2021 Kia Sorento: An In-Depth Walk Around This Sporty New SUV

The 2021 Kia Sorento is coming to town! Kia recently revealed the new three-row SUV to members of the press and automotive media during a virtual event. Although we could not see it in person, the new Sorento does look sharp, especially in the SX trim. We will take you through everything Kia told us during the reveal. If you are thinking about a 2021 Sorento, the info below will help you.

2021 Kia Sorento: The Big Questions

Is The New Sorento All-Wheel Drive?

Yes. Although the new Sorento is standard with front-wheel drive (FWD), all-wheel drive (AWD) is available. The only Sorento model not available with all-wheel drive is the Turbo Hybrid. It’s front-wheel drive only to help boost fuel economy. Every Kia Sorento with all-wheel drive will come standard with a Snow Mode.

What Are The Trim Levels?

The 2021 Sorento will be offered in five trims: LX, S, EX, SX, and SX-Prestige.

At the top of the mountain (Kia calls it their hero model) is the X-Line SX-Prestige with all-wheel drive. This Sorento king comes with a center-locking differential, hill descent control, and an increased ride height versus the standard model (to 8.3 inches, an increase of an inch). Styling treatments include the 20-inch alloy wheels and a roof rack to haul mountain bikes and kayaks.

How Many Can Fit In The 2021 Kia Sorento?

Buyers will have the option for second-row captain’s chairs. In this configuration, the new Sorento will seat six. With the second-row bench, families can squeeze in one more person.

How Much Is The 2021 Kia Sorento?

The new Sorento starts at $29,390 for the entry-level LX. By contrast, the SX Prestige X-Line has the highest starting MSRP at $42,590. Since there are multiple trim levels and options for the Sorento, we recommend doing as much research as possible before heading to the dealership. This free and easy search tool* will show you all of the Sorento vehicles in your area and which dealers are giving you the best price. 

How Long Is The Sorento’s Warranty?

Kia’s bumper-to-bumper warranty is five years/60,000 miles with a 10-year/100,000-mile coverage period on the powertrain. Our full review of Kia’s warranty will give you a better understanding of what is and isn’t covered.

2021 Kia Sorento SX.
2021 Kia Sorento SX. Photo: Kia Motors America.

2021 Kia Sorento: Engine & Powertrain

Four different powertrain options are available for the new Kia Sorento. Three of them will hit the market right away. The Turbo Plug-In Hybrid will follow in 2021.

2.5-Liter GDI Four-Cylinder

  • FWD or AWD
  • Eight-speed automatic transmission
  • 191 horsepower and 182 lb-ft. of torque
  • AWD system uses torque-vectoring (with center-locking differential)
  • Estimated 27 combined mpg (two mpg increase over previous Sorento)

2.5-Liter GDI Four-Cylinder Turbo

  • FWD or AWD
  • 281 horsepower and 311 lb-ft. of torque
  • Eight-speed wet dual-clutch automatic transmission
  • 3,500 lbs. of towing capability when properly equipped
  • Estimated 25 combined mpg (three mpg increase over previous V6 Sorento)

Fun Fact: With this engine, the 2021 Sorento has more torque than the larger Telluride.

1.6-Liter GDI 4-Cylinder Turbo Hybrid

  • FWD
  • 227 horsepower
  • Six-speed automatic transmission
  • Five kWh battery with a 44 kW electric motor
  • Estimated 655 miles of combined driving range
  • Estimated 39/35 city/highway and 37 combined mpg

1.6-Liter GDI 4-Cylinder Turbo Plug-In Hybrid

  • AWD
  • 261 horsepower
  • Six-speed automatic transmission
  • Estimated 30-mile all-electric range
  • Eight kWh battery with 66.9 kW electric motor 
  • Will arrive in 2021 (Kia did not specify an exact date)
2021 Kia Sorento X-Line.
2021 Kia Sorento X-Line. Photo: Kia Motors America.

Essential Foundations: Safety & Security

The foundation for the 2021 Sorento is Kia’s new N3 architecture. This N3 platform is lighter and more robust when compared to a 2020 Sorento. Benefits of the new platform include an increased wheelbase (1.4 inches) for more interior space, an overall weight reduction (119 lbs.) for better fuel economy, and the ability to accommodate all of the different powertrains listed above.

The most valuable benefits, however, will likely come in terms of safety. The N3 platform incorporates multi-load pathways to redistribute crash energy (during an accident) away from the occupants. Additionally, the new N3 platform provides the 2021 Sorento with a slightly higher tensile strength versus the 2020 model. While the higher tensile strength will transition to better ride and handling, there are benefits when it comes to protecting drivers and passengers. High-strength steel architectures are essential for vehicle safety in general, and the 2021 Sorento makes improvements here versus the 2020 model.

The N3 platform also supports the 16 different advanced safety features in the Kia Drive Wise package. Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist, Lane Keeping Assist, Lane Departure Warning, and Rear Occupant Alert are all standard. Blind Spot Collision-Avoidance Assist (Parallel Exit), Passenger Safe Exit Assist, and a Blind View Monitor are optional. Among our favorite features is the Surround View Monitor, which utilizes four cameras to provide a 360-degree look around the vehicle when parking or backing out.

2021 Kia Sorento X-Line interior layout.
2021 Kia Sorento X-Line interior layout. Photo: Kia Motors America.

2021 Kia Sorento: Interior Treatments

Depending on the trim level, the Kia Sorento is available with metal texture inlays or open-pore inlays, bright satin finishes, and a leather embossed quit pattern for the seats. The air vents, especially around the center screen, were inspired by dumbbells at the gym.

The new Kia Sorento is a treasure trove of technology with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and the UVO link telematics system. An eight-inch touchscreen display is standard, while a 10.25-inch screen is optional. The 10.25-inch unit adds haptic feedback buttons and the ability to pair two phones simultaneously via Bluetooth. A wireless charging pad, additional USB ports, and a 12-speaker Bose audio system are optional.

2021 Kia Sorento Gallery

Photos & Source: Kia Motors America.

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