2016 Kia Sorento Makes Official U.S. Debut in L.A.

2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder joins the engine lineup.

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen the new 2016 Kia Sorento, as Kia debuted this crossover in Europe a few months back and released a U.S.-spec photo two weeks ago. As the new Sorento makes its official debut at the L.A. auto show, though, we do now have full information on this redesigned model that goes on sale in the first quarter of 2015.

The 2016 Kia Sorento follows the Kia brand’s successful styling language, with the corporate-look grille up front flanked by headlights that resemble those on the new Kia Sedona minivan. The similarities continue in the rear, as the relatively slab-sided profile transitions to a cleanly-styled rear tailgate with horizontal taillights and plenty of chrome trim for the pictured SXL model.

The new Sorento is larger than before, with a 3.1-inch longer wheelbase and a 0.2-inch greater width compared with the outgoing Sorento. The extended proportions make for a profile that’s similar to other three-row SUVs like the Toyota Highlander and the related Hyundai Santa Fe. There’s also plenty of extra space inside, as Kia says overall cargo volume is up by 1.5 cu ft, while legroom and headroom is up for both the second-row and optional third-row seats.

Two of the Sorento’s engine choices carry over from the last Sorento, but there is a new 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that sits between the 2.4-liter four-cylinder and 3.3-liter V-6. This turbocharged engine, shared with other Hyundai/Kia products like the Sonata and Optima sedans, makes 240 hp in this application and mates with a six-speed automatic transmission, as do the other two engine choices. The base 2.4-liter four gives up 6 hp in the new Sorento due to some retuning, and the 3.3-liter V-6 still makes 290 hp like it did in the outgoing Sorento. All powertrains come standard with front-wheel drive, with all-wheel drive as an option.

The 2016 Kia Sorento’s more upscale interior features a handsomely designed, horizontally oriented dashboard layout that uses more soft-touch materials than before. A five-passenger layout is standard for four-cylinder models, while a three-row, seven-passenger layout is standard on all V-6 models and optional on the LX 2.4 trim. The second-row seats come in a 40/20/40 folding arrangement, and the optional third row folds 50/50 to afford multiple seating configurations. With all seats folded, cargo space is 74 cu ft, falling short of the Toyota Highlander’s 83.7 cu ft and the Nissan Pathfinder’s 79.8 cu ft.

The 2016 Kia Sorento will come in eight different trim levels. 2.4-liter models include L and LX; 2.0T trims include LX and SX-L; and V-6 Sorentos come in LX, EX, SX, and SX-L versions. Equipment like Bluetooth, cruise control, alloy wheels, and a USB port come standard on all Sorentos, while higher-trim models offer luxury features like leather seats, a panoramic sunroof, HID headlights, navigation, and a power liftgate. A suite of active safety features like forward collision warning, lane departure warning, and adaptive cruise control is offered for SX-L models, while a blind-spot monitor is optional on EX and SX models as well.

Expect to see pricing and fuel economy information for the 2016 Kia Sorento closer to its on-sale date, scheduled for the first quarter of 2015. In the meantime, check out the photos of this 2016 Kia Sorento SX-L as this new crossover makes its Los Angeles auto show debut.

Buying Guide
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0-60 MPH:

9.1 SECS

Real MPG:

23 City / 29 Hwy

Cargo (Std/Max):

39 / 74 cu. ft.