All-New 2021 Kia Sorento Unveiled As 3 Models

The all-new fourth-generation Kia Sorento changes the game.  Again. Since its debut in 2002, the Sorento is one of Kia’s best-known and best-selling vehicles, becoming progressively more powerful, more attractive, better engineered and more technologically advanced in each new iteration. The 2021 model sets a new standard for Sorento’s sustained excellence and leadership in the compact SUV segment as the only vehicle in its class to offer the best estimated fuel economy for a 3-row SUV with 37 mpg combined.3

“Sorento has always been one of Kia’s premier products,” said Sean Yoon, president & CEO, Kia Motors North America & Kia Motors America. “Its combination of style, utility, safety and comfort have made it a perennial customer favorite. This stunning new Sorento sets the bar in the compact SUV class even higher and represents the pinnacle of Kia design and engineering. We’re extremely proud to add it to our line-up of incredible automobiles.”

The 2021 Sorento is expected to go on sale later this year and pricing will be announced closer to its on-sale date.

A Sorento for Everyone

The 2021 Sorento 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 next model year. The hero model is the X-Line SX-Prestige AWD, 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
  • Increased ride height to 8.3-in. (1.0-in. increase over standard ride height)
  • Exclusive bumper and exterior details, such as unique 20-inch alloy wheels and bridge-type roof rack

Stunning New Shapes

The exterior of the 2021 Sorento presents a study in stylish architectural structure defined by sharp, modern lines and accented with high-tech details – more authentic SUV than soft crossover. This evolution of Kia’s dynamic aesthetic is exemplified best in the following details:

  • Kia’s modernized “tiger nose,” with new “eyeline” DRL details and a wide grille extending into the headlight and hood structure
  • The hood edge wraps around the body side and integrates into the rear shoulder line, enhancing length and width
  • Standard LED headlamps and optional signature LED forward lighting includes daytime running lights. Headlamp and DRL modules are separated for a high-tech look
  • Strong side character line emphasizes muscular and athletic profile
  • Distinctive dynamic wave shape at base of the C pillar
  • Six different alloy wheel designs, from 17-inches to 20-inches, which is the largest ever for Sorento

The all-new interior continues the strong, solid and sophisticated sensibility of the exterior. Following a credo of “Refined Boldness,” the interior designers instilled the cabin with unexpected materials to cast a striking effect, including:

  • Bright satin finishes
  • Available metal texture inlays or open-pore wood inlays
  • Leather embossed quilt pattern on optional leather-equipped models
  • Eye-catching vertical center air vents impart a sense of strength and presence

A Strong Base to Build On

The 2021 Sorento is built on an all-new 3rd generation “N3” platform that is a lighter, stronger and more flexible design than previous models. Features include:

  • Increased wheelbase by nearly 1.4 inches for more interior space
  • Body-in-white weight is reduced by 5.6% and overall weight is reduced by 3.1% (119 lbs.)
  • Average tensile strength is improved by 4% compared to the previous Sorento
  • Improved driving dynamics, including acceleration, ride and handling, and noise vibration and harshness (NVH)
  • New aluminum bumper plate for improved durability
  • Distribution of impact kinetic energy forces through multi-load-path body structure
  • Versatility to accommodate alternate drivetrains, such as hybrid and plug-in hybrid (available in calendar year 2021)

Power to Choose

Four engines are offered on the 2021 Sorento, including two internal combustion powerplants and two electrified motors in both front-wheel drive (FWD) and all-wheel drive (AWD) configurations:

  • 2.5-liter GDI 4-cylinder
    • 8-speed automatic transmission
    • 191 horsepower and 182 lb.-ft. torque
    • FWD or AWD
    • AWD system uses torque-vectoring with center-locking differential to provide extra power to rear wheels in slippery conditions4
    • Estimated combined (city and highway) 27 mpg (2 mpg increase over previous Sorento)
  • 2.5-liter GDI 4-cylinder Turbo
    • Segment exclusive 8-speed wet dual clutch automatic transmission
    • 281 horsepower and 311 lb.-ft. torque
    • FWD or AWD
    • 3,500 lbs. of towing capability5
    • Estimated combined 25 mpg (3 mpg increase over previous V6 Sorento)
  • 1.6-liter GDI 4-cylinder Turbo Hybrid with 44 kW electric motor
    • 6-speed automatic transmission
    • 227 horsepower
    • 5 kWh battery
    • FWD
    • Estimated 39 MPG city / 35 highway / 37 combined
  • 1.6-liter GDI 4-cylinder Turbo Plug-in Hybrid with 66.9 kW electric motor (available in 2021)
    • 6-speed automatic transmission
    • 261 horsepower
    • 8 kWh battery
    • Estimated 30-mile all-electric range
    • AWD

Let’s Get Technical

Like all Kia vehicles, the new Sorento is loaded with an extensive list of popular technology, including:

