2023.09.27 Kia

Sophistication and strength: the story behind the interior and CMF design development of the New Sorento

Once again enhancing the automaker’s philosophy, Opposites United, the Sorento has further evolved and showcased an unprecedented near-full change. Here, the designers tell us about the interior of the new Sorento, which stands out for its sophistication and strength, and the CMF design story.

Kia’s design philosophy, Opposites United (creative fusion of conflicting concepts), pursues a newly created future-oriented design by combining elements inspired by nature with elements that contrast with them. This includes the principles of systematically organizing beauty and the brand direction to organize design language. The charm of Opposites United is also revealed in the interior and CMF (Color·Material·Finishing) design of the new Sorento, which went viral since the recent near-full change.

Interior shade: olive brown

The new Sorento’s interior design style is modern based on cutting-edge technology, inspired by ‘Bold for Nature’, one of the five elements of Opposites United. In particular, the beauty of the coexistence of horizontal formative designs under the theme of ‘Borderless Wideness’ is a wow factor; And the colors and patterns inspired by Bold for Nature, another element of Opposites United, further perfected the design. Here, researcher Dong-hun Seo of the Kia Next Design Interior Team and researcher Yeon-hee Choi of the Kia CMF Team talked in detail about the interior of the new Sorento, which has various charms, and the CMF design.

Create a wide sense of space with horizontal elements

Researcher Dong-hun Seo of the Kia Next Design Interior Team, who developed the interior design

The new Sorento's interior features a panel that emphasizes formative beauty with straight lines and edges and cutting-edge specifications in harmony - a curved display that combines the cluster and infotainment system with ergonomic curvature, the infotainment/climate switchable controller that controls the infotainment and air conditioner with a single touch panel, and a beautifully designed fingerprint authentication system around the driver's seat, for example. These new changes also emphasize new user experiences derived from cutting-edge technology. Dong-hun Seo, a researcher in charge of the interior of the new Sorento, explained why such a large change was attempted in a facelift model.

Q. What are the characteristics of car interiors that are trending these days?

Researcher Dong-hun Seo I Trends in automobile interior design are changing rapidly. In particular, it appears that cutting-edge specifications that combine IT technology are trying to become more friendly to passengers. These days, rather than trying to stand out in car interiors, these features tend to blend in naturally without causing discomfort. In addition, the development of automobile interior design requires more careful work because it must satisfy legal standards for vehicles while also realizing beauty. With this trend and the developers' efforts, the interior of the new Sorento, which has a trendy yet homy and cozy style, was completed.

Crash Pad emphasized horizontal form and wide images

Q. What is the interior design concept of The New Sorento?

Researcher Dong-hun Seo I The New Sorento’s interior design emphasized horizontal form and wide images with the theme of ‘connection without boundaries.’ There is a curved display on top of the long crash pad, and the slim air vents, infotainment system, and control system connecting both ends of the crash pad are in organic harmony with each other. This design configuration inherits the existing Sorento's strong SUV image while providing a high-tech interior atmosphere and enhanced convenience. We also took into account the opinions of our customers who preferred a simple crashpad design with the display at the center.

The horizontal design elements connecting the left and right air vents deliver a wide visual effect

Q. Even though it is a facelift model, the interior changes are quite significant. What has changed the most?

Researcher Dong-hun Seo I That would be the front part of the crash pad. Until now, air vents with independent shapes have emphasized their function. However, now the horizontal design, which provides a stable and wide visual effect, provides a comfortable feeling. The existing infotainment screen, which was separate from the cluster, has evolved into a curved display. This is an element that is easily visible to passengers and drivers and is frequently used, so users will feel a greater change.

Q. Please tell us about the characteristics of the air vent, which is connected like wings, and the process of implementing it.

Researcher Dong-hun Seo I The existing air vent, which had a strong independent image with a polygonal silhouette, showed the functional and strong aspect of the SUV. On the other hand, in the new Sorento, the left and right air vents were connected horizontally to make the wide space look even wider. Additionally, a simpler image was created by naturally placing the infotainment/climate switchable controller below the center air vent.

