The 2021 Kia Sorento Teased, Learns Style Lessons from the Telluride
Kia just teased its new Sorento midsize SUV prior to its full unveil on March 3 at the 2020 Geneva Motor Show. (The Sorento is a global product, hence the European premiere.) The teaser images (and others floating around) signal it's going to make liberal use of the Telluride's winning aesthetic recipe if not in direct terms, certainly in spirit. Actually, we hope it learns everything it can from its three-row big brother—the Telluride is our reigning 2020 SUV of the Year.
However it shakes out, it's clear the Sorento will be more angular than before and that its so-called "tiger-nose" grille will be more pronounced and a bit more square than before. The taillights appear to be twin-stack riffs on the Telluride's units, and we notice some similarity in the shape of the Sorento's C-pillar flourish with half of the Telluride's window-line B-pillar trim. Additional new details include sharper and more aggressive daytime running lights and a hatch-mounted spoiler. It's unknown at this time if that spoiler will be limited to the sportier SX trims, or if it'll be available on all models.
It's clear the styling will help it stand out, but what the Sorento needs most of all is a more involved and cohesive driving experience. When the current Sorento competed in our 2016 SUV of the Year test, there was a lot to like but it nevertheless suffered from numb steering and too much body roll. We also didn't like its lackluster powertrain; we expect this new model to offer new-generation turbocharged four-cylinders in the U.S. market, as well as possible hybrid or plug-in-hybrid variants.
With the Telluride locking down the large, three-row family-hauling market, a crisper, sportier Sorento makes sense. We should know soon if lessons learned from the Telluride will put Sorento competitors like the Honda Pilot and Toyota Highlander on notice. For a refresher of what the current-gen Sorento looks like, head into the gallery at the top of the page.