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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 2021 Mazda CX-30 2.5 Turbo is joining the company’s lineup

Photo courtesy of Mazda North American Operations

The decision to add a turbocharged engine variant to the Mazda3 was met with praise for those who like getting in a little more excitement behind the wheel. Now It has been announced that the Mazda3's crossover counterpart, the CX-30 is getting the same treatment.

The 2021 Mazda CX-30 will be available with a turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that puts out 250 horsepower and 320 pound-feet of torque when the tank is filled with 93 octane fuel. The performance drops to 227 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque when owners fill up with 87 octane. Engines with the turbo-four also get standard all-wheel drive.

2021 Mazda CX-30 2.5 Turbo The body styling is pretty much the same as the rest of the Mazda CX-30 lineup, but it does have unique wheels and other attributes.Photo courtesy of Mazda North American Operations

To accommodate the new engine option, Mazda has not had to change the outward appearance of the model In earnest but does add some highlights including 18-inch black aluminum alloy wheels, larger tailpipes, gloss black door mirrors and a "TURBO" badge on the liftgate.

As the most premium Mazda CX-30 model, it comes with a frameless auto-dimming rearview mirror, black upper dash and chrome finishes. The features list includes a Bose 12-speaker audio system and an 8.8-inch infotainment screen..

The CX-30 2.5 Turbo, as the models with the engine will be known. Also comes equipped with Smart City Brake Support Reverse and rear cross-traffic braking technologies that can sense a vehicle coming into the lane of travel when reversing, warn the driver, and apply the brakes in order to possibly avoid a collision. Additional available safety technologies include a 360-degree view monitor, Active Drive Display, traffic sign recognition, and adaptation front lighting.

2021 Mazda CX-30 2.5 Turbo The CX-30 debuted just last year.Photo courtesy of Mazda North American Operations

The 2021 Mazda CX-30 2.5 Turbo is scheduled to go on sale by the end of 2020. Specific packaging and pricing details will be announced in the coming months

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Volkswagen has chosen a name for its new SUV.

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

The forthcoming new Volkswagen SUV will be called the Taos after the town in New Mexico. The name was chosen to specifically appeal to North American customers, who are the target market for the SUV, which Will slot below the Tiguan in the VW lineup.

“We're thrilled to announce the name for the newest member of the Volkswagen family," said Hein Schafer, Senior Vice President for Product Marketing and Strategy, Volkswagen of America, Inc. "It was important to choose a name that really embodied the nature of the car and the town of Taos, New Mexico was a perfect fit. It's a small city that offers big things—from outdoor adventure to arts and design and great cuisine."

Taos New Mexico Taos, New Mexico is the namesake for a forthcoming Volkswagen model.Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

"We are excited that Volkswagen has named their sport utility vehicle after the town of Taos," said Taos Mayor Dan Barrone. "It's a great opportunity for our community to share its rich history and culture alongside Volkswagen with its unique and rich history and culture."

Taos, New Mexico is a thriving small town of 6,000 people. It has a 400-year history and a 1,000-year-old Native American community just a few miles from the center fo town. Artists and skiers flock to the city, which is noted for its stunning landscapes.

Incidentally, Taos was also home to John Muir, an engineer turned mechanic, and author of "How To Keep Your Volkswagen Alive: A Manual of Step-by-Step procedures for the Compleat Idiot." First published in 1969, and illustrated by local artist Peter Aschwanden, this counter-culture guide to Volkswagen repairs quickly developed a popular following. The book, started in Muir's Taos shop, has helped keep countless VW models running, from Beetles and Buses to Type 3 and Type 4 models.

Volkswagen promises that the new Taos “will offer great value, excellent fuel economy, and great packaging, as well as advanced infotainment and driver-assistance features”.

The 2022 Volkswagen Taos will be revealed on October 13.

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