The infotainment/climate switchable controller that satisfies both usability and aesthetics

Q. Are there any other special considerations for passengers?

Researcher Dong-hun Seo I the infotainment/climate switchable controller did not just simplify the number of buttons to improve aesthetics; Its optimal location not only provides excellent controllability, but also provides excellent visibility by arranging each function in a row on a horizontal display. In addition, it is highly intuitive as it can be converted from an air conditioner to an infotainment control panel with a single button operation. This design changes the image of the car while providing efficient usability.

Q. Are there any other changes besides the crash pad and center fascia? Talk about other changes you want customers to notice.

Researcher Dong-hun Seo I The fingerprint authentication system in the center console has expanded functionality; The fingerprint authentication system is used to start the vehicle, make simple payments within the vehicle, or disable valet parking mode. The mood lamp at the bottom of the air vent also increases customer satisfaction from an emotional perspective.

Internal details were changed while maintaining the air vent silhouette

Q. What was the most difficult part of the development process? Additionally, please tell us what you would like to say to the customers of The New Sorento.

Researcher Dong-hun Seo I Since the existing Sorento's interior design had a strong personality, it was difficult to develop it into a new image after inheriting it. For example, in the case of left and right air vents, they used to be upper/lower, but it was difficult to integrate them while maintaining the overall outline. Because this touches the door, modifications were limited. Nevertheless, by working together with researchers from other departments, we were able to perfect the design. We hope that more people will enjoy an exciting car life through the new Sorento with a strong and future-oriented design.

CMF design enhances the perfection of the new Sorento

Color lineup including Volcanic Sand Brown (left), Snow White Pearl (middle), and Interstellar Gray (right)

The new Sorento has a robust SUV feel both inside and out; And significant changes in CMF design made this possible. Many CMF design elements - interior and exterior colors, interior finishing materials, etc. - reflect Kia's latest design strategy. Through this, the new Sorento offers a new era of premium that customers expect from SUVs. Researcher Yeon-hee Choi, who was in charge of CMF design, explained these in detail.

Researcher Yeon-hee Choi of the Kia CMF team, CMF designer of the new Sorento

Q. The new Sorento stands out for its strength and future-oriented image. Please explain the concept of the CMF design.

Researcher Yeon-hee Choi I CMF design is also based on ‘Bold for Nature’, one of the five organizing principles of Opposites United. The strength and wonder of nature, and the comfort felt within it, were expressed through CMF. In particular, we focused on developing calming colors inspired by nature and pattern designs with delicate details to provide both a wide vehicle image and a comfortable, modern atmosphere.

Q. Tell us about the color options of the new Sorento.

Researcher Yeon-hee Choi I In addition to Snow White Pearl and Aurora Black Pearl, Volcanic Sand Brown, Cityscape Green, and Interstellar Gray were newly added, making up a total of five exterior shades. These colors are inspired by nature, such as the calm of dawn or the delicate pearl tones of sparkling sand; These express the new Sorento’s volume even more prominently. There are three interior colors available: black, olive brown, and navy gray. The interior color also maintains the same tone as the exterior color, and the exterior of the gravity trim uses more black color decoration to present a stronger image.

The seat quilting pattern is inspired by plants

Q. What are the main features of the newly applied quilting pattern design?

Researcher Yeon-hee Choi I A double diagonal quilting pattern inspired by plants was used to emphasize the sleek feel of the interior, which stands out for its wide and modern image. This pattern stands out for its luxury and volume. This also looks similar to the existing quilting on the door.

Metallic garnish with striped pattern and suede textured headlining

Q. Please explain where the inspiration for the newly applied unique metallic garnish came from.

Researcher Yeon-hee Choi I The image of calm light was used in the metallic garnish and wood pattern garnish through the stripe pattern. In addition, a multi-layered finishing film was applied to express the metallic texture and deep pattern of the metallic garnish. The metallic garnish is made up of a multi-layered structure consisting of a metal texture layer and a delicate layer, creating a much deeper sense of luxury. The wood pattern garnish conveyed a trendy image with a new pattern that allows you to feel the matte feel of wood. Additionally, a new suede textured headlining was added this time.

Q. Please tell us what you would like to say to the customers of The New Sorento.

Researcher Yeon-hee Choi I Since the new Sorento is a family SUV, it must provide additional living space for the family. To this end, we tried to balance the comfortable home interior atmosphere with the SUV atmosphere. We hope that many people will feel the new inspiration provided by Kia through the new Sorento.

Photography by Dae-il Choi, Beom-seok Kim

HMG Journal Operation Team


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