Next-Gen 2021 Kia Sorento Spied Being Benchmarked Against BMW X5

Kia has kept things pretty under wraps when it comes to the next-gen 2021 Sorento SUV, with prototypes having just now commenced testing on public roads.

Naturally, our spy photographers were on hand to capture the new Sorento on camera in the Swiss Alps, noticing that a white BMW X5 was being used as a benchmark vehicle during some of those runs, which is as good an SUV as any to get data from when it comes to fine-tuning your own people hauler.

A more elegant appearance

We can already tell from these prototypes that the all-new 2021 Kia Sorento will feature a more angular design, with a sharper shoulder line and possibly a boxier front fascia, perhaps reminiscent of the latest Ford Explorer – although this is just a first impression.

The rear of this prototype has a false tailgate section so as to hide the actual length and styling of the SUV. We can only assume that it will grow in size compared to the current model, which in turn has grown a little long in the tooth over the years.

Also read: Consumer Reports’ Take On 2019 Kia Sorento Is That It Offers Plenty Bang For Your Buck

From a mechanical standpoint, we can also expect improved driving dynamics and more efficient powertrains, possibly both Hybrid and Plug-in Hybrid variants. As for onboard tech, it will build on what the current Sorento has to offer with regards to driver assistance and convenience features.

Kia should launch the next-gen Sorento sometime next year as a 2021 model, before sending it out to battle the likes of the Ford Explorer, Toyota Highlander, Chevrolet Traverse, Hyundai Santa Fe and the rest of the mid-size crossover segment.

more photos...

Photo Credits: CarPix | S. Baldauf/SB-Medien for CarScoops

  • lagunas3ca

    Kiap dreaming.

    • Elpatore

      Yes it is a bold move but it’s great news for future KIAs if they are trying to get to BMW levels of fit and finish.

      • bd0007

        Putting aside that Euro publications have compared the Sorento to the likes of the X3, this is just benchmarking a model which has gotten a lot of platitudes.

        That being said, if Kia were to do an X5 competitor (which they are mulling), it would be based on the same platform as the upcoming Genesis GV80.

    • Enter Ranting

      If it were me, I wouldn’t benchmark against a flabby, overstyled grocery getter. But you gotta start somewhere.

  • Rocket

    Bigger why? They have the Telluride for that. The size was perfectly fine. I’d prefer they remove the third row of seats to improve cargo capacity and second row accommodations.

    • NoMan2015

      Agreed; also half of the vehicles referenced in the “mid-size” category are really more like full-size crossovers (which is different than a full-size SUV proper like the Suburban, etc): Explorer, Highlander, and especially Traverse. In what world is the Traverse mid-size!? Those are more directly comparable to the new Telluride and Palisade. This will likely compete more directly with the Edge, Santa Fe, Blazer, Passport, etc.

      • Benjamin B.

        Forgetting the old Dodge Durango, which is 201.2” long.

        It’s basically the three row version of the current Jeep Grand Cherokee, which is either 189.3” or 191.3” long. The smaller “compact crossover” Cherokee is 182” long, which is in between the C segment and D segment. The GC is between the D segment and the E segment.

        The Durango is nearly full-size and I doubt FCA will continue selling it with both a new three row Grand Cherokee and an all new Wagoneer coming.

        Toyota sells the Highlander, Land Cruiser and Sequoia. All three are similarly sized and have three rows. The Highlander is 192.5” while the Land Cruiser is 194.9”. The Sequela is 205.1”. The Land Cruiser is considered fullsize while the Durango is midsize. The Durango is clearly the larger SUV.

    • bd0007

      It likely will be marginally longer w/ the Telluride having a considerable size/room advantage at the 3rd row.

      The key aspect is whether the new Sorento will be based on the new N3 platform that underpins the new Sonata and the upcoming Optima.

  • no25

    With the Telluride being a more attractive option, Kia needs to better the Sorento but still distinguish it from the Telluride – ie not making it that much bigger (which they are smh). Not sure about anyone else, but I never see Sorentos on the road. I’ve actually been seeing Tellurides a lot more.

    • yonceous

      I see lots of them on the road in nc

      • A 🤴🏻 THAT WILL RULE OVER YOU

        LOL I see Tellurides on the road often.

    • HaltestelleLuitpolthafen

      Yeah, no.

      I find it hard to believe that you’re seeing a lot more Tellurides, which was just released, than Sorentos which have been on the market since 2003 and have sold over a million units in the US alone.

      I see Sorentos everywhere in Northern VA.

      • no25

        Yeah, great for you. I didn’t mean physically more Tellurides. I meant I am seeing them more often than Sorentos, hun.

      • no25

        no surprise you’re from Northern VA. It’s a garbage place like you 🙂

        • HaltestelleLuitpolthafen

          “It’s a garbage place like you :)”

          Garbage place?

          I live in the #1 wealthiest county in the entire US and work in the #2 wealthiest. We have some of the best schools in the nation, and numerous towns around here have been voted some of the best places to live countless times by countless publications.

          Yes, “garbage”.

          ” I didn’t mean physically more Tellurides. I meant I am seeing them more often than I did the Sorento when it came out, hun.”

          LOL you calling me a dummy.

          No one on earth would read it like that, “hun”. Seeing that I have three upvotes, others read it the same way that I did.

          Maybe you should consider going back to school to learn proper sentence structure, punctuation, and grammar if you want to get your point across better.

