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New Hybrid Kia Sorento ruled out for Australia

Kia’s new Sorento is almost here but the new hybrid and plug-in hybrids are still a way off from Australia.

IN NEWS WHICH isn’t terribly surprising, Kia’s fourth-generation Sorento will introduce hybrid and plug-in hybrid electric (PHEV) drivetrains.

According to a list of powertrains for the new model gathered from Kia Motors Corporation (KMC) which was shared on South Korean forum Sorento Club MQ4, there will be six drivetrains available, including the two new electrics.

While the PHEV Sorento could have joined Australian SUVs in that segment such as the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV and upcoming Ford Escape PHEV, Kia Australia says it will only offer petrol and diesel versions of the new Kia Sorento, at least initially.

Previewed this week ahead of its local launch, the fourth-gen Sorento will launch here as a diesel in June 2020 with the petrol following in Q3 2020. A spokesperson for the company told Practical Motoring that while the hybrid and plug-in hybrids are only some of the pioneering technologies inside the new model, Kia Australia will stick to familiar petrol and diesel offerings and won’t introduce a hybrid Sorento.

The logical reason is that such a car would be Kia’s first hybrid in Australia and an expensive one at that. As we understand, Kia plans on introducing an affordable, small hybrid as its inaugural offering to spur sales and familiarise customers before going upstream to larger and more expensive models.

The petrol drivetrains on offer internationally in the new Sorento are 2.5-litre naturally-aspirated and 2.0- and 2.5-litre turbocharged powerplants. There is no confirmation on what drivetrains Australia will take.

Diesel options will be 2.2- and 2.5-litre turbo engines, with transmissions for both petrol and diesel being 6- and 8-speed automatics.

The hybrids will employ a new 1.6-litre turbo petrol hybrid electric setup, and speculation is that the large Sorento will also offer a solar roof like that on the new Sonata hybrid – though not offered in Australia either.

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Alex Rae

Alex Rae