It could very well be a winner with its refreshingly brash and almost American-inspired exterior design marking the large SUV out as a more premium vehicle than ever before.
Of course, the interior also enforces this with cool tech like a digital dashboard, digital mirrors and a larger 10.25-inch touchscreen.
Kia Motors Australia Chief Operating Officer Damien Meredith drove the new luxury push home saying: “while the car was initially launched in 2002 as a utilitarian body on frame all-terrain vehicle… in its fourth generation, Sorento has been transformed into something once again more desirable.”
The new Sorento line-up kicks off Australian sales with promotional driveaway pricing which keeps the entry-grade S under $50,000 for both the 3.5-litre V6 petrol ($46,990) and 2.2-litre turbodiesel ($49,990).
Kia’s Sorento has always offered great value for money but aimed at the lower end of the market. This new Sorento is aimed directly at the more premium Mazda CX-9, then, but it still has to compete with the Toyota Kluger and Hyundai Santa Fe.
Though we’ve seen it teased before, you can’t miss the bold new look for the Sorento. The brand’s signature Tiger Nose grille dominates the nose of the new Sorento, but The rear end is where the biggest change lies. The taillights are split into two ‘bars’ of LEDs as seen on the Telluride.
It’s all to accentuate the width of the vehicle – now 1,910mm wide (up by 10mm). The new Sorento is also longer by 10mm at 4,810mm, though packaging favours interior space more than ever, exemplified by the 35mm stretch in the wheelbase to 2,815mm.
Inside the Sorento is unfamiliar to the last-gen car with a centrally-mounted 10.25-inch touchscreen heading up proceedings on the Sport grade and up – the S gets an eight-inch unit. There are touch-capacitive shortcut buttons on flanking the touchscreen, and three USB ports in the front seat.
Borrowing a trick from premium manufacturers like Audi, Kia has also moved to a digital driver’s display that measures 12.3-inches diagonal for the range-topping GT-Line.
There is a choice of two powertrains in the new Sorento; a carryover 3.5-litre petrol V6 with multi-point injection pushing out 200kW and 332Nm is the more affordable – but front-wheel-drive only – choice.
Also on offer is a new 2.2-litre ‘Smartstream’ diesel that makes nearly identical power to the previous generation diesel at 148kW and 440Nm – up 1kW and down 1Nm. However, the new engine boasts an alloy block which shaves 19kg of weight but adds $3,000 to the price. There’s also a new eight-speed dual-clutch gearbox sending power to all four wheels.
However, for now at least, Kia has no plans to bring a hybrid-powered Sorento to Australian shores.
The new Sorento starts at $46,990 driveaway for the petrol S grade. For that, Kia includes an eight-inch touchscreen, analogue dials with a 4.2-inch TFT readout, six-speaker sound system, wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Active safety tech is impressive and includes AEB with junction assist and pedestrian and cyclist detection, seven airbags, rear cross-traffic alert and a reversing camera standard across the range.
On top of the S, the Sport adds a 10.23-inch touchscreen inside, 18-inch alloy wheels, ten-way power-adjustable front seats, and third-row vents with fan control for $49,990 with the V6 motor.
The mid-spec Sport+ garnishes the spec list with leather-accented, heated front seats and extra USB chargers for the second and third-row seats from $54,390 driveaway
Those wanted a fully-loaded seven-seater need to look at the $61,990 Sorento GT-Line. The top-spec adds the excellent 12.3-inch digital driver’s display, 360-degree monitor, blind-spot monitoring, remote park assist and Nappa leather-appointed front seat with heating, cooling and 14-way power adjustment. How luxe.
It’s certainly a move upmarket for the Korean brand; we’ll have a full road-test soon to confirm whether the driving experience lives up to the extensive spec list. Kia is taking orders for the new Sorento now.
2021 Kia Sorento Pricing
All prices are include driveaway charges
Sorento S V6 – $46,990
Sorento S 2.2 AWD – $49,990
Sorento Sport V6 – $49,990
Sorento Sport 2.2 AWD – $52,990
Sorento Sport+ V6 – $54,390
Sorento Sport+ 2.2 AWD – $57,390
Sorento GT-Line V6 – $61,990
Sorento GT-Line 2.2 AWD – $64,990
About Chasing cars
Chasing Cars reviews are 100% independent.
Because we are powered by Budget Direct Insurance, we don’t receive advertising or sales revenue from car manufacturers.
We’re truly independent – giving you Australia’s best car reviews.
Kia Sorento Hybrid 2022: Australian release for Kluger-rivalling self-charging hybrid before Christmas