New Model News

Redesigned 2021 Kia Sorento bows with more space, heightened efficiency

Kia has elongated the look of the Sorento with the redesign.

Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

With the design of the 2020 Kia Telluride and 2021 Kia Seltos firmly in focus, Kia has debuted the 2021 Kia Sorento. Representing the next generation in the three-row SUV's history, the new Sorento is more spacious and efficient than its predecessors.

More than 3 million Sorentos have been sold worldwide since the SUV launched in 2002. The Sorento sits in the automaker's U.S. lineup between the smaller Seltos and Sportage, and below the Telluride.

2021 Kia Sorento Kia has given the model its new interpretation of its signature tiger nose grille.Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

Its exterior features sharper angles and elongated proportions, riding on a new Kia platform. At the front is Kia's new interpretation of its tiger nose grille, LED daytime running lights, a rectangular air intake, wing-shaped air curtains, and skid plate. The new Sorento's back features vertical tail lamps that wrap around the back end, lower rear bumper, dual tailpipes, and rear skid plate. There's also a subtle spoiler.

The model is more heavily sculpted with a more mature stance than the previous Sorento thanks to a larger body style. The longer and wider Sorento retains elements from previous generations as well with a wide D-pillar, clad wheel arches, and dynamic C-pillar all harkening back to previous models.

Kia has announce that buyers can choose from 10 paint jobs, and the option of 17-, 18-, 19- and, for the first time in the line-up, 20-inch aluminum alloy wheels. Availability may vary by model.

2021 Kia Sorento The rear of the Sorento takes deign notes from the Telluride.Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

Kia will offer the Sorento with an electrified powertrain, which will result in lower emissions and higher performance than third-generation models. Kia has publicized that the Sorento will be available in traditional hybrid and plug-in hybrid variants, though their availability for the U.S. market is unconfirmed. Kia says that the Sorento Hybrid will be available in select European markets at 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 Hybrid is powered by a turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine that is paired with a 1.49 kWh lithium-ion polymer battery pack, 44.2 kWh electric motor, and six-speed automatic transmission.. That powertrain produces approximately 227 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. That's more powerful than the standard four-cylinder in the 2020 Sorento but less horsepower than buyers would get with the 2020 Sorento with a V6.

A new 2.2-liter four-cylnder diesel power plant is paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission and unlikely to make its way to the U.S.

Kia has given the Sorento a new Terrain Mode as one if it's drive modes. The mode uses the SUV's available all-wheel drive system to distribute torque as needed to all four wheels and adapts transmission shift times to help the vehicle traverse tough conditions including mud, snow and sand.

2021 Kia Sorento The Sorento adds a new drive mode to the equation that allows for the model to traverse sand, snow, and mud with ease.Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

Its interior heightens the appeal with fresh design and a level of luxury that brings the Sorento to a near-premium offering. It comes standard with an 8.0-inch infotainment touch screen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. A 12.3-inch driver instrument display paired with a 10.25-inch infotainment touch screen and navigation system is available. The list of available features also includes a mood lighting system, wireless charging pad, and Bose surround sound system.

There's two USB ports up front and the ability for two devices to simultaneously connect to the car's Bluetooth system. Two USB charging sockets are integrated into the backs of the two front seats, with a third found at the rear of the front-row center console. Both third-row passengers also have their own charging ports.

Premium appointments are available in the SUV include metallic trim, leather upholstery, and embossed satin-effect surfaces. Kia has announced that in Europe, the Sorento will be offered to buyers with a choice of black cloth, leather (grey or black single-tone, or black-and-grey two-tone), or black quilted Nappa leather. It's likely that it will be offered with similar options in the U.S.

2021 Kia Sorento Kia has given the Sorento an entirely new in-cabin design with model features and a fresh look.Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

The hybrid model keeps its battery below the floor, allowing for a spacious cabin that retains its dimensions without restricting cargo space or headroom. In fact, there's more head-, leg-, and shoulder-room in this model. Kia brags that the seven-seat Sorento has 32 percent more cargo space in this new generation than in the last, as well as more legroom for first- and second-row occupants, and more headroom for third-row riders.

There is also a new grab handle built into the interior trim inside the C-pillar, giving third-row passengers something to hold on to as they climb aboard. Third-row passengers also have access to a newly incorporated cupholder and smartphone tray.

