I have to admit that when I first saw pictures of this new Kia Sorento, I was convinced it was a face lift. Even when one of the designers pointed out my mistake I was not convinced, since it seemed so very close to the previous model… or so I thought… In real life though it is very clearly very different from the previous generation, so much so that it makes me wonder if Kia did the right thing in keeping so close?
One of the arguments is clearly that they’ve massaged it into perfection, much like Peter Schreyer’s Audi used to do with their models. Why change a winning formula? In this way it remained clearly recognizable in a busy category often filled with very short lived extreme styling statements like Lexus most recently. Lexus? yes, indeed.. This Kia certainly can do battle with Lexus and would win as well.
The design I see on it now has kept the major design clues from the previous version, added the new face as part of the new Kia Design Identity, and has used the opportunity to indeed massage the surfaces in such a way that there is plenty of tension now where before was mere simple surfacing. It gives the car a much stronger, muscular stance. It looks homogenous with enough lines and not too many character lines to cloud the overall impression.
Also on the interior, which clearly relates to the new Kia Sedona in design theme, luxury and fit and finish, is of a very high standard, offering plenty of room to drive long distance in total comfort for all. I would’ve loved to have seen the reclining middle seats in there as well, with the leg rest of course, but other than that is just right.
The down the road graphics, with it’s in your face grille and the double dose of headlight jewelry on top and bottom make it easily recognizable in the rear view mirror without being even close to the Lexus vulgarity. My only minor issue is that the rear looks very similar, and requires a double take with a previous generation just to make sure.