Latest Sorento styling is inspired by the US-only Telluride SUV and it can be had in five or seven seat guise. Picture: SUPPLIED
Latest Sorento styling is inspired by the US-only Telluride SUV and it can be had in five or seven seat guise. Picture: SUPPLIED

This is the new Kia Sorento, the fourth generation of the range and Kia’s flagship SUV for the past 18 years. It’s a rival for the Hyundai Santa Fe and every other medium-sized SUV out there, and it was recently unveiled during the demise of motor shows due to the grip of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The new model that is 1,900mm wide and 4,810mm long is built on a new generation platform that isn’t only claimed to be 4% stronger but also poised to deliver a more assured, refined and comfortable ride texture than before using a heavily revised fully-independent suspension.

It will be built in Europe for that market as well as at Kia’s Hwasung manufacturing facility in Korea and in North America, Georgia. According to CEO of Kia Motors Europe, Emilio Herrera: “This vehicle is an important model for KIA that raises standards in the midsize SUV class for space, efficiency and quality particularly now that it also represents the first use of electrified power in our flagship SUV.”

The wheelbase has grown by 35mm to 2,815mm and it’s now 10mm taller than its predecessor. The Sorento offers up to 821l of boot space when ordered in seven-seat guise. Prop up all seven chairs and boot space shrinks to 187l but represents a 32% increase compared to the third generation car.  Five-seat models can swallow 910l whereas Hybrid models are rated with a lower 179l with all seats up due to the battery pack housed under the floor.

New telematics, head-up display and duel Bluetooth streaming are highlights inside the new Sorento. Picture: SUPPLIED
New telematics, head-up display and duel Bluetooth streaming are highlights inside the new Sorento. Picture: SUPPLIED

The "Smartstream" electrified powertrains than can be had in either conventional hybrid or pug-in-hybrid form pair up a 1.49kWh lithium-ion polymer battery pack, a 44.2kW electric motor and a 1.6l T-GDi turbocharged petrol motor will offer greater fuel efficiency, lower emissions and higher performance than its predecessor. Total system output is rated at 169kW and 350Nm torque and managed through a six-speed automatic transmission.

European customers also get a Sorento with a new four-cylinder 2.2l diesel motor producing 148.5kW and 440Nm torque but instead mated with Kia’s new eight-speed double-clutch transmission.

Also new for the fourth generation car is a Terrain Mode and when paired with the optional all-wheel drive system, it enables the Sorento to be more adept at various surface conditions outlined by the modes of mud, snow and sand. 

Kia says the Sorento is its most high-tech car yet, thanks to better connectivity, driver assistance systems and infotainment technologies. There’s also a 31.2cm digital driver instrument cluster and a pair of 26cm touchscreen infotainment screens with navigation system and haptic buttons on either side. Head-up display beamed from the base of the windscreen also debuts.

The dash and cabin area are covered in high quality materials and decorated with metallic trim, leather upholstery, and embossed satin-effect surfaces while there’s also a vertical ventilation stack with chrome-effect surrounds.

Boot size varies between hybrids and conventional models. Picture: SUPPLIED
Boot size varies between hybrids and conventional models. Picture: SUPPLIED

Digital displays have advanced graphics, new telematics features, Mood Lighting and enhanced Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connectivity that now enables Bluetooth pairing for two phones concurrently, enabling separate phones to be used for phone calls and music. USB ports are found in all three rows. 

A wireless smartphone charger, a BOSE surround-sound system and a choice of black cloth, leather (grey or black single-tone, or black-and-grey two-tone), or black quilted Nappa leather is also available.

It’s a more swept-back, and elongated SUV this time around and adopts Kia’s latest Americanised styling cues again led by the enormous US market-only Telluride flagship. The new Sorento will be available in Europe with a choice of 10 paint finishes, and the option of 17, 18, 19 and 20-inch aluminium alloy wheels.

The Sorento also gets an alphabet soup of safety acronyms. These are a new Remote Smart Parking Assist; Kia's Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS); the latest Forward Collision-avoidance Assist (FCA) with pedestrian, cyclist and vehicle detection; Blind-spot View Monitor (BVM); Surround View Monitor (SVM); and Lane Following Assist (LFA) among others.

It also automatically detects another car, cyclist or pedestrian behind the vehicle; and Safe Exit Assist, a feature that prevents the rear doors from being opened if the vehicle detects a hazard approaching from behind, such as a cyclist or another vehicle.

Up to seven airbags work in conjunction with a standard fitment Vehicle Stability Management (VSM) and Electronic Stability Control system. No local launch date for the new Sorento is yet confirmed at this point.