Diesel Powertrain Remains for Kia Sorento

While news that the new fourth generation Kia Sorento will boast a self-charging hybrid powertrain option is less than surprising, its diesel sibling will raise a few eyebrows.

The car making its debut at the 2020 Geneva Motor Show can be ordered with a 2.2-liter diesel engine despite the plummet in oil-burner sales in Europe since Volkswagen’s Dieselgate scandal and clean-air lobbyists threatening urban bans of the technology. Nonetheless, climate change activists should be celebrating the persistence of diesel which boasts, in most countries around the world, a considerably smaller lifecycle carbon footprint than BEVs currently being championed by all and sundry.

We are told by Kia that Korean and European customers can also specify the Sorento’s new four-cylinder 2.2-liter ‘Smartstream’ diesel engine, producing 198bhp and 324ft-lbs of torque. This is paired with the brand’s latest eight-speed wet double-clutch transmission (8DCT) claiming smoother gear shifts enhancing efficiency over dry clutch DCTs.

However, both markets plus the US will also be offered a ‘Smartstream’ turbo hybrid powertrain. Its the first application of electrified power in the Sorento line-up and comprises a 1.6-liter T-GDi (turbocharged gasoline direct injection) engine, a 44.2kW electric motor and 1.49kWh lithium-ion polymer battery pack. The engine and motor produce a combined total output of 223bhp power and 258ft-lbs of torque, lowering emissions while benefiting from additional electric power.

The new platform allows the battery pack to be located beneath the passenger cell claiming no impact on cabin or luggage space. Additional powertrains will be announced in future, including a powerful new plug-in hybrid variant.

The latest Sorento will be the first SUV to be based on Kia’s new platform when production commences later this year. Overall length has been extended by near half an inch more than its predecessor, while the wheelbase is up 1.4-ins to 9.23 feet.

ADAS features include Kia’s first multi-collision brake system, which enables the vehicle to mitigate the severity of secondary collisions. It automatically applies vehicle brakes when the airbags have been deployed after an initial collision. The system will be available depending on market with a total of eight airbags to further enhance collision safety, including front seat center side airbags and knee airbags.

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in London. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles

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