2021 Kia Sorento three-row crossover gets more tech and hybrid engine

Kia has upped the ante again for three-row crossovers, and we don’t we don’t mean the Kia Telluride. The South Korean automaker debuted the redesigned 2021 Kia Sorento for the European market on Wednesday, and the most significant changes apply globally. 

The looks of the Sorento have evolved. The new crossover’s nose is closer to the Seltos, with a creased hood, horizontal grille, stretched LED headlights, and angular front bumper. Along the sides, the Sorento doesn’t much hide its spacious interior, although an odd kickup next to the rear roof pillar continues Kia’s recent adventurous streak for design. Around back, the Sorento borrows liberally from the bigger Telluride, including vertical taillights, wide badge, and lower bumper with dual exhaust port outlines.

The 2021 Kia Sorento will sport new looks, a new engine, and a new skeleton when it comes to the U.S. later this year. The Sorento will be available with two turbo-4 engine options, including a 2.5-liter turbo-4 borrowed from the new Genesis GV80 crossover that makes 277 horsepower with an 8-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. The hybrid comes with a 1.6-liter turbo-4 paired to an electric motor and six-speed automatic transmission that will make 227 hp combined. Front-wheel drive is standard, while all-wheel drive is available. 

Kia says more engines will be in the mail for the 2021 Sorento, including a plug-in hybrid version that could arrive after this year.

2021 Kia Sorento

The hybrid battery pack will be located under the floor to minimize the impact on interior space. In both seven-seat and five-seat configurations, cargo volume has increased 32%, according to Kia. The new Sorento is only incrementally longer than the version it’s replacing, but the 2021 Sorento’s wheelbase is about an inch longer than its predecessor and the engine compartment is more compact and its overhangs are shorter. This leads to more leg room for passengers in the first two rows, and more head room for the third-row passengers, Kia said. The second-row seats can slide forward and back by about 2 inches more that the outgoing model. 

Kia has improved the technology as well, to add to the family appeal. Two devices can be connected via Bluetooth, so one phone can be used to take calls while the tween’s phone can play the music. While an 8.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility is standard, a 10.3-inch touchscreen is available, along with a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster on certain trims. A head-up display, 12-speaker Bose sound system, and an ambient sound maker as well as mood lighting complete the feature options for the 2021 Sorento. 

The family hauler is loaded with active safety features, ranging from automatic emergency braking with pedestrian and cyclist detection to adaptive cruise control. Kia will specify standard equipment and pricing when the Sorento goes on sale late this year.