry eight passengers. As this is a compact SUV, consider the third row to be the province solely of short-legged tweens and younger. There’s also more cargo room than the 2020 Sorento and available second-row captain’s chairs, allowing buyers to select either 4+2 or 5+2 seating.
As this will be a family hauler, it’s nice to see more advanced driving assistance systems available. The 2021 Sorento now offers as standard: forward collision avoidance assist, lane keeping assist, lane departure warning, and rear occupant alert.
One feature I can’t wait to test (safely) is the available new blind spot collision avoidance - parallel exit. It uses the rear-corner radar to detect a collision risk with parallel traffic when leaving a parking spot. The system applies emergency braking and cautions the driver through the cluster and an audible alarm.
I also want to see real-world use of the available safe exist assist. It can alert the driver or passengers opening their door not to exit the vehicle when the system detects approaching traffic. When detected, a chime sounds. The system can intervene to lock the rear doors when the vehicle is equipped with available power child lock.
Keith Griffin covers Hyundai and Kia at Torque News. He has been writing continuously about cars since 2002. Keith used to be a researcher/writer for US News & World Report, as well as numerous car sites, including Carfax and Car Gurus, and a contributor to The Boston Globe. Most recently, Keith was the managing editor for American Business Media. Follow Keith at @indepthauto on Twitter, on @LinkedIn and on his Indepth Auto Facebook page.