New Kia Sorento 2020 detailed: Mazda CX-9-rivalling large SUV ups safety credentials

Kia’s new-generation Sorento large SUV will land in Australian showrooms around the middle of the year with increased safety credentials thanks to the inclusion of a new front-centre airbag.

Up to seven airbags will be littered throughout the cabin of the new Sorento, including dual front and side curtain units, but the omission of head protection for the third-row occupants remains as before.

For reference, the current and new Sorento feature curtain airbags that extend to the third row, but only offers protection around the glass area of the cabin.

Advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) such as autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian and cyclist detection, blind-spot monitoring, surround view monitor, adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, rear cross-traffic alert, and drive attention warning are also included depending on variant.

Lane Following Assist (LFA) is also available on the new Sorento, which can control acceleration, braking and steering at speeds up to 180km/h depending on the driving situation, and is classified as a Level 2 autonomous driving technology.

Though the exterior and interior design were first shown in February in the lead up to the cancelled Geneva motor show, Kia has now further detailed its new Mazda CX-9 and Toyota Kluger fighter with exact dimensions.

Measuring 4810mm long (+10mm), 1900mm wide (+10mm), 1700mm tall (+10mm) and with a 2815mm (+35mm) wheelbase, Kia is boasting increased occupant comfort thanks to more cabin space afforded by the switchover to the new N3 platform.

“The new platform has created a significant amount of extra legroom for first- and second-row occupants, as well as more headroom for third-row passengers,” said the Korean carmaker.

Ingress and egress of the third row has also been made easier thanks to second-row seats that slide 45mm further and the inclusion of a grab handle on the C-pillar.

Storage capacity is also up 32 per cent over the preceding model, pegged at 187 litres of volume with all seats in place.

Inside, the fourth-gen Sorento gains a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, which is paired to a 10.25-inch multimedia touchscreen to modernise the cabin.

Depending on grade, the interior features chrome detailing, head-up display, mood lighting, wireless smartphone charger, 12-speaker Bose sound system and quilted Nappa leather.

Seven charging ports are also littered throughout the interior, one for each passenger.

Overseas markets will have access to a hybrid 1.6-litre turbo-petrol engine and a plug-in hybrid powertrain, but Aussie-spec Sorentos will launch with a 148kW/440Nm 2.2-litre turbo-diesel engine paired to an eight-speed dual-wet-clutch automatic transmission.

An updated version of the current 206kW336Nm 3.5-litre petrol V6 is also earmarked to come onstream later this year.

Specific off-road modes will also be available, with drivers able to switch between mud, snow and sand to adjust the electronic stability control to suit.

Australian buyers will have a choice of seven exterior colours and wheels ranging in size from 17 to 20 inches, depending on grade.

Full pricing and spec details are expected a little closer to launch, but for reference, the current Sorento starts at $43,490 before on-road costs and tops out at $59,490.