First Kia Sorento model to roll off Hwasung factory will be a hybrid

The production of the all-new Kia Sorento has officially begun. This comes after the automaker announced that they have started building Sorento Hybrid at the Hwasung factory in Korea.

The first model variant Kia is making is the Sorento Hybrid bound for the European market. Soon, however, the same production line that makes the hybrid will also begin producing the gasoline and diesel variants.

Does this mean that other markets like South East Asia will soon be getting their hands on the all-new Sorento as well? Perhaps, but given Kia has billed the Sorento as a 2021 model, it might take a while before it eventually reaches our shores.

Kia starts production of 2021 Sorento, will PH get it soon? image

As to what the Philippine market might get, more than likely it will be the diesel-powered version since it has already built a reputation here in the country. But unlike the outgoing generation which still uses the R Series turbo-diesel, the all-new generation gets the new Smartstream diesel.

It may have the same 2.2-liter displacement as the older R Series engine, but the newer turbo-diesel is more efficient and produces fewer emissions. In addition, the Smartstream diesel has an all-aluminum construction which makes it more lightweight, and it also benefits from a new 2,200 bar injection system – replacing the older 2,000 bar system.

All in all, the turbo-diesel puts out 202 PS and 440 Nm of torque – an increase of 2 PS and 17 Nm, respectively. And as far as transmissions are concerned, the new diesel gets an eight-speed, wet dual-clutch system that replaces the previous eight-speed automatic gearbox.

Kia starts production of 2021 Sorento, will PH get it soon? image

As for the hybrid currently being built, it's powered by a 1.6-liter turbocharged inline-four that is paired to a 44.2-kilowatt electric motor. The engine alone puts out an impressive 177 PS and 256 Nm of torque. Meanwhile, the electric motor generates an extra 60 PS and 264 Nm of torque. Combined, the Hybrid Sorento has a total system output of 230 PS with 350 Nm of torque.

Could the hybrid be offered here as well in the near future? There is a chance as there are now tax breaks being offered on hybrid cars. But until there's the official word from Kia themselves, we'll just have to wait and see as to what models will be offered soon.