The 2021 Kia Sorento was shown in official photos a few days ago, but we were missing all of the meaty details. Today, Kia has begun the process of parceling this information out, feeding us powertrain information and a few other interesting features of note.
In North America, we can expect at least two engine options: a hybrid and a traditional gasoline-only engine. The latter is slated to be ready at launch — it’ll consist of a 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, matched with an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. We imagine it’s the same powertrain that we got a taste of in a pre-production Sonata N-Line not too long ago. In the Sorento, output is 277 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque. That’s the same amount of torque as Hyundai said the Sonata N-Line will have, but it’s down 13 horsepower compared to the semi-performance sedan.
The hybrid powertrain, which is confirmed for the North American market, consists of a 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder and single electric motor. Combined output amounts to 227 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. Kia promises low emissions with high levels of performance, and with those power figures, we imagine the Sorento Hybrid won’t be a total bore to drive.
That’s it so far as North America powertrain news is concerned for now, but Kia promised more to come — we’re told to expect additional gasoline engine options and “a powerful new plug-in hybrid variant.”
Kia teased out a few details about the new platform this Sorento is riding on, too. The wheelbase is 1.4 inches longer than before, but the vehicle’s overall length is only extended by 0.4 inch. Kia claims better packaging strategies will give the Sorento “class-leading cargo space.” The new platform also allows Kia to put the hybrid’s battery pack underneath the floor, claiming it has zero impact on passenger or cargo space.
There were a few easter eggs at the end of Kia’s release, too. The Sorento will be the first Kia to feature the company’s new “multi-collision brake system” that automatically applies the brakes when the airbags have been deployed after the initial collision. It also has a new “remote smartphone surround view monitor.” This will allow folks to look at the vehicle’s surroundings on their smartphone through an app, in addition to seeing it in the infotainment screen. Looking at a phone while driving has never been a good idea, but the feature could be useful if it allows you to check a parked car's surroundings while you're away. Either way, Kia hasn’t confirmed the feature for the U.S. market yet; we’ll have to wait and see if we get it or not. Look out for the rest of the details on the new Sorento in Geneva on March 3.