At the 2017 Los Angeles Motor Show held last week, Kia pulled the wraps off a refreshed Sorento, an SUV they hope will reignite sales for the family-focused 7-seater when it launches as a 2019 model in the latter phases of 2018, probably.
What was clear, though, was how the Korean manufacturer is aiming to make the Sorento a much more appealing option to buyers, particularly (and unsurprisingly) those in North America. Has it worked? It’s much too early to say, but from these pictures, the third-generation Sorento certain looks a little more prepared to take on cars (in the US) like the Honda Pilot and Toyota Highlander, known in Australia as the Kluger).
Only when viewed side by side do the similarities start to be so evident, but somehow the new 2019 Sorento is able to make a case for itself as being a little bit more premium, and a little more worthy of being an emotional purchase instead of the one that might’ve made the most financial sense.
Boil down the changes, and there are relegated to typical ‘facelift’ fodder: new bumpers front and rear, fog lamps, grille, exhaust tips, more chrome plastered about (tastefully or otherwise). Taken together, and it’s our opinion that the Sorento does indeed look better. Then again, Kia’s base SUV already had a well-enough proportioned body to not need any major redesigns. The difference is now they’re really hoping people will notice it now or, well, in 2019.
Like we said in our previous post upon the first teaser from Kia about this upcoming Sorento refresh, there’s a certain hint of Cadillac about how it now looks. Maybe it’s the chrome, maybe its the larger wheels, maybe its because it’s lower to the ground.
Apart from the visual tweaks, Kia hasn’t really altered much with regard to the Sorento’s interior. Depending on grade, the upholstery and trim can be specified to be quite luxurious feeling, and the general build quality of Kia’s cabins with plenty of soft touch material and an ergonomic but still visually pleasant layout able to pass much of the scrutiny of both critics and showroom-goers.
That said, some new tech options announced was announced such as wireless phone charging to go along with the compatibility with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and a 10-speaker Harman/Kardon audio system.
Future Sorentos will also come with a more comprehensive suite of driver assist and active safety features including autonomous emergency braking, forward collision warning, adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, a 360-degree camera, and in certain variants, lane keep assist, and driver-attention monitor.
No new engines were announced as part of the unveil, unfortunately, which means that expect the carry-over 2.2-litre four-cylinder turbodiesel and 3.3-litre V6 should be in service for a good while longer.