Don't worry, the production version won't have those basic taillights.

From small hatchbacks to supercars and from minivans to SUVs, the Nürburgring is where most European brands and some of the Asian ones test their future products. Kia has been making regular appearances at the Nordschleife now that it has such a strong presence in Europe where it even has Eurocentric models like the Ceed lineup. This obviously isn’t a derivative of an upcoming Ceed-based model, but the all-new Sorento the company will sell on the Old Continent where SUVs are in high demand.

2019 Kia Sorento SXL: Review
Kia Sorento Spy Photo

It’s the very same prototype our spies caught on camera earlier in the month, but now we have a spy video showing us the 2021 Sorento in action. As with many other test vehicles we see at the Green Hell, the midsize SUV was being pushed quite hard and even had a roll cage behind the front seats. Underneath all that camouflage appears to be the production body and the final headlights, but the cheap-looking taillights are an obvious sign they’ll be changed with something more sophisticated on the production-ready car.

2019 Kia Sorento SXL: Review
2021 Kia Sorento Spy Photo

The third-generation Sorento was introduced in August 2014 and received the typical mid-cycle refresh in 2018, which likely means the fourth-gen model will arrive on the market either in 2020 or 2021. The design is shaping up to be a tad sleeker compared to the current model, and it looks like something interesting is going on with the C-pillar.

It’s too early to tell how the three-row SUV’s design will evolve, but from what we’re able to see so far, it looks like it won’t be as boxy and rugged as the bigger Telluride. Inside, there could be quite a few changes considering that despite the somewhat recent facelift, the current Sorento is beginning to show its age when compared to all-new products like the K900 flagship sedan and the aforementioned Telluride. A fully digital instrument cluster, bigger infotainment system, and new switchgear should freshen up the SUV’s cabin.

2019 Kia Sorento SXL: Review
2021 Kia Sorento Spy Photo

Your guess is as good as ours regarding powertrains, although it wouldn’t be too far-fetched to assume Kia is looking to electrify the next-gen Sorento seeing as how hybridization is growing in popularity as we transition to EVs.

Expect the wraps to come off sometime next year. In the meantime, we’re going to wait for additional spy shots with less disguised prototypes to see more of the production metal.