New for 2021: Kia has completely redesigned the Sorento for the 2021 model year. The mid-size SUV will hit the showrooms before the year ends and will come with an all-four-cylinder lineup and two hybrid options. Underpinning the 2021 Kia Sorento is Kia’s N3 platform. The wheelbase increases by 1.5 inches while the weight is down by almost 120 lbs. 

The 2021 Kia Sorento gets the Tiger Nose grille treatment up front complete with the ‘eyeline’ day-time running lamps. You can’t help but notice a hint of Telluride in the overall design while the shark fin trim at the rear is very 2022 Kia Sedona. 

Also, the Sorento will now ride on wheels ranging from 17 to model-first 20 inches. It will also be the first Kia vehicle to get the 12.3-inch all-digital instrument cluster. It will however be available with the top SX Prestige trims only. The top-of-the-line SX Prestige X-Line trim (AWD only) will feature an extra inch of ground clearance and better departure and approach angles as well. 

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Kia Sorento Powertrain

The V6 has been ditched in favour of the 2.5-liter four-pot which already is a part of the Sorento lineup. It makes 191 hp and 182 lb-ft of torque. Both FWD and AWD are available while an eight-speed automatic supplies power to the wheels. A turbocharged version of the 2.5, four-pot is the other engine that also comes with an eight-speed but is a DCT rather than a torque converter. Also, the power increases significantly to 281 hp while the torque, even more so with 311 lb-ft of it on tap. Kia claims that the 2.5 turbo will return 25 mpg while the naturally aspirated will be good for 27 mpg. Towing however is down by 1,500 lbs to 3,500 lbs. 

The hybrid powertrain will employ a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine hooked up to a 44 kW motor which will push out a combined output of 227 hp. Interestingly, the hybrid will be front-wheel-drive only and driving the wheels will be a six-speed automatic. Kia is aiming for a combined fuel efficiency figure of 37 mpg. A plug-in hybrid will arrive later in the model cycle. Though it will have the same engine/gearbox combo, it will come with a bigger 66 kW motor and a larger 8 kWh battery pack compared to the 5 kWh one in the non-plug-in. The combined output will be 261 hp, AWD will be standard and it will have an all-electric range of 30 miles.

Kia Sorento Features

Sorento LX

The LX comes with the naturally aspirated 2.5-liter four-pot motor. AWD is optional and so is the drive mode selector. Standard features include 17-inch alloy wheels and heated wing mirrors which are also power-adjustable. The instrument cluster is analogue with a 4.2-inch digital LCD. Driver’s perch though 6-way adjustable isn’t powered nor is the passenger seat which is 4-way adjustable. An 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay is standard. 

In terms of driver assistance systems the base LX only gets an intelligent speed limit assist along with forward collision assist with pedestrian detection, high-beam assist, lane-keeping assist, and lane departure warning. 

Kia Sorento S

The S trim too comes with the less powerful gasoline engine. Over the base LX it gets 18-inch alloys, Syntex seat upholstery and 10-way power-adjustable driver’s perch. The front seats are heated, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel and gear knob are also a part of the S trim. Dual-zone climate control and auto defog appear in the S, the infotainment system remains the same but adds voice recognition and push-button start. 

Blind-spot detection with rear cross-traffic is available with the S along with rear parking sensors. 


Kia Sorento EX 

The 281 hp 2.5-liter turbo is available EX onwards and comes with an eight-speed DCT. Foldable captain chairs replace the rear bench and over the S it comes with wireless charger, smart cruise control with stop and go, forward collision avoidance with pedestrian and cyclist detection and intersection assist. 

Kia Sorento SX

All SX trims come with 20-inch wheels as standard, a first for a Sorento. LED projector lamps are also standard on the SX along with LED DRLs.  The lower trims get positioning lamps instead of LED DRLs. 

The passenger seat is 8-way power adjustable while the infotainment screen is upgraded to the 10.25-inch unit with haptic controls. Driving assists add highway driving assist to the package. 

Kia Sorento SX Prestige

2021 Kia Sorento’s penultimate trim is available with FWD only but does get the Kia-first 1.2 inch all-digital instrument cluster. The cabin gets a dash of luxury thanks to leather trimmed seats with embossed bolsters which are heated and ventilated. While the infotainment is the same as the SX, it gets the upgraded 12-speaker Bose sound system 

In terms of safety, the Prestige adds a 360-degree camera and blind-spot monitor to the mix. 

Kia Sorento SX Prestige X-Line 

The SX Prestige X-Line is the top trim in the Sorento lineup and will be available with AWD only. Apart from aesthetic changes the convenience features are identical to the SX Prestige trim. Lastly, it will feature an inch higher ground clearance and better departure and approach angles to make it more off-road friendly. 

Kia Sorento vs GMC Acadia

2017 GMC Acadia

Like the Sorento, GMC’s Acadia is a three-row that’s a little less massive than some of the other choices. It makes for a great crossover if you’ve got smaller kids going in the back row or just need seats six and seven on occasion. The Acadia’s base engine is a 193 hp, 2.5L four that’s backed by a nine-speed auto, and that gearbox helps give it a slightly better 27 mpg highway. The Acadia can also be had with a 310 hp, 3.6L V6 that also gets a nine-speed auto. It’s about as thirsty as the Sorento’s V6.

A base GMC Acadia starts at $29,800, which about $3,000 more than the Kia. Loaded up, a top-spec Acadia Denali is about $6,000 more than a top-spec Sorento, but it does offer more luxury features like ventilated seats. It’s also a Denali, which means it looks more upscale and you can more easily tell it apart from the base model than you can a Kia L and SX.

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Detailed Specs

Price Range / $28,990-$44,090 (estimated)
Engine / 2.5-liter I4 / 2.5-liter I4 Turbo / 1.6 hybrid / 1.6 plug-in
Power (hp) / 191 / 281 / 227 / 261
Torque (lb-ft) / 182 / 311 / NA / NA
Fuel Economy (mpg, city/hwy/combined) / NA
Drivetrain / 8AT, FWD/AWD, 8DCT, FWD/AWD, 6AT, FWD/AWD