  • Maykel

    Size would overlap with Telluride. Front looks more like Seltos.

  • Bash

    I don’t mind KIA raising it’s game sorta imitating or benchmarking the X5. That’s great, may be they will make it strictly a 5 seater then so it doesn’t overlap with the telluride.

    • bd0007

      Disagree; should keep the 3rd row as an option.

      Not everyone wants/needs a CUV the size of the Telluride, but want to be able to fit 7 in a “pinch.”

      • Bash

        I guess you are right.

  • Willzyx

    I have a video of it testing in CA. Gonna send it to you guys soon. It has a chrome strip on the front fender where it meets the door.

  • Jawohl

    Benchmarking it against the BMW! Delusional Kia

    • TV Monitor

      You don’t understand the market situation in Korea.

      Korea is a luxury car centric market, where cars priced below $35K don’t sell, a market where no one buys stuff like Elantra or Kia Soul, but there is a 10 month long waiting list on the Hyundai Palisade.

      Accordingly, Hyundai’s primary market rival is Mercedes Benz while Kia’s primary market rival is Audi in Korea.

      This is the reason why Kia sells full size luxury sedans like Cadenza(K7) and K900 in the US, these are Kia’s bread and butter vehicles in Korean domestic market.

      This is why Kia’s benchmarking the Sorento against the BMW X5, because the next-gen Sorento is positioned against the Audi Q5, as insane as it sounds.

      • Jawohl

        Benchmarking is a nice way of saying copying or borrowing ideas

        • Rivaldo

          Who copy who ? Come on guys 🙂

          • Some ol’ bloke

            Lol, I already tried with the come on guys thing… 🙂

        • bd0007

          Mazda benchmarked BMW until last year; now they’re benchmarking Toyota (you really think they are copying Toyota?).

          And Consumer Reports’ Road Test Score for the Telluride is 97, which is better than the 94 score that the X7 received.

          • Jawohl

            It’s ok to like budget Korean vehicles. You don’t need to justify it.

          • pissedoffjuicebox

            $60,000 Kia K900…budget vehicle. kek

          • Jawohl

            How convenient you quoted the most expensive model in their line up (that very few buy)🤦‍♀️

          • pissedoffjuicebox

            You referred to “budget Korean vehicles”, not all of them are, disproving your point. 🤦

          • Jawohl

            The fact that almost nobody buys that expensive Kia proves my point!

          • Some ol’ bloke

            We Got your point – Now Don’t dig a hole for yourself 🙂

          • Jawohl

            Enjoy your K900 – on your own no doubt

          • Some ol’ bloke

            What k900?

          • Jawohl

            The one you old guys drive round Florida

          • Some ol’ bloke

            I am not old and I don’t live in florida – Getting angry in a bit of a debate only weakens your side, and in future, stop being so rude! Would you say “Enjoy your K900 – on your own no doubt” to anyones face, inferring they are single, or “The one you old guys drive round Florida”, inferring that I’m old? Just because you have a different opinion to someone else doesn’t mean you need to be the guy no one likes. 🙁

          • Jawohl

            Who else would be driving a K900?

          • Some ol’ bloke

            Rude Grumps like you?

          • Jawohl

            I’m under 70 so I’m in the wrong demographic

          • Some ol’ bloke

            I’m under 30 – So what?

          • Jawohl

            Then you must the exception👍

          • pissedoffjuicebox

            No it doesn’t. You stated they are “budget Korean vehicles”. I have proven that not all of them are. Nowhere in your original comment of “budget Korean vehicles” was there an implication that sales mattered.

            The Optima, one of their best selling models, stickers at $37k fully loaded. The Honda Accord Touring stickers at $38k loaded. Is one a budget vehicle and the other not? Or are they both budget vehicles? The Mercedes GLC costs $40k base, but the Kia Telluride costs $47k loaded, which is the budget vehicle?

          • Jawohl

            Kia is Korean for budget. As the saying goes “you can put lipstick on a pig, but it’s still a pig”…..

          • yonceous

            I literally just saw this but Kia isn’t Korean for budget, maybe if you learned Korean, it’s derived from “ki” and “A” which means “to rise from”

          • Jawohl

            Thanks. Clearly, whilst you were learning Korean, you missed learning about sarcasm.

          • bd0007

            The K900 outsells the LS 500 (comparing domestic and US market sales).

          • Jawohl

            Selling more than the LS is not a very good benchmark

          • bd0007

            Pretty soon, it’ll be the budget Japanese brands.

            The GV80 and GV70 are proper RWD lux CUVs, unlike the cheaper, budget-minded RX, NX and UX for Lexus, the RDX and MDX for Acura and whatever FWD CUVs Infiniti is relegated to these days.

  • Enoch Gabriel Gonzales

    everytime hyundai and kia is about to launch a new car, I get really excited. Maybe because their designs are always unpredictable

  • Paul

    Kia benchmarking against the BMW, now that’s laughable.

    • bd0007

      Not really, as the Stinger had been in comparison tests w/ the likes of the 4 Series Gran Coupe, not to mention the K900 (but they are proper RWD models).

      But doubt that Kia is really benchmarking the new Sorento against the X5 as it is shown TOWING the X5 (likely a convenient tow vehicle as the Genesis GV80, which more likely candidate of benchmarking the X5, has been seen testing w/, as well as towing the X5).

  • Super Rob

    I can see the promotional material now. “Has the exact same exterior dimensions as the X5”. So it’s like they are the same vehicles.

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