  • Available 12.3-in. full digital meter cluster, a first for any Kia SUV
  • Surround View Monitor utilizes four cameras to provide a 360-degree perspective around the vehicle enhancing driver confidence in tight parking situations
  • Blind View Monitor projects live video view of adjacent lanes in the instrument cluster and activated via the turn signal (a Sorento first)
  • 8 USB charging ports (6 in LX)
  • 8-inch or available 10.25-inch high-resolution color touchscreen display6
  • Split-screen functionality
  • Available SiriusXM satellite radio
  • Available 10.25-inch inch touchscreen adds:
    • Haptic feedback buttons
    • New multi-connection Bluetooth7 wireless connectivity that allows connection of two phones simultaneously
  • UVO link telematics offers an array of advanced connected vehicle features, such as:
    • Connected Routing8: A new cloud-based route calculation system that uses UVO cloud to calculate the optimal route using real-time maps, predicted upcoming traffic info based on historical information and AI to learn the preferred routes of users
    • Connected Weather7: Provides weather information for more than 25,000 cities
    • Enhanced UVO voice assist feature allows voice control of the vehicle’s climate, seat and steering-wheel heating, audio system, and other functions
    • Connected User Profiles7: Allows customers to add an additional driver to their vehicle. The drivers can have their individual UVO accounts to the vehicle and access to the remote features using the Kia Access App. The profile stores some select settings on the UVO cloud and can be shared with other compatible Kia vehicles.
    • UVO & Smart Speaker Integration lets customers use Amazon-Alexa or Google-Assistant enabled smart speaker or device to remotely control some functions (such as remote start)
    • Advanced notifications:
      • Engine Idle Notification and Automatic Engine Shut Off notifies the driver via the UVO link app if the engine is left idling and, after a pre-selected time, turns off the engine
      • Rear Occupancy Alert can send push notification alerts via the UVO link app if movement is detected inside the vehicle
      • 911 Connect and Roadside Assistance will automatically attempt to call 911 via the built-in UVO modem if an airbag deploys. For non-emergencies, it can connect with 24/7 roadside assistance and share the vehicle’s location
    • Also available within UVO, for the first time on any Kia, are two new features:
      • On-demand Find My Car with Surround View Monitor7 uses the vehicle cameras to capture images of the vehicle’s surroundings and then share them via the Kia Access UVO app
      • Last Mile Navigation7 provides walking directions to the driver’s final destination if the vehicle is parked between 0.1 and 1.2 miles away
    • Bose9 Premium sound system, available with 12 high-performance speakers
      • Bose Centerpoint technology converts stereo sources into a richer surround-sound experience
      • Dynamic Speed Compensation analyzes the sound source and automatically adjusts according to speed
    • Available wireless smartphone charging10 pad with increased charge rates
    • Standard Rear Occupant Alert11 uses ultrasonic sensors engineered to detect child or pet movement in the second and third rows after the doors have been locked and then can notify the driver and surrounding area by sounding the horn and illuminating the hazard lamps


There are 16 “Kia Drive Wise” Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems (ADAS)12 that are either standard or available:

  • Available new Blind Spot Collision Avoidance (BCCA) – Parallel Exit: 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
  • Standard Intelligent Speed Limit Assist (ISLA): Automatically changes set speed of Smart Cruise Control by using the speed limit information detected through the front camera or GPS navigation information (when activated)
  • Standard Forward Collision Warning (FCW): Designed to detect a vehicle ahead in the lane and in certain conditions, calculates distance and closing speed to issue an alert to the driver if it senses a potential frontal collision
  • Standard Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist (FCA): Builds on FCW by assisting the driver when braking to help prevent a collision or lessen the effects in certain conditions if a vehicle or object is detected in front
  • Standard FCA-Pedestrian: Builds upon FCW functionality and helps detect pedestrians in front of the vehicle and uses automatic braking to avoid or mitigate an impact
  • Available FCA-Cyclist: Builds on FCW functionality and helps detect cyclists in front of the vehicle and uses automatic braking to avoid or mitigate an impact
  • Standard Driver Attention Warning (DAW)13: Senses inattentive driving patterns and sends an audible/visual warning to alert the driver
  • Leading Vehicle Departure Alert (LVDA): Alerts driver with a chime when the leading vehicle begins to move forward from a standing position
  • Standard Lane Following Assist (LFA): Follows lane markings that the system detects and provides steering inputs to help maintain the vehicle in the center of the lane
  • Available Forward Collision Avoidance Assist (FCA) – Junction Turning (FCA-JT): Assists the driver in braking to help prevent a collision or lessen the effects in certain conditions when turning left and an oncoming vehicle is approaching
  • Available Blind Spot Collision Avoidance Assist (BCA): Under certain conditions, can detect vehicles traveling in the next lane. When a vehicle is “seen” in the blind spot, the vehicle brakes the outer wheel under certain conditions to help return the vehicle to its lane
  • Available Rear Cross-Traffic Collision Avoidance Assist (RCCA): Helps detect most approaching cross traffic when in reverse. When approaching cross traffic is detected, the system alerts the driver and applies brakes
  • Available Parking Distance Warning-Reverse (PDW-R): Detects certain objects behind the vehicle, issuing an audible warning when an obstruction is detected. The warning tone chimes faster as the vehicle gets closer to the detected object
  • Available Parking Collision Avoidance Assist (PCA-R): Uses rear view camera and rear ultrasonic sensors to help detect most pedestrians or nearby obstacles when the vehicle backs out of a parking spot, warning drivers with a chime and can engage brakes to prevent a collision
  • Available Navigation Based Smart Cruise Control-Curve (NSCC-C): leverages the navigation system to lower the vehicle’s speed proactively before upcoming curves
  • Available Highway Driving Assist (HDA)14: Uses federal highway speed limit information from the navigation system and, under certain conditions, will automatically adjust speed to be within the posted speed limit and maintain distance with the vehicle detected in front
  • Available Safe Exist Assist (SEA)15: 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
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