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The 2021 Kia Sorento is a tempting package with its stylish and rugged design, electrified powertrains and a highly tech-laden cabin
Kia has a robust SUV line-up globally. Their range starts with the Seltos in the mid-size SUV segment followed by the Stonic and the Sportage, sitting in segments above. And between the Sportage and the range topping Telluride, is the Sorento. It has been around globally since 2002 and with time, the Sorento has evolved significantly, growing in size while its engines have been downsized to meet tighter emission norms. The 2021 Sorento is a big departure from the current generation of the SUV with its new exterior and interior design and electrified powertrains. Kia claims it’s also the most tech-laden car they’ve ever made.
Kia is trying to hit multiple targets with one arrow with the design of the Sorento. It’s tough-looking, robust and at the same time, its sharp lines and creases render it a sporty aesthetic. Upfront, there’s Kia’s hallmark tiger nose grille along with new ‘tiger eyeline’ LED DRLs. Complementing the sharp front end is a neat looking side profile flanked by slender body cladding and a window-line surrounded in chrome. It retains its characteristic forward sloping D-pillar and flared wheel-arches too. At the rear there are split vertical LED tail lamps and a bumper that embodies twin tail pipes and a skid plate.
The 2021 Sorento will be offered with two powertrain options. The Sorento Hybrid will be propelled by a 1.6-litre turbo-petrol engine paired to a 44.2kW (59bhp) electric motor. The electric motor will be fed by a 1.49kWh lithium-ion polymer battery pack. This electrified powertrain produces 230hp and 350Nm of torque and is mated to a six-speed automatic gearbox. On the other hand, the diesel Sorento gets a new 2.2-litre engine producing 202hp and 440Nm of torque. Power is fed to all four wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission and Kia claims this engine is 38kg lighter.
Let’s start with the basics. There’s a 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment system offering your usual gamut of smartphone integration with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay along with audio-visual navigation and Kia’s UVO connected car technology (remotely lock/unlock, start/stop the engine, set service reminders and geo-fencing among others). Then, there’s a 12.3-inch HD instrument cluster for driving and vehicle related information. That said, Kia wants its occupants to keep their smartphones charged at all times – there are as many as seven USB charging ports in the Sorento. Premium features like 64-colour ambient lighting, panoramic sunroof (now omnipresent) and 12-speaker Bose surround sound system also make their way into the Sorento’s cabin.
As much as Kia focuses on design, it also does on safety. Depending on the variant, the international-spec Sorento gets a suite of ADAS (advanced driver assistance systems). It gets blind-spot monitoring, blind-spot collision avoidance assistance, cruise control, forward collision assist, and driver attention warning. It also gets level two autonomous driving technology that works in conjunction with LFA (lane following assist), controlling acceleration, braking, and steering using camera and radar sensors that monitor road markings. That said, there’s also ESC and VSM to help drivers maintain control under braking and cornering.
There’s no official word from Kia on the Sorento being launched in India. Their next launch in the country will be the Sonet based compact SUV, which makes a lot more sense given the high demand for small SUVs in our market. However, Kia has garnered a lot of appreciation from the Indian market for the Carnival and the hot-selling Seltos. So, there’s no doubt that the Sorento too will spark curiosity amongst buyers looking for an SUV in the Rs 30-35 lakh price bracket. Given the suite of features on offer (minus the radar-based systems) and Kia’s mastery in design, the Sorento looks like a better alternative to the Fortuner and the Endeavour, on paper at least.