The 2021 Kia Sorento is available to be equipped with a range of safety and driver assistance technology: forward collision avoidance and assist with cyclist and pedestrian detection, blind spot monitoring and assist, surround view monitoring, speed limit assist, adaptive cruise control with stop and go, safe exit, navigation-based cruise control, lane follow assist, driver attention warning, highway driving assist, rear view monitor, and rear cross traffic assist.

2021 Kia Sorento A 10.25-inch infotainment touch screen is available in the new model.Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

Kia has given the SUV the same smart park technology that is in the 2020 Hyundai Sonata.

The 2021 Kia Sorento will be produced alongside the Kia Telluride at Kia's West Point, Georgia plant as well as in Korea.

Pricing is expected to remain similar to the 2020 model. The 2020 Kia Sorento starts at $26,990 and tops out near $42,000.

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The 2022 Nissan Pathfinder is an off-road ready family hauler.

Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

The Nissan Pathfinder is the company's three-row crossover, sitting below the Armada and above the Rogue in the company's lineup. It's a rival to the Hyundai Palisade, Kia Telluride, Toyota Highlander, and Honda Pilot. Check out the Nissan's most compelling features by scrolling down.

Every Pathfinder comes loaded with safety technology.

The Nissan Safety Shield 360 suite of safety and driver assist technology comes standard on the Rogue. It includes automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind spot warning, rear cross-traffic alert, land departure warning, high beam assist, and rear automatic braking.

Additionally, the company's Intelligent Driver Alertness and Rear Door Alert technologies are standard.

ProPilot Assist takes the wheel.

2022 Nissan Pathfinder

Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

Nissan's ProPilot Assist technology doesn't allow for hands-free driving and it's not self-driving, but it does fuse together many functionalities that make daily drive functions easier, especially when your children are doing their best to distract you.

ProPILOT Assist combines steering assist and Intelligent Cruise Control to help control acceleration. It can be used in heavy traffic and on open highways.

For 2021, ProPilot Assist has been enhanced. It has next-generation radar and camera technology that is designed to allow for smoother braking, better steering assist, and improved detection performance when vehicles cut into the lane.

There's a removable second-row center console.

Between the second-row captain's chairs in the seven-passenger Pathfinder, there's a thin center console (enough storage space for two cupholders and some small items) that is removable without using any tools. Removing this console allows for easier access in/out of the third-row for small children and adults. With the console in place, the seats can still be tipped and moved forward for quick ingress/egress to/from the third row.

The second row is spacious.

2022 Nissan Pathfinder

Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

Sitting in the second-row captain's chairs is very much like sitting in those that you'd find in a full-size SUV. Adults will find that hip-room is plenty big enough while children will relish the opportunity to feel like they're being treated to upscale accommodations.

Three people fit across the back seat.

Second-row captain's chairs are being offered for the first time on Pathfinder with this new model. Nissan has added rear seating flexibility with the ability to fit three across the back seat. While three adults are a tight fit in the third row, children, tweens, and some teens that don't have long legs won't likely have a problem with it.

Pathfinder's drive modes are designed to inspire confidence.

2022 Nissan Pathfinder

Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

Nissan has made the Rogue available with all-wheel drive. Those models also get five drive modes: Off-road, Snow, Standard, Eco, and Sport. The modes are engaged using the drive-mode selector mounted on the center console. The all-wheel drive system uses new technology that is designed to respond quicker when slippage is detected.

It has a 6,000-pound towing capability.

Nissan boasts that the 2022 Pathfinder has best-in-lass available 6,000-pound maximum towing capacity. That's enough to allow boats, ATVs, camp tents, or trailers to be connected out back. Trailer Sway Control is standard on the Pathfinder and allows for more towing confidence, especially when winds pick up.

Moving the second-row seat is as easy as the push of one button.

Nissan has equipped the second-row bench seat in the Pathfinder with EZ-Flex one-touch mechanics. It takes just one press of a button to activate fold and slide functionalities for the second-row seats. The button can be reached from both the driver and passenger sides of the vehicle for ease.

The cargo area is plenty spacious.

