Kia officially reveals new, fourth-generation Sorento SUV

by Autocar Pro News Desk , 18 Mar 2020


Kia Motors Corporation today officially unveiled the fourth-generation model of its flagship SUV: the Sorento.  The new Sorento, which aims to raise standards in the midsize SUV class for space, efficiency and quality, sits at the heart of Kia’s reinvigorated global SUV line-up, which also includes the Seltos, Stonic, Telluride and Sportage.

Emilio Herrera, Chief Operating Officer for Kia Motors Europe, said: “The Sorento’s evolution over the last 18 years echoes that of the Kia brand as a whole. While the car was initially launched in 2002 as a utilitarian all-terrain vehicle, the fourth-generation Sorento has been transformed into something altogether more desirable. It is an important model for Kia, particularly now that it also represents the first use of electrified power in our flagship SUV.”

The Sorento’s redefined exterior design – with sharper lines, high-tech details, and elongated proportions – gives it a more confident and mature presence. Inside, its attractive cabin also introduces premium-quality materials, cutting-edge infotainment technologies, and a stunning new design.

The new Sorento is the first vehicle to be based on Kia’s new-generation midsize SUV platform. Paired with a larger body to maximise cargo and luggage space, the platform ensure the Sorento is one of the most versatile and spacious three-row SUVs on the road.

Furthermore, the Sorento’s innovative interior packaging means it can offer all this while accommodating Kia’s new ‘Smartstream’ electrified powertrains – the first time that hybrid power has featured in the Sorento line-up. As a result, the new model offers greater fuel efficiency, lower emissions, and higher performance than its predecessors.

This will be Kia’s most high-tech car ever, thanks to its progressive connectivity, driver assistance and infotainment technologies. Its user-friendly twin digital displays deliver advanced graphics, new telematics features and smartphone connectivity.

A mainstay of Kia’s global line-up, more than three million Sorento models have been sold worldwide since it was launched in 2002. In that time, Europe has accounted for around 300,000 of these.

Mature design
Stylish and modern, the new Sorento is the result of a collaborative design effort between Kia’s worldwide design network. Kia says the concept of ‘refined boldness’ inspired its designers, who sought to maintain the robust, tough-looking aesthetic of earlier generations of Sorento, while applying a greater degree of refinement and elegance, and even a sense of sportiness. Its bodywork incorporates sharp lines and creases – noticeably more sculpted than its more round-edged predecessor.

The front of the Sorento evolves with a new interpretation of Kia’s hallmark ‘tiger nose’ grille, displaying a wider shape which organically wraps around the integrated headlamps on each side. The headlamps themselves feature a new ‘tiger eyeline’ LED daytime running light. The new model is 1,900 mm wide, 10 mm wider than the third-generation Sorento.

In profile, the proportions of the Sorento are subtly adapted to make it appear longer. The new model is 10 mm longer than its predecessor (now 4,810 mm), yet it features shorter front and rear overhangs. The additional length is found in the wheelbase (a result of the Sorento’s new platform), which has grown by 35 mm to 2,815 mm.

Attractive, upscale cabin
The spacious interior represents a step-change in quality and design for Kia cabins. One of the highest quality interior spaces found in any Kia to date, the intuitive, tech-oriented cabin of the new Sorento is fitted with premium-quality materials and cutting-edge infotainment.

The attractive, upscale cabin introduces a sophisticated next-generation design, based around twin digital displays in the dashboard. The 12.3-inch digital driver instrument cluster is twinned with a 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment and navigation system at the centre of the dashboard. These display information clearly within the driver’s line of sight, and create an innovative wide-screen user experience. The car’s many functions can also be controlled with new haptic buttons on either side of the screen. The focal point of the dashboard is the eye-catching vertical ventilation stack, with a chrome-effect surround that extends onto the centre console below.

The cabin of the new Sorento subtly integrates a range of other technologies, including an available Mood Lighting system. A wireless smartphone charger also sits at the base of the centre console, while a powerful Bose surround-sound system is also available to provide a more immersive in-car audio experience.

New platform maximises space and versatility
The new Sorento is based on Kia’s new third-generation midsize SUV platform, providing superior space for people and cargo through more intelligent packaging. The result is one of the most versatile and spacious cars in its class.

