Sister companies Kia and Hyundai haven’t been shy about their push to improve their respective images to new heights, as they’ve continued to make huge changes through the 2000s and 2010s. This movement has really accelerated with the likes of the Kia K900, Hyundai Equus, Kia Cadenza and the new Hyundai Sonata, but the Korean automakers have yet to fully express their capabilities with a true premium SUV.
This year, I spent a week driving a fully loaded Kia Sorento SXL and while the interior was impressive for anything lacking a BMW, Mercedes or Lexus badge on its nose, the exterior left a lot to be desired. This will apparently all change for the 2016 model year, as Kia is preparing to reveal an all-new Sorento with a fully upgraded interior and exterior.
According to the first few images that Kia has just revealed, the 2016 Sorento will finally make use of a more mature design that will bring the exterior in line with the Sorento’s available premium features inside the cabin. The new body is longer, lower and wider than the existing model, likely enhancing the Sorento’s already-impressive cargo-hauling capabilities, and features a sleeker take on Kia’s design language.
The Sorento takes design cues from the Cross GT concept that Kia launched in 2013, but also carries over some of last year’s features, like the elongated hood and thick D-pillars. The softer body lines are by far the most obvious change to the look of the Sorento, as they give it a more grown-up look, and the 3D grille and surround that are obviously borrowed from the K900, make the Sorento look like something that belongs in a higher price range.
This redesign will also usher in an even more premium cabin that features a wraparound dash, gobs of soft-touch surfaces and loads of on-board technology to tinker with. While the updated cabin is great, the big news is the new body.
We’re still awaiting details on the powertrain options, but expect the same 2.4-liter four cylinder engine as the base level and the optional, 3.3-liter V-6. Don’t be shocked if the turbocharged, 2.0-liter four cylinder makes its way into the lineup as an in-between option and a range-topping, plug-in hybrid option.
We’ll find out more when the Sorento makes at its Korean debut at the end of August 2014 and makes an appearance at the 2014 Paris Motor Show in October.