New Kia Sorento SUV revealed

Fancy a strong value, supersize SUV? The new Kia Sorento looks sharper and is larger than before with seven seats likely to come as standard

James Wilson
Mar 13, 2020

Kia has revealed the all-new Sorento SUV, which showcases a bold new look and for the first time, hybrid technology to boost fuel economy. Order books are expected to open later this year, but first impressions are that this new Sorento looks likely to give other seven-seat SUVs some serious competition.

Kia has focused on transforming the Sorento into a desirable everyday cruiser rather than the slightly utilitarian all-road SUV format of its predecessors. While this will disappoint those who liked the tough, no-frills approach of the previous Sorento models, it will no doubt make the large Korean SUV appeal to a greater number of drivers.

Sports utility vehicles (more commonly known as SUVs) are very much in vogue at the moment. This recent explosion in popularity means that there's more choice than ever - whether you're after a compact, high-riding crossover, or a full-size seven-seater SUV, with off-road ability to boot.

Kia hasn’t bothered with subtle changes; the new Sorento looks nothing like its predecessor inside or out and it is available with a more exciting range of engines thanks to the addition of hybrid power.

Quick facts

  • Bold new design
  • Self-charging and plug-in hybrid models
  • Seven-seats expected as standard
  • UK models feature automatic gearbox
  • Now slightly longer than before 
  • Order books open summer 2020

2020 Kia Sorento engines and hybrid power

Initially, Kia will offer the 2020 Sorento with either a 2.2-litre diesel or a self-charging 1.6-litre T-GDi 'Smartstream' petrol hybrid. That's not the only petrol-electric option, however.

Kia has also announced that a plug-in hybrid version of the new Sorento will be available soon after launch (and before the end of 2020). Traditionally, a car such as the Sorento would predominantly be sold with a diesel engine, however, diesel has really fallen out of favour with governments and buyers, due to concerns over the emisisons from older diesel engines.

Combine this with the fact that strict new emission limits are coming into effect from 2021 and electrification is the only viable option for car manufacturers of large SUVs that actually want to sell a lot of cars. Performance details for each engine can be found in the tech and specs section below.

2020 Kia Sorento styling

Kia’s designers have really upped their game with the new Sorento. While the previous generation was by no means ugly, it was hardly a car that stood out from the pack. Like many new cars, however, sharp angular body lines are the order of the day. Kia has also incorporated an expansive front grille and quad rear lights into the design.

While we will leave it up to you as to whether or not you are a fan, it is worth noting that the images provided show a Korean-spec car, so expect there to be a few subtle exterior differences to UK-spec vehicles.

Inside is arguably where the biggest design improvements have been made and it is expected that aside from a few colour changes, UK-spec Sorento’s will be almost identical to that of the Korean models.

In short, this looks to mean that the bland dashboard of the previous model is out and a striking new one is in. If there were no Kia badges in sight you could almost be fooled into thinking the interior belongs to an upmarket German SUV.

2020 Kia Sorento practicality

Kia has increased the overall length of its new Sorento – by 10mm. While this might not seem like a lot, the distance between the front and rear wheels has been increased, too, by 35mm no less. Typically this means cabin space should be improved, although we will have to wait to sit in one to confirm as much.

All UK models are expected to come with seven-seats, including plug-in hybrid variants due later in the year. Boot capacity is claimed to be 910 litres provided the rearmost seats are folded flat, although Kia is yet to confirm whether or not the larger battery pack used in the plug-in hybrid (PHEV) models will impact cargo space. Either way, expect plenty of luggage room - this is a big car.

2020 Kia Sorento technology

Headline technology additions include a new 12.3-inch digital driver's display (which replaces the traditional analogue dials) and a central 10.3-inch touchscreen media system.

Elsewhere, it is expected that UK spec Sorento’s will come as standard with autonomous emergency braking (great for crash test scores, lower insurance and general road safety), leather seats and dual-zone climate control. Higher spec-models will be treated to equipment such as heated and ventilated seats, wireless phone charging and adaptive cruise control for keeping you a safe distance behind the car in front.

2020 Kia Sorento engines and performance

Starting with the self-charging hybrid option, Kia has mated a 1.6-litre turbo petrol engine with an electric motor and lithium-ion battery pack. In total, the system produces 227hp and 350Nm of torque - that's low engine speed muscle. For reference, the outgoing Sorento was only available with a 2.2-litre diesel which came with less power but more torque.

The 2020 self-charging Sorento is set to use a battery pack rated at 1.49kWh, which is about what is expected for this type of car. Those wanting to drive any reasonable distance on battery power alone will need to wait for the plug-in hybrid Sorento to arrive, which, is anticipated to come with an all-electric range of around 35 miles.

The plug-in Sorento is expected to use the same 1.6-litre petrol engine but paired with a more powerful electric motor pushing total power output to around 370hp, which should give it strong acceleration. The final confirmed engine option is a 2.2-litre diesel – it is expected to produce just under 200hp and 440Nm of torque. While Kia has stated the diesel engine is new, the performance figures are remarkably similar to that of its old 2.2-litre diesel.

It is expected that all UK Sorento models will come with four-wheel drive and an eight-speed automatic gearbox. Kia is yet to confirm official emission and economy figures and charge times, so be sure to keep checking back for any updates.

2020 Kia Sorento prices and delivery dates

Pricing is yet to be announced, but Kia is expected to reveal more information before order books open in summer this year. That said, it is expected that prices will start in the high £30,000s.

How is the 2020 Kia Sorento shaping up against its rivals?

In short, quite well. Being a large seven-seat SUV the Sorento competes against cars such as the Skoda Kodiaq, Seat Tarraco plus pricier models like the Volvo XC90 and BMW X5. While the Kia has historically been more of a rival for the lower-end of the market, initial signs are that the big Korean SUV could well be moving up a rung or two on the luxury-ladder.

Providing prices remain competitive, those who are less bothered about what badge is on the bonnet could well find themselves with one heck of a car. For reference, a seven-seat Seat Tarraco or Skoda Kodiaq starts at around £29,000, the BMW X5 from £59,000 and the Volvo XC90 from £53,000.

One area the Sorento wipes the floor with its competition is warranty – as standard, all Kias come with an industry-leading seven-year/100,000-mile warranty. Until models start to arrive, the actual driving experience will remain a mystery - but it will have to be very good to challenge the BMW. Bear in mind the likely price difference, however, and we'd expect it to be a very appealing relatively affordable seven-seat SUV.


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