The new platform is based around a compact engine bay structure and shorter front and rear overhangs, with a 35 mm longer wheelbase creating greater cabin space between the axles. Not only does this enable the new model’s stylish, more swept-back design; the structure and layout of the new platform means the Sorento is able to accommodate electrified powertrains for the first time.

The Sorento Hybrid’s battery pack is located under the floor of the cabin. As a result, the SUV offers generous space for up to seven passengers as well as one of the largest luggage capacities in its class – up to 821 litres (for seven-seat models) or 910 litres (for five-seat models), depending on specification. This means the car can accommodate five people in comfort, and a significant amount of luggage. In seven-seat models, with all seven seats in place, boot space is also increased by 32% compared to its predecessor, to 187 litres (VDA, diesel models; 179 litres for Hybrid models). Controls in the side wall of the boot also let users fold down the second-row seat backs remotely at the touch of a button.

For passengers, the new platform maximises space in all three rows, offering more head-, leg- and shoulder-room than many rivals. In particular, the new platform has created a significant amount of extra legroom for first- and second-row occupants, as well as more headroom for third-row passengers.

Hybrid power for the first time
Kia’s newest SUV will be available with hybrid power – a first for a Sorento – and buyers will eventually able to choose from hybrid or plug-in hybrid variants. The Sorento Hybrid is powered by a new ‘Smartstream’ electrified powertrain, pairing a 1.6-litre T-GDi (turbocharged gasoline direct injection) with a 1.49 kWh lithium-ion polymer battery pack and 44.2 kW electric motor.

Producing 230 ps and 350 Nm torque, this electrified powertrain combines low CO2 emissions with high levels of performance. The new 1.6-litre T-GDi engine features Kia’s new Continuously Variable Valve Duration (CVVD) technology, regulating valve opening time according to driving conditions, instead of operating on a fixed opening time. This boosts performance at low-to-mid engine speeds and enhances fuel efficiency.

The Sorento Hybrid will go on sale in select European markets from launch, with others to follow later in 2020. The new Sorento will also be available as a Plug-in Hybrid variant from late in 2020.

The Sorento’s new four-cylinder 2.2-litre ‘Smartstream’ diesel engine develops 202 hp and 440 Nm torque and i paired with Kia’s new eight-speed wet double-clutch transmission (8DCT).

Most high-tech Kia ever
The Sorento is the most high-tech Kia car ever made, thanks to a suite of technologies that enhance safety, connectivity and infotainment.

Depending on specification, the cabin incorporates Kia’s latest 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment system, offering audio-visual navigation, and a new 12.3-inch high-resolution digital instrument cluster. An 8.0-inch display audio system is also available as standard, while all infotainment systems enable full, seamless smartphone integration with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

The new Sorento also offers Kia’s innovative UVO Connect telematics system, connecting drivers by providing invaluable information via the in-car touchscreen and on their smartphone. Featuring Kia Live services and accessible through the optional 10.25-inch LCD widescreen, the system displays live traffic information, weather forecasts, points of interest, and details of potential on- and off-street parking (including price, location and parking availability). UVO Connect also enables drivers to send route directions to their car before a journey, and check the location of their vehicle at any time.

ADAS with new Remote Smart Parking Assist
The Sorento offers higher levels of active and passive safety thanks to an enhanced range of driver assistance systems. Kia’s Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) help to reduce many of the inherent hazards and stresses of driving, protecting occupants and other road users.

Kia’s ‘Level two’ autonomous driving technology, Lane Following Assist (LFA), controls acceleration, braking and steering depending on the vehicles in front. LFA operates between speeds of 0 and 180kph, using camera and radar sensors to maintain a safe distance from the car in front, while monitoring road markings to keep the Sorento in the centre of its lane.

The Sorento is fitted with up to seven airbags (dual front airbags, dual front seat-mounted side airbags, side curtain airbags with rollover sensor, and front centre airbag).

Like its predecessor, the new Sorento will be built for Europe and many other markets at Kia’s Hwasung manufacturing facility in Korea. The car will also be built for North America at Kia’s West Point, Georgia, USA production plant.

European sales are due to commence in the third quarter of 2020; the car will be available to order in most of Kia’s global markets by the end of the year.

Tags: Kia Sorento