Kia just launched the new three-row Telluride into the world, but that doesn't mean its original seven-passenger model is going away. Far from it. The camouflaged vehicle you see here is the next-generation Sorento caught testing in the Alps while undergoing some strenuous trials. One of those happened to be towing a BMW X5, as seen in the photos.
Due to the heavy amount of cladding and wrappings, it's difficult to pick out specific styling elements. However, we imagine the front fascia is going through a massive change up. It's tough to say what direction they're heading, but the openings do mimic what we see on the vehicle today. The current Sorento doesn't have an upright, tough appearance, and the prototype we see here doesn't appear to be a massive change in the status quo. Kia made the Telluride its big, butch crossover, so differentiation with that SUV is most likely necessary.
Moving along the side, Kia appears to have changed up the mirror position, placing them below the window line on the doors instead of above in the A-pillar area. We can't see the door handles or body lines, but we'll assume Kia has something new and interesting cooked up under there. Finally, the most mysterious part of all is the rear end. Kia broke out the massive body armor for this one, making sure nobody can tell what's going on underneath. Perhaps the rear-end design is where we'll see the biggest changes for the Sorento. We don't imagine there will be anything extreme like a chopped and angled roof/rear window for styling purposes, though, especially if the Sorento intends to keep all three rows open for business. That said, the existence of the Telluride could prompt some changes to the vehicle's purpose in Kia's lineup.
Even though Kia gave the Sorento a light refresh for 2019, this next-generation model is probably coming in the next couple years. Kia used a very light brush for that mid-cycle refresh, and this update will signal a totally new generation of the SUV. We'll expect to see new powertrains, possibly with electrification in the form of a hybrid or plug-in hybrid come into the fold. We didn't get a look inside, but given the current Sorento and luxurious new Telluride, we'd have high hopes for something quite nice.