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2019 Kia Sorento: what we know so far

Kia’s largest SUV is a steady seller in the large SUV class. What’s coming down the track in 2019?

They don’t come any bigger than the Kia Sorento here in Australia. The large SUV competes with rivals like Toyota’s Prado and Kluger pairing, the Mazda CX-9, Nissan Pathfinder, and of course Hyundai’s Santa Fe.

The Sorento was given a nip and tuck in late 2017, but it’s the 2019 Kia Sorento we’re most interested in… and a recent big revision to stablemate and arch-rival Hyundai’s Santa Fe may point the way to the next Sorento.

However, don’t get the impression that Hyundai and Kia have regular retreats to share product ideas. “Think of it more as the rivalry between Audi and Volkswagen,” says a Kia insider. “There’s really no cross-brand discussions about market share or specification. We’ll take all the sales off them [Hyundai] that we can!”

The 2019 Kia Sorento, then, will likely look a lot like the current version, which was updated in late 2017 with eight-speed automatic transmissions and driver aid technology inclusions like autonomous emergency braking with forward collision warning, lane-keep assist and adaptive cruise control.

The Sorento’s 3.3-litre V6 petrol engine was also retired, making way for a new 3.5-litre V6 in front-wheel-drive guise only, while the 2.2-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder engine remained unchanged for the AWD-only versions.

The 2.2-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder engine remained unchanged for the AWD-only versions.
The 2.2-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder engine remained unchanged for the AWD-only versions.

The visual aspects were also tweaked, while a model rearrangement saw a slight increase to prices and the addition of a new grade in both petrol and diesel called Sport

For 2019, the Kia Sorento will stay pretty much the same, although it’s likely that more driver aid technology like rear cross-traffic alert will filter down to more affordable levels.

The next generation of the Sorento isn’t due until 2020 at the earliest, according to our sources.

The next generation of the Sorento isn’t due until 2020 at the earliest, according to our sources. The next generation of the Sorento isn’t due until 2020 at the earliest, according to our sources.

We know that it’ll look a lot different – “look for significant styling developments,” says our insider – and it’ll still be a seven-seater. It might be a very different vehicle mechanically, though, given global pressures being brought to bear on diesel engines across the globe.

If you're looking for more capacity, the new Sorento will be followed in short order by an all-new version of the eight-seat Carnival, which is built on the same platform.

Kia Australia, too, is adamant that it’ll bypass hybrid versions of its cars in favour of waiting for fully electrified models. Its first is likely to be the much smaller Niro in mid-2019, while platform development (the bits underneath the car) for the Sorento will no doubt be massaged to accept the bits vital to EVs, like large battery arrays and electric motors.

What would you like to see in the next Kia Sorento? Let us know in the comment section below.

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