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The 2021 Kia Sorento.

Courtesy of manufacturer

Kia has been teasing us with photos and snippets of specs for the next-generation Sorento since last winter, but now we have the official details on the version that will go on sale in Canada as soon as this November.

The Sorento has always been a little tricky to classify. It’s larger than typical compact crossovers but significantly smaller than traditional mid-size ones. That doesn’t change with the U.S.-developed-and-built 2021 model, which at 4,810 mm almost exactly matches its predecessor in length (though it’s a little taller and wider) and so still occupies an “intermediate” subsegment between the Kia Sportage (actually one of the market’s smallest compacts) and the Telluride (a typical mid-size).

The new-generation Sorento is intended to have a rugged, traditional SUV look and is built on a 35-mm-longer wheelbase that promises more interior room. As before, it will be a three-row seven-seater, but for the first time on a Sorento, second-row captain’s chairs will be available, reducing the seat count to six. A two-row five-seater is not offered.

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Two new powertrains will be offered initially – a 191-horsepower 2.5-litre naturally-aspirated four-cylinder replacing the previous base 2.4, and a turbocharged 281-hp 2.5 replacing the previous 3.3-litre V6. Both will be teamed with eight-speed automatics – a conventional torque-converter type on the base engine and a dual-clutch auto-shifted manual on the turbo – and promise improved fuel efficiency.

Despite the 2.5T offering 23-per-cent more peak torque than the outgoing V6, the max tow rating is reduced to 3,500 lbs. from 5,000. Kia says it now has the Telluride to provide the higher tow ratings.

The new Sorento features a stunning array of driver-assist systems.

Courtesy of manufacturer

In the U.S., the Sorento will also launch with hybrid (HEV) and plug-in-hybrid (PHEV) powertrains, but in front-wheel drive only. The HEV and PHEV models will come to Canada too, but not until next year when they become available with all-wheel drive.

There will be six trims offered in Canada: the LX+ and LX Premium powered by the base engine; plus X-Line, EX, EX+ and SX with the turbo engine. The X-Line is a new trim, with 20-inch dark gloss grey wheels, increased ride height, bridge-style roof rack and second-row captain’s chairs.

As seems to be the modern way, most of Kia’s press information about the new Sorento is taken up with “tech.” No, not powertrain and chassis details, but connectivity, infotainment and Advance Driver Assist Systems (ADAS) – a stunning array of which are either standard across the board or included on higher trims. To list just a few of the more standout features:

  • Engine Idle Notification and Automatic Engine Shut Off notifies the driver via the UVO link app if the engine is left idling and, after a pre-selected time, turns off the engine.
  • On-demand Find My Car uses the Surround-View cameras to capture images of the vehicle’s surroundings and shares them via the Kia UVO Intelligence app.
  • Final Destination Guide provides walking directions to your destination if you’ve parked between 100 meters and two kilometres away.
  • Blind Spot Collision Avoidance – Parallel Exit detects and avoids a collision risk with parallel traffic when leaving a parking spot.
  • Navigation Based Smart Cruise Control-Curve (NSCC-C) automatically reduces the vehicle’s speed before upcoming curves.

Depending on the trim grade, the central touch-screen display is eight- or 10.25-inch diagonal, and a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster is also on the menu.

Pricing will be announced closer to the on-sale date in November.

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