New Sorento gets inspiration from popular Telluride

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LOS ANGELES — Kia is remixing the ingredients used to create the three-row Telluride in retooling the fourth-generation Sorento.

The latest midsize Sorento crossover, unwrapped in European specs last week via Facebook, is bigger and more sculpted than its predecessor and packs modern technology and upscale materials similar to its new, bigger sibling. And with room for up to seven passengers, Kia is counting on it to punch above its weight class.

“Raising standards in the midsize-SUV class for space, efficiency and quality, it sits at the heart of Kia’s reinvigorated global SUV lineup,” Kia said of the new Sorento. U.S. specifications will be released soon, Kia said.

With U.S. sales of 95,951 last year, down 11 percent from 2018, the Sorento is among Kia’s top sellers in the U.S. and ranked fifth last year among all midsize crossovers, according to the Automotive News Data Center.

The latest Sorento’s exterior styling features sharper lines, high-tech details and elongated proportions for a more mature presence than the outgoing model.

“The new Sorento is the first vehicle to be based on Kia’s new-generation midsize-SUV platform,” the company said. “Paired with a larger body to maximize cargo and luggage space, the platform ensures the Sorento is one of the most versatile and spacious three-row SUVs on the road.”

In Europe, the Sorento will come in a hybrid version, a first for the crossover. The hybrid has enhanced fuel economy and lower emissions than the outgoing model but also better performance, Kia said. A plug-in hybrid will be offered later.

In Europe, the hybrid is powered by an electric motor paired with a new 1.6-liter turbocharged gasoline engine also available in the U.S.-spec Hyundai Sonata. The hybrid uses a six-speed automatic transmission. The Sorento also will be available with a 2.2-liter diesel engine in Europe paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission. All-wheel drive is optional.

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