2021 Kia Sorento: Here It Is

2021 Kia Sorento X-Line. Image: KiaThere’s a whole slew of virtual vehicle launches happening this month and next, and Kia took their turn today, unveiling the 2021 Kia Sorento.

Available in five trims (LX, S, EX, SX, and SX-Prestige), the Sorento will be available with either front-wheel or all-wheel drive. There will be three powertrains, including a hybrid, on offer at first, with a plug-in hybrid coming later. There will also be an X-Line version that can be matched up with certain trims.

The top-line trim, then, will be the X-Line SX-Prestige AWD, which will have torque-on-demand all-wheel drive, center-locking differential, downhill descent control, 8.3-inch ride height (one inch above standard), different bumpers, 20-inch wheels that are unique to this model, and a bridge-type roof rack.

2021 Kia Sorento X-Line. Image: Kia

The three-row Sorento will be available with second-row captain’s chairs, meaning buyers can pick two plus two plus two or two plus three plus two seating configurations.

Kia is making a bunch of driver-aid features standard – forward-collision avoidance assist, lane-keeping assist, lane-departure warning, and rear-occupant alert. Blind-spot collision avoidance assist (parallel exit), passenger safe-exit assist, and blind-view monitor is now available.

The exterior design is boxy and rugged, taking cues from the larger Telluride, and the interior features a digital gauge cluster. It, too, is a bit boxy, with the gauge cluster and infotainment screen being rectangular, stretching toward the passenger. LED headlamps are standard, signature LED lighting is optional, and there are six different wheel designs to choose from, from 17- to 20-inch wheels. Leather seats are optional.

2021 Kia Sorento X-Line. Image: Kia

Riding on the new N3 platform, the Sorento gains 1.4 inches in wheelbase while dropping 119 pounds. Kia claims average tensile strength is up by 4 percent.

There will be four powertrains to choose from: A 2.5-liter four-cylinder making 191 horsepower and 182 lb-ft of torque mating to an eight-speed automatic (estimated 27 mpg combined); a 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that makes 281 horsepower and 311 lb-ft that can tow 3,500 pounds and has an estimated 25 mpg combined, also paired with an eight-speed automatic (dual-clutch); a 1.6-liter turbo-four that pairs with an electric motor for 227 horsepower and 39 mpg city/35 highway/37 combined; and a 1.6-liter turbo-four pairing with an electric motor in a plug-in hybrid setup for 261 horsepower.

2021 Kia Sorento X-Line. Image: Kia

The hybrid is FWD only and uses a 5 kWh battery, while the plug-in, which won’t be available til calendar year 2021, uses an 8 kWh battery, has an estimated all-electric range of 30 miles, and is AWD only. Both hybrids have a six-speed automatic transmission.

2021 Sorento SX. Image: Kia

Other key available features include a 360-degree camera, eight USB ports (six in LX), 8- or 10.25-inch infotainment screen, split-screen function, satellite radio, haptic touch, Bluetooth that can pair two phones simultaneously, UVO infotainment/telematics, Bose audio, the ability to use Alexa or Google Assistant for remote functions like starting, last-mile navigation (provides walking directions if you’re parked 0.1-0.2 miles from the destination), wireless cell-phone charging, speed-limit assist, smart cruise control, driver-attention warning, rear cross-traffic alert, and highway-driving assist.

Kia has yet to announce pricing, but the Sorento goes on sale in the fourth quarter of this year.

[Images: Kia]

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