A development prototype believed to be the facelifted Kia Sorento has been spied for the first time in Europe.

    Believed to be on track for a debut in the second half of 2023, this heavily-camouflaged prototype previews a pretty heavy refresh, which will include new front and rear lighting treatments, as well as revised bumpers and alloy wheel designs.

    From the limited view we have, it appears the new Sorento will get more vertically-oriented headlights and daytime running light signatures that echo the larger US-market Telluride as well as the upcoming EV9 electric vehicle.

    The rear seems to be a more mild revision, likely limited to rejigged tail light graphics and a revised bumper, but there could be bigger changes under the shrouds of black sheeting and fake body panels.

    Our spy photographers speculate the Sorento may pick up a full-width LED tail light bar at the rear, as we’ve seen on the updated Seltos as well as the EV6.

    Filling the arches are partially disguised alloy wheels in a turbine-like design, which could indicate the Korean brand is working on a range of more aero-efficient rim designs in the name of fuel economy, and in the case of the plug-in hybrid model, more electric range.

    Expect some changes in the cabin too, though not quite as significant as the external facelift.

    Given the Sorento’s flagship status for Kia on a global level, the Sorento should pick up a range of new features and technologies seen elsewhere in the Hyundai/Kia stable, including a larger 12.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system, heated and ventilated second-row seating, and perhaps even third or fourth zones of climate control.

    Depending on market, we could see things like Matrix LED headlight technology – the new Sportage now offers this in Europe – as well as new interior trimmings and an updated steering wheel design.

    The current fourth-generation Kia Sorento launched globally in 2020, and offers a range of powertrains depending on market.

    In Australia, the Sorento offers V6 petrol, four-cylinder turbo-diesel, as well as four-cylinder turbo petrol hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions.

    South Korea and North America also get a naturally-aspirated four-cylinder petrol model, which is currently only produced in left-hand drive and is unavailable to our market. Europe and the UK rely heavily on the hybrid models, with the diesel also available.

    It’s believed the mid-life refresh will bring efficiency improvements depending on market, though these details will be confirmed closer to launch. These updates will likely be Euro-centric, meaning we could see the availability of 48V mild-hybrid technology, meaning the European and UK powertrain line-up will all be electrified to some extent.

    As noted earlier, the refreshed Kia Sorento is expected to be revealed during the second half of 2023 as a 2024 model, meaning it’s still about a year or so away from making its debut.

    Should that timeline be accurate, expect a very late 2023 or early 2024 Australian arrival, coinciding with the 2024 Australian Open tennis Grand Slam in January.

    While Australian details won’t be confirmed for some time, we’d expect a similar engine line-up to carryover – meaning petrol, diesel, hybrid and plug-in hybrid models – as well as the addition of Kia Connect online services, given the company’s local arm has confirmed it will roll out its connected suite with facelifts or new model generations.

    In the meantime, stay tuned to CarExpert for all the latest.

    MORE: Everything Kia Sorento

    James Wong

    James Wong is the Production Editor at CarExpert based in Melbourne, Australia. With experience on both media and manufacturer sides of the industry, James has a specialty for product knowledge which stems from a life-long obsession with cars. James is a Monash University journalism graduate, an avid tennis player, and the proud charity ambassador for Drive Against Depression – an organisation that supports mental wellness through the freedom of driving and the love of cars. He's also the proud father of Freddy, a 2019 Volkswagen Golf GTI .

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