Time for Some Tinkering: Kia Reveals Sorento Styling Alterations and a New Transmission In Korea
Launched in third-generation form for the 2016 model year, it appears as though the Kia Sorento is due for some upgrades only two years into its lifecycle.
Perhaps the Sorento is in need of some changes. In a booming SUV/crossover market, Kia Sorento sales are down 15 percent in the United States through the first six months of 2017. It’s difficult enough matching 2016’s sales pace in 2017 when car sales are fading, but at Kia, both the Sorento and even newer Sportage are in decline, as well.
Granted, short Sorento supply remains something of an issue for Kia’s Georgia-built Sorento. But regardless of the issues at play, it’s unlikely that these Sorento changes — if and when they reach across the Pacific to the U.S. market — will be all that noticeable.
Kia USA’s 2018 Sorento is officially labelled a carryover model, which means Kia USA is either skipping these modest changes for MY2018, accepting them as mid-model year changes (as Kia has done with the Sorento in the past) or benefiting from the upgrades for MY2019.
Tipped by Australia’s CarAdvice, we checked Kia’s Korean consumer site to find that the “Over The Upper Class” new Sorento is featured quite prominently. One wonders, as always, if the word “new” is being overused.
The headlights go full LED. The grille asks for more attention, the foglights resemble more closely the Sportage’s, the lower intake may appear capable of slightly more intake. The rear features exposed tailpipes. The interior displays some available quilted leather and a new shifter.
That shifter, according to Kia.com/kr, controls an eight-speed transmission — Kia’s 2018 U.S.-market Sorentos still route power through six-speed automatics.
We do know that, despite calling it a carryover model, Kia is making some equipment changes to the U.S. market Sorento for MY2018. A third row will now be standard on basic 2.4-liter all-wheel-drive models. A Cool & Connected package for 2.4-liter-powered Sorentos also adds dual-zone automatic climate control and UVO infotainment to lower-end models.
Timothy Cain is a contributing analyst at The Truth About Cars and Autofocus.ca and the founder and former editor of GoodCarBadCar.net. Follow on Twitter @timcaincars.
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