Smart new Kia Sorento revealed with hybrid powertrain and high-tech features

  • Kia’s largest SUV in Europe gets a fresh face for 2020
  • Retains seven-seat layout and practical body
  • Will be available with hybrid engines for the first time
  • View Kia Sorento leasing deals

Kia has taken the wraps off its new Sorento in full, revealing its newly-invigorated seven-seat SUV following a lengthy programme of teasers. We’ve now been given Europe-specific details of the new Sorento, which for the first time includes hybrid powertrains and some of the very latest technology.

The Sorento will rival the likes of sister brand Hyundai’s Santa Fe, as well as talented opposition such as the Skoda Kodiaq,  Peugeot 5008 and SsangYong Rexton.

>> Read more: The Parkers guide to SUVs

High-tech interior with luxury touches

The Sorento’s interior is one of the most luxurious we’ve seen yet from Kia, with a fully digital dashboard available including a 12.3-inch display in front of the driver and a 10.25-inch infotainment touchscreen in the centre.

2020 Kia Sorento interior

It will also be possible to specify the Sorento with quilted Nappa leather upholstery, chrome detailing, a two-tone cabin, mood lighting and a Bose surround-sound stereo – features that would have been unheard of in a Kia even a decade ago.

It’s also not short on space, though that’s to be expected for a family SUV. Space for up to seven passengers is a given, but 187-litres of boot space with all seven seats in place is impressive. That expands to 821 litres with the third row folded.

All models include Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, but the Sorento will also offer Kia’s connected telematics system – known as UVO. This features live services such as traffic information, weather forecasts, points of interest and parking details, as well as connectivity with a smartphone app allowing certain functions to be operated remotely.

2020 Kia Sorento boot seats down

The Sorento also offers pairing for two phones simultaneously – ideal if you want to play music from your personal phone but take calls through your work phone, for example. There’s also a USB charging point for every passenger in the car.

Lots of safety kit

The Sorento is available with a raft of advanced safety features, though what will come standard in the UK is unknown as of yet. Still, there’ll be blind-spot monitoring, all-round parking cameras, adaptive cruise control and semi-autonomous lane following assist – capable of taking control of the car’s steering, brakes and accelerator on motorways and fast roads.

Debuting on this car is Kia's clever new Blind-Spot View Monitor - this uses a camera hidden in each door mirror and the 12.3-inch digital dial screen to show you cars lurking in your blind spots.

It's activated when you use the left or right indicator, and projects an image on the screen where the tachometer or speedometer would normally be located. This clever tech is part of a package including a Surround View Monitor and Parking Collision-Avoidance Assist, plus a Bose Performance Series audio system.

Kia Sorento Blind-Spot View Monitor

This is the first car in Europe to use such a system and we're looking forward to seeing it in action.

The Sorento will also offer remote parking assist, allowing drivers to back it into and out of a tight space from outside the vehicle using the key, ideal for small garages or unreasonable parking spaces.

Better yet, there’s Safe Exit Assist – which will prevent the rear doors from opening if the vehicle detects an approaching hazard.

New look for Sorento

The Sorento is Kia’s largest SUV in Europe, but globally it’s considered mid-sized – it sits beneath the Telluride in the brand’s North American portfolio, for example, a car that’s won high acclaim from US critics.

>> What is an SUV?

The Sorento takes its new styling cues from its larger sibling and that means bold, angular lines front and rear, with the largest incarnation of Kia’s ‘Tiger Nose’ grille yet – now extending the full width of the front end of the car and blending into sharp LED headlights.

2020 Kia Sorento rear three quarter

The rear, meanwhile, is covered in cuts and slashes and features vertical LED taillights – along with plenty of chrome.

Still capable off-road

The first Sorento was an unapologetically old-fashioned machine aimed at going off-road. More recent generations had a bit more of an on-road focus but kept the ability for some minor off-roading if needed.

2020 Kia Sorento front

The latest car keeps that, with optional all-wheel drive and ‘Terrain Mode’, which tunes the stability control, driving characteristics and transmission to maximise grip across all terrains. It’s unlikely to bother a Land Rover Discovery on the rough stuff, but it should prove more than capable for most needs.

New engine range including hybrid for the first time

All European markets will get the more conventional of two engines – a 2.2-litre diesel similar to the one in the existing Sorento. With 202hp and 440Nm of torque, it’s more powerful than the engine it replaces but significantly lighter, and will be paired up to an eight-speed, dual-clutch transmission.

Of more interest is the 1.6-litre hybrid engine option. It’s not yet confirmed whether this will come to the UK market but it could prove an interesting option if it does – the only other seven-seat hybrid currently on sale is the pricey Lexus RX L.

>> What is a hybrid?

It pairs a turbocharged 1.6-litre petrol engine with a battery pack and electric motor to provide a total of 230hp and 350Nm of torque. Unlike plug-in rivals such as the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, the Sorento hybrid will have very limited capacity for pure-electric running. However, Kia’s promised a plug-in variant is on the way late in 2020.

We’ve no data for performance, economy or emissions yet, but will update this page once we know more.

What this means for you

Sometime later in the year you'll be able to buy a larger Kia SUV that not only makes good financial sense, with a long warranty and proven reliability, but has that 'glance over the shoulder' appeal that is vital to the luxury end of the market.

It's got the looks and certainly seems to have the attitude in these early images - so if the price and tech is competitive, this next-generation Sorento is definitely worth waiting for. If you need to buy before then, or simply want the best value for money, then make the effort to seek out deals on the current Sorento - these are likely to appear around May to July 2020, just before the new model goes on sale.

Further reading:

>> Kia Sorento review

>> Best family SUVs

>> Hyundai Santa Fe review