2021 Kia Sorento S (car review)

AT first glance, it’s clear that the 2021 Kia Sorento S has changed just a little bit from the previous generation. But while there has been some dramatic design changes, Kia has ensured that the Sorento stays true to it’s core 7-seat, family friendly values.

More importantly, this could be the best Sorento range the Korean car maker has ever built. Let’s start with the synonymous ‘tiger nose’ grille, which clearly means business. And while this grille looks the good, it actually has a hidden talent.

The design gurus at Kia have complemented the grille with air channels which not only look aggressive but also help push air around the vehicle. It’s actually a really clever idea to reduce drag and improve fuel economy.

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The wider stance of the new model gives the Sorento S a bit of an extra wow factor, an almost finesse meets power kind of feel. Sporting a 2.2-litre turbo diesel engine coupled to an 8-speed dual clutch transmission, it produces a healthy 148kW and 440Nm.

It’s enough grunt to throw you back in your seat, if your not careful. That power train delivers a claimed fuel consumption of 6.1-litres/100km, although in real life testing we saw 7.4-litres. Still a genuinely impressive figure for a large SUV.

There is a generous 67-litre fuel tank too. Inside, Kia continues the updated design, creating a modern and sleek environment for you to sit in, that’s pleasantly surprising, despite this being the bottom of the range.

The supportive seats are covered in a super comfortable cloth for example, that feels up market. It’s family friendly too, with easy to clean surfaces that will stand up to the kind of carnage your kids can dish out.

There are plenty of cup holders (always a good thing for sure), with eight of them scattered throughout the cabin, positioned in places that are even easy for the kids to grab hold of. It’s a nice touch.

The dash sports an 8.0-inch infotainment screen, which had us feeling a little ripped off, when we learned that every other variant gets a 10.25-inch screen, but the size was not an issue really. We just found it odd, is all.

Standard across the range are Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and you will find that connectivity to both is incredibly easy. You also score three USB ports if you have a Bluetooth phobia, and want to connect the old way.

Kia has also exploded the interior space and you really are spoiled for size with an overall cargo space of 2011-litres with all seats folded down. But if you have some young whipper snappers with you and have to keep the seats up, there’s still plenty of load space.

With the third row folded down, you’ll find 616-litres, and will all seats up, 176-litres. That’s still ample room for a small food shop (if the kids don’t eat it all on the way home). There’s also a real spare tyre, under the rear of the car.

Yes, a real one. None of this space saver stuff. In addition, there are five top tether car seat anchor points, and four ISOFIX points. More of that family friendly goodness right there. And there’s loads of safety technology too.

Standard across the range are ABS, electronic stability control, multi-collision braking, front and rear parking sensors, blind spot collision avoidance assist and rear cross traffic assist.

But it doesn’t stop there, with the Sorento S scoring lane keeping assist, autonomous emergency braking with cars, pedestrian and cyclist monitoring. Seven airbags, including one between the front seats, will also keep you and your family protected.

Another key safety feature we loved is that the music will automatically turn down when you engage reverse, which we all know helps you ‘see’ better.

If you are looking to pick up an the new 2021 Kia Sorento S, prices start from $49,990 (drive away), and like all Kia vehicles, it comes with a 7-year unlimited kilometre warranty and 7-years capped price servicing.

When it comes time to buy your Sorento S, you will find a pretty basic colour range though, including Snow White Pearl, Mineral Blue, Gravity Blue, Clear White, Silky Silver, Steel Grey and Aurora Black Pearl.

Our test vehicle was provided by Kia Australia. To find out more about the 2021 Kia Sorento S, contact your local Kia dealer.


Driving experience
Exterior styling
Interior look and feel
Technology and connectivity
Family friendliness
Value for money


Pros – power is unexpected but appreciated; overall feel of the car is luxurious; safety tech in abundance.
Cons – no push button start; colour range lacks choice; smaller infotainment system than other variants.
Courtney Lorking
Courtney Lorking
Courtney has a passion for cars, having began her working life as a mechanic and then moved on to other roles within the automotive industry. She's the author of the book Love Yourself First, Mumma and a proud single mum.


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<strong>Pros –</strong> power is unexpected but appreciated; overall feel of the car is luxurious; safety tech in abundance.<br> <strong>Cons –</strong> no push button start; colour range lacks choice; smaller infotainment system than other variants.2021 Kia Sorento S (car review)