2022 Nissan Pathfinder

Photo courtesy of Nissan North America


Behind the SUV's third-row seats Pathfinder can fit a 120-quart cooler or four golf bags - all with the third row full of occupants. The interior can also accommodate 4x8-foot plywood sheets.

The ride is sublimely quiet.

Nissan has equipped the Pathfinder with acoustic laminated front glass, thicker second-row glass, increased door and floor isolation, and a 60-percent increase in engine noise absorption materials. The result is a vehicle that provides a quieter ride, meaning less likelihood parents will have to should to be heard by third-row passengers.

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The Kia Sorento Hybrid offers a lot to like for families looking to save on fuel.

Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

The redesigned Kia Sorento looks good. Kia has given the three-row SUV new life, not as a substitute for the Telluride SUV but instead as its own crossover, with plenty of differences to give them their own identity.

The 2021 Sorento comes in two variants, the Sorento and Sorento Hybrid. Each is offered in its own set of trim levels. The Sorento base model is powered by a 2.5-liter four-cylinder internal combustion engine that delivers 191 horsepower and 182 pound-feet of torque. Higher grades get a turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that is rated at 281 horsepower and 311 pound-feet of torque.

Sorento Hybrid comes in two trim leaves, S and EX. Both are powered by the company's turbocharged 1.6-liter hybrid powertrain that offers up 177 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. The SUV prioritizes fuel efficiency over performance, an important distinction that sets the Sorento Hybrid apart from other hybrid variants, including the Toyota RAV4 Prime, a plug-in hybrid that delivers an energetic boost to the RAV4 lineup.

2021 Kia Sorento Hybrid The Sorento Hybrid is the type of vehicle that can get you to a trailhead, but isn't built to go beyond that.Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

The power output is fine if you plan on sticking to in-town driving and aren't looking to load up the Sorento Hybrid for a long road trip. In the default Eco drive mode, the car responds to the throttle the most comfortably. Under traditional and harder acceleration, the Sorento Hyrbid's powertrain is noisy and ill-mannered. It's almost like the SUV is telling you, "I'm built for efficiency, not speed". Message received.

Kia's done a good job making the Sorento agile and it drives nicely and makes for a pleasant daily runaround. Unlike what Toyota has done with the Highlander, all-wheel drive is not available on the Sorento Hybrid.

The 2021 Sorento Hybrid comes standard as a six-seater with captain's chairs in the second row. The seats, leatherette in the upmarket trim level, are comfortable enough. There's a decent amount of cargo space with the third row erect or stowed.

2021 Kia Sorento Hybrid The cabin of the Sorento Hybrid is plush enough for its price point.Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

The well-thought out cabin design delvers exactly what customers need and in the EX trim level, the car's appointments are near-premium. The SUV has the usual list of standard and available features, but nothing is too fancy: Bluetooth, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, voice recognition, satellite radio, push button start, keyless entry, a rearview camera, wireless smartphone charger. Nothing looks, feels, or operates like it's cutting edge, but it doesn't have to - this isn't a luxury vehicle.

There is one very nice design touch in the cabin. On either side of the infotainment touch screen are vents that service the front row of the auto. Their output is divided into two each with the bottom vent able to serve the midsection of front passengers' bodies while the upper part goes higher. More automakers should design vents this way.

The Hybrid EX model that was delivered for testing had its lane keeping and centering system not as honed in on lane lines as is optimal, which resulted in crossing over the lines without any alert going off or corrective action being taken by the vehicle's computer.

2021 Kia Sorento Hybrid Cargo space is always tight in three-row SUVs, but Kia has given the Sorento a good balance between cargo space and third-row legroom.Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

The 2021 Kia Sorento Hybrid starts at $33,590. That's a thousand-and-a-half over the starting price of the Telluride and $4,000 more than the traditional 2021 Sorento.

There are currently only two other three-row hybrid SUVs on the market, the Toyota Highlander Hybrid and the Ford Expedition Hybrid. The three models and their varied price tags and third-row layouts service very different customers but they generally all get lumped together. The Sorento Hybrid is, by far, the lowest priced model of the three, and it feels like it when you're inside. There's nothing wrong with that. Dodge sold a lot of Journeys despite the fact that it wasn't the best or most expensive SUV out there.

Think of the Kia Sorento Hybrid as the Dodge Journey of three-row hybrid crossovers and you won't be disappointed.

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