By Larry Lark, contributor
Kia’s fourth-generation Sorrento sports utility vehicle is a game-changer.
Since its debut in 2002, the Sorento is one of Kia’s best-known and best-selling vehicles, becoming progressively more powerful, more attractive, better engineered and more technologically advanced in each new iteration.
The 2021 model sets a new standard for Sorento’s sustained excellence and leadership in the compact SUV segment as the only vehicle in its class to offer the best estimated fuel economy for a three-row SUV with 37 mpg combined.
“Sorento has always been one of Kia’s premier products,” said Sean Yoon, president & CEO, Kia Motors North America & Kia Motors America. “Its combination of style, utility, safety and comfort have made it a perennial customer favorite. This stunning new Sorento sets the bar in the compact SUV class even higher and represents the pinnacle of Kia design and engineering. We’re extremely proud to add it to our line-up of incredible automobiles.”
Sorento will be offered in five trims: LX, S, EX, SX, and SX-Prestige and available with either FWD or AWD. Initially available with three powertrains, including a turbo hybrid, a PHEV will be introduced in the next model year. The hero model – my tester – is the SX-Prestige AWD with X-Line appearance package, a variant that further demonstrates the transformation of the Sorento into a more premium and tech-oriented SUV. The X-Line SX-Prestige AWD trim includes:
Standard torque-on-demand AWD with center locking differential and downhill descent control
Increased ride height to 8.3-in. (1.0-in. increase over standard ride height)
Exclusive bumper and exterior details, such as unique 20-inch alloy wheels and bridge-type roof rack
X-Line was powered by a 2.5-liter, turbocharged, four-cylinder engine that delivers 281 horsepower and 311-lb-ft of torque mated to a segment-exclusive eight-speed wet-clutch DCT for more responsive around-town, or mountain-pass driving. Functionality is provided with all-wheel drive and center locking differential.
Towing capacity is rated at 3,500 pounds.
Three rows of seats accommodate up to seven passengers, with the third-row seats folding flat to provide enough room for multiple golf bags.
The exterior of the 2021 Sorento presents a study in stylish architectural structure defined by sharp, modern lines and accented with high-tech details.Highlights include Kia’s modernized “tiger nose,” with new “eyeline” DRL details, and a wide grille extending into the headlight and hood structure.
Interior features include leather embossed quilt pattern on optional leather-equipped models, oversized panoramic moonroof, bright satin finishes, open-pore wood inlays, and eye-catching vertical center air vents.
Slather on creature comforts like navigation, rear view camera, XM radio, Bluetooth, wireless phone charging, USC chargers on all three rows, heated seats, second-row captain’s chairs, dual-zone climate control, and Bose premium audio.
Sorento X-Line is completed with Kia’s “Drivewise Driver-Assist” technology that includes forward collision avoidance assist, blind spot and rear cross-traffic collision avoidance, smart cruise control, lane keep and following assist, highway driving assist, parking distance warning, and rear occupant alert with ultrasonic sensors.
Base Price: $43,765
Price As Driven: $44,290
Destination charge is included in base price. Vehicles are provided by the manufacturer. List price may vary at local dealerships.