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New Kia Sorento 2021 pricing and specs detailed: Unprecedented safety for Toyota Kluger, Mazda CX-9 rival

Buyers of the new Kia Sorento should be over the moon with its newfound safety, refinement, packaging and chunky good looks.

Kia Australia will release the all-new, fourth-generation Sorento seven-seat SUV later this month, ushering in class-leading level of safety as well as worthwhile strides in efficiency, quality, space and specification for the 18-year-old nameplate.

Although pricing (before on-road costs) for two of the four grades has yet to be released, we know that the entry-level S petrol front-wheel-drive (2WD) Sorento jumps $2160 over its outgoing equivalent, to $45,850, while the flagship GT-Line petrol 2WD checks in at $60,070, up $3880 (see full pricing table below).

Going diesel sees a $3000 hike across the range and adds an on-demand all-wheel-drive system, meaning no petrol AWD will be available – as per the related-under-the-skin Hyundai Santa Fe and 2021’s Palisade upper-large SUV.

That said, driveaway pricing for the full range has been published on Kia Australia's since this story was originally published, with petrol 2WD variants of S, Sport, Sport+ and GT-Line priced from $46,990, $49,990, $54,390 and $61,990 respectively. Similarly, diesel AWD versions command a $3000 premium.

The engine in question above is a 148kW/440Nm 2.2-litre four-cylinder CRDi turbo-diesel unit that has seen service in various Hyundais and Kias since the mid 2000s, while the also long-lived 200kW/332Nm 3.5-litre naturally aspirated petrol V6 lives to see another day. Both employ an in-house designed eight-speed automatic, though to help boost economy and efficiency for the European markets, the diesel ditches the torque-converter unit for a new dual-wet-clutch transmission.

There is no word for now as to if or when the 1.6-litre turbo-petrol/electric hybrid, 2.5-litre turbo-petrol or anticipated plug-in hybrid models announced for other parts of the world will be offered in this market.

We understand that Kia Motors in South Korea brought a new-gen Sorento to Australia to tune the suspension and steering for local conditions before the COVID-19 outbreak, meaning all models Down Under will benefit from the chassis tweak.

To offset the price rises, the new Sorento is the first big SUV to introduce a front centre side airbag, situated between the front-seat occupants to provide potentially life-saving lateral impact-related brain-damage mitigation.

Standard equipment in the S includes LED headlights and foglights, 17-inch alloy wheels (with a full-size spare), an 8.0-inch touchscreen multimedia system, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support, autonomous emergency braking with junction assist, lane-keep assist, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert.

The Sport adds 18-inch alloy wheels, a 10.25-inch touchsreen multimedia system, satellite navigation, dual-zone climate control, an eight-way power-adjustable driver's seat with lumbar support, and tyre pressure monitoring.

Meanwhile, the Sport+ also picks up 19-inch alloy wheels, a power-operated tailgate, keyless entry and start, heated front seats, a heated steering wheel, leather-appointed upholstery and two rear USB ports.

The GT-Line stands out with dark-chrome 20-inch alloy wheels, a panoramic sunroof, a Bose sound system, an 8.0-inch head-up display, ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, quilted Nappa leather-appointed upholstery, blind-spot cameras, remote park assist and rear occupant alert.

Revealed back in February, the latest Sorento is marginally longer, wider and taller than its successful predecessor, while it sits on a longer wheelbase to boost interior space across all three rows. In diesel AWD variants, ground clearance is rated at around 176mm, while towing capacity is rated at 2500kg (braked).

Factor in the more contemporary styling, advanced safety specification, keen pricing and industry-leading seven-year warranty, and the 2021 Kia Sorento should be off to a strong start.

2021 Kia Sorento pricing

VariantTransmissionBefore on-road costsDriveaway
S petrol FWDautomatic$45,850 (+$2160)$46,990
Sport petrol FWDautomaticTBA$49,990
Sport+ petrol FWDautomaticTBA$54,390
GT-Line petrol FWDautomatic$60,070 (+$3880)$61,990
S diesel AWDautomatic$48,850 (+$2660)$49,990
Sport diesel AWDautomaticTBA$52,990
Sport+ diesel AWDautomaticTBA$57,390
GT-Line diesel AWDautomatic$63,070 (+$3380)$64,990

UPDATED: 04/08/20