Kia faces a formidable problem with the launch of its redesigned fourth-generation 2021 Sorento SUV, which involves market on the heels of the Korean model’s immensely profitable and 10Finest-winning Telluride crossover. But, whereas each SUVs compete in the identical mid-size, three-row section, the marginally smaller Sorento makes a compelling case with its enticing design, extra reasonably priced pricing, and a various vary of powertrains that features two gasoline engines, a hybrid, and an upcoming plug-in hybrid mannequin.
The brand new Sorento might not have the identical daring type because the chunky Telluride. However its chiseled traces look handsomely trendy and so they set off its extra outstanding styling particulars, such because the hexagonal sample in its grille and its eye-catching LED taillights. A $2800 X-Line look bundle is offered on all-wheel-drive SX fashions, which provides a model-specific roof rack and entrance and rear bumpers. The X-Line can be out there in a fetching Aruba Inexperienced colour that pairs properly with Sorento’s non-compulsory brown leather-based inside.
Whereas we have solely pushed well-equipped SX fashions so far, we’re impressed with the design and materials high quality of the Sorento’s cabin. Its pretend wooden trim is convincing, its quilted leather-based upholstery is tender, and its shapely door panels function enticing stitching and plush armrests. The dashboard’s abundance of air vents can look busy, however the SX’s crisply rendered 10.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system sits inside simple attain of the driving force, and the local weather controls are easy to function. Lesser LX, S, and EX fashions have a smaller 8.0-inch touchscreen with wi-fi Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity, however unusually the SX’s bigger display screen requires you to plug your cellphone in with an old school USB cable to be able to entry these options.
With a wheelbase that is 3.four inches shorter than the Telluride’s, the Sorento is nearer in measurement to two-row mid-size crossovers such because the Honda Passport, but the Kia comes commonplace with a questionably helpful third row of seats. Lodging in the way in which again merely aren’t comfy for adults, with restricted stretch-out area and a low backside seat cushion that forces your knees up towards your chest. Plus, we solely match two carry-on suitcases in its cargo space with the third row raised versus the 4 we match within the Telluride’s aft maintain. If we owned a brand new Sorento, we might in all probability go away the third row folded till we completely wanted to ferry further riders for brief distances. Decrease trim ranges have a second-row bench seat and seven-passenger capability, however larger trims are restricted to 6 riders with their second-row captain’s chairs.
The Sorento will ultimately provide 4 powertrain choices, together with a base 191-hp 2.5-liter inline-four, a turbocharged 2.5-liter 4, a hybrid that pairs with a 1.6-liter turbo-four, and an upcoming plug-in hybrid with a bigger battery pack that permits a claimed 30 miles of electrical vary. We have solely pushed the non-compulsory 281-hp turbo 2.5-liter to this point, and we loved its responsiveness and clean energy supply.
Though the Sorento’s non-compulsory turbo-four (EX and SX fashions solely) is considerably uncommon in a section the place naturally aspirated V-6s stay the norm, that the engine mates to an eight-speed dual-clutch automated transmission is much more unconventional. Kia claims that this setup permits faster shifts and higher gasoline financial system. Certainly, the two.5-liter turbo’s 24-mpg EPA mixed estimate for an all-wheel-drive mannequin is an identical to the determine for an equal Sorento with the considerably much less highly effective naturally aspirated engine and traditional eight-speed torque-converter automated. We did discover a slight lag in throttle response when ranging from a cease with the twin clutch, however the transmission in any other case carried out easily and unobtrusively. We anticipate a swift zero-to-60-mph time within the mid-six-second vary for the quickest turbocharged fashions, with the naturally aspirated variants roughly 2.5 seconds off that tempo.
In comparison with the floaty journey and dealing with of the previous-gen Sorento, the brand new mannequin feels significantly extra strong and planted on the street. It rides confidently, with even giant bumps producing little noise from the suspension and minimal vibrations via the steering wheel. The tuning of the first controls additionally is far improved, with properly weighted steering and a agency brake pedal.
Beginning at $30,560 for a front-wheel-drive LX mannequin and ranging as much as roughly $45Okay for a loaded all-wheel-drive SX, the Sorento prices lower than the bigger Telluride, which begins at $33,160 and may high $50Okay with choices. Given the Telluride’s presence and wonderful packaging, it stays a extremely tempting choice amongst three-row utes. However the brand new Sorento is enticing in its personal proper. For wise customers that do not want its bigger sibling’s further measurement (and price), Kia’s newest mid-size SUV has loads to supply.
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