Hard to believe as it seems like it only arrived with us yesterday, but the fourth-generation Kia Sorento is due for its midlife model facelift - with the refreshed seven-seat SUV getting its global debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show.
Lights written with stars
The facelifted Sorento Mk4 takes some styling inspiration from both the EV9 electric SUV, which we will get over here, and the Telluride, which we won't. The main changes from the pre-facelift version focus around the front grille and headlights arrangement. Where previously the lamp clusters and the 'tiger nose' radiator aperture segued into one, there's now a panel of body colour metal between the edge of the grille and the new, vertically stacked LED projector light units. These feature the 'Star Map' lighting elements, based on the constellations in the sky, and that also goes for the rear lamps - the alteration here being that, while they still have the twin upright arrangement on each side as before, they're now linked at the top so there's a different light signature to the updated Sorento when you're following it at night.
The final touches externally are wider 'skid plates', in both the front and rear bumpers, and the addition of new colours like Midnight Lake Blue and Dawning Red.
Twin 12.3-inch displays
Inside, the central fascia area has been redesigned. This is because the updated Sorento can now have a panoramic curved display for the instrument cluster and infotainment commands. The fitment of this set-up, with its integrated twin 12.3-inch displays, means that the central air vents are now slimmer, horizontal units below the infotainment touchscreen, while the climate control panel has changed accordingly to the strip-like digital item you'd find in a Kia EV6. Kia calls this entire set-up the Connect Car Navigation Cockpit (CCnC), a system that features higher-fidelity graphics and faster processing speeds, improving its responsiveness and appearance simultaneously. CCnC also allows for over-the-air updates, something the Sorento hasn't benefitted from before.
Kia says that the hybrid (HEV) and plug-in hybrid (PHEV) versions of the facelifted Sorento will be able to be specified in a Dust Blue interior colour palette from mid-2024 onwards.
Along with CCnC, much of what has changed with the Kia Sorento Mk4 revolves around technology. Certain models, for example, will be available with Digital Key 2.08, which allows the owner to use a compatible Apple or Samsung smart device (or an NFC-enabled smartcard) as 'virtual vehicle keys' to lock, unlock and drive the SUV. These virtual keys can even be shared with family members who have their own compatible smart devices.
Cruise control learns your driving style
Finally, the advanced driver assist systems (ADAS) for safety includes an enhanced Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist, which not only detects pedestrians and cyclists in front of the vehicle, but oncoming vehicles while you're trying to turn across traffic at a junction, while Smart Cruise Control Machine Learning is designed to adapt and match the owner's driving style when it comes to acceleration and braking patterns. The Sorento will also have the Highway Driving Assist 2, which not only runs radar cruise and lane keeping/assist, but can also enact lane changes under certain conditions.
Kia Ireland has announced that the facelifted diesel Sorento will be landing first, the seven-seat SUV arriving in April with the 2.2-litre turbodiesel unit and an eight-speed, dual-clutch automatic transmission. The plug-in hybrid model (PHEV) will follow in July 2024, in time for the 242 registration period, and it features a 1.6-litre T-GDI turbocharged petrol engine accompanied by an electric motor and 13.8kWh battery pack, a six-speed automatic gearbox and four-wheel drive. Prices and specifications for the new Sorento range will be announced early in 2024.