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Kia details new Sorento: Hybrid unlikely for Australia

John Law

Kia Motors have revealed key details of the all-new Sorento ahead of its debut at the 2020 Geneva Motor Show. It’s confirmed the large SUV will get a hybrid powertrain, but it won’t be coming to Australia.

The large SUV will go up against its fellow Korean rival the Hyundai Santa Fe along with the Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace and Mazda CX-9.

Kia has confirmed the Sorento will sit on an all-new monocoque platform which has grown in length by 10mm, with a generous 35mm added to the wheelbase to offer greater occupant comfort.

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Kia’s new, longer Sorento

Along with details of engine and platform specifications, Kia has also issued full images of the new Sorento and we reckon it looks pretty sharp.

No concessions were made on the large SUV front with Kia purposefully designing the Sorento to “look longer”. The new shape is also more purposeful than the outgoing car, and has adopted Kia’s signature ‘tiger-nose’ grille design.

A more lavish interior will be included, too, potentially moving the Sorento further upmarket. It’s pictured here in a striking mix of black and tan leather with a 10.25-inch touchscreen nestled into a classy centre stack.

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Tan interior. We like.

Digital instruments will make an appearance on a 12.3-inch readout ahead of the driver.

So far, so good, the next generation of Sorento is shaping up to be a formidable beast. But what exactly will power the new SUV?

Globally there will be several engines available including some tasty hybrid tech. However, Australia sees only a limited range with an updated 2.2-litre ‘Smartstream’ turbo-diesel with 149kW and 440Nm, while the 3.5-litre petrol V6 will carry over and produce 206kW and 336Nm.

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A new suite of compact engines will be available, but not in Australia.

European and Korean Sorentos will be available with an all-new turbocharged hybrid powertrain comprised of a 1.6-litre four-cylinder supplemented by a 44.2kW electric motor for combined outputs of 169kW and 350Nm.

Markets outside Australia will also be presented with the option of a more powerful 2.5-litre turbocharged petrol engine generating 207kW and 421Nm.

Sadly, the small and slow-moving Australian market will do without these exciting propulsion options, though we hope to see greener options – including the promised plug-in hybrid – arrive at a later date.

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Given Hyundai’s current push in Australia with green cars – such as updated Ioniq and Kona Electric – and strong sales of Toyota’s hybrid range, it seems peculiar that Kia is reluctant to send their new hybridised SUV Downunder.