Three years into its life, the 3rd-generation Kia Sorento is due for an update. Not a particularly major refresh, but more a combing through of its list of key features to bring it up to snuff with rivals within the competitive SUV space. That’s exactly what the South Korean automaker delivered.
For now, though, the facelifted Sorento is only making itself publicly known within the brand’s home market, but it should be reaching international shores before the year is out, including Australia. From the outset, you might not even recognise it for being an updated model, especially after spotting those large 19-inch chrome wheels - that is, unless you’ll know what to look for.
Things start to change up front, where the new full LED headlights that sport a new layout that places the daytime illuminators at the base of the housing instead of at the home. The low and high beam projectors are still arranged in a sort of cascading barrel, which increases in number to three at the highest grade.
There’s also a new grille mesh pattern and a new pair of fog lamps that are congruent with the quad-reflector design on each side that we’re now familiar with in nearly all current cars in Kia’s portfolio. Looking at the rest of the body, there’s little change to linger upon until we reach the rear, which are relegated to the revised tail lamps, reshaped lower bumper, and rear skid plate with integrated exposed dual exhaust tips.
Arguably, it’s the interior where Kia has focused the majority of their efforts. Being their largest and most expensive SUV, they’ve done a fair bit to emphasise the more luxurious aura its size and price would command. It certainly looks properly swish with tan leather on the upholstery and door trim, accented with a mix of quilted and perforated cushions (which are heated and ventilated).
Elsewhere, the steering wheel has also been swapped out for a new 4-spoke design that somewhat oddly melds a circular protuberance within a squared centre cover. A new infotainment system has also been added, supporting smartphone integration with support for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto through a larger 8-inch display. Along the centre tunnel, there’s a new gear lever and an optional wireless smart device charging pad just north of that.
As before, the Sorento can be chosen to accommodate 5 or 7 seats over 2 or 3 passenger rows. Keeping them safe is an updated list of variant-specific safety features which will include forward collision assist, blind spot monitoring, corner-adaptive headlights, and active cruise control.
Both all-wheel drive and front-wheel drive configurations are available, and in Korea are specifiable with a choice of three engines: a sole 2.0-litre T-GDI petrol with 177kW and 353Nm and a pair of four-cylinder turbodiesel, a 2.0-litre 136kW/402Nm unit and a 2.2-litre unit with 148kW and 441Nm. Upon its Australian arrival, the engine choices may be carried fully over from the current Sorento, meaning the addition of a 3.3-litre naturally-aspirated V6 petrol motor that produces 199kW and 318Nm.