Is the Kia Sorento Coming in Diesel?

Is the Kia Sorento Coming in Diesel?

At a time when most other car manufacturers are ditching diesel for other alternative fuels, Kia is embracing it, or at least in their mid-size crossover SUV, the Kia Sorento. Kia isn’t giving many details yet, but they have announced that the Sorento will come with an optional diesel engine in its 2019 year model. According to the official press release from late November, the engine is still in development but will boast “the latest emission controls.” The diesel engine is to replace the Sorento’s 2.0-liter turbo inline-4 engine, which is fairly new itself and the best engine available in the 2018 model.

You’ll also have two other engine options, the base 2.4-liter four-cylinder that puts out 185 horsepower and the more muscular 3.3-liter V-6 makes 290 horsepower paired with a new eight-speed automatic transmission.

Unfortunately, it sounds like the diesel option won’t be immediately available in the 2019 model, but will debut sometime later that year. Kia first announced the new engine at the Los Angeles Auto Show in late 2017. “We haven’t, however, said, what the final engine will be,” said James Hope of Kia Motors America. “Kia produces several and we anticipate being able to provide more information as we get closer to launch.”

Early speculation suggests Kia might bring its European diesel option to the United States. If so, we can expect to see a 2.2-liter inline-four engine with 197-horsepower and 325 pound-feet of torque. That fits between the current four- and six-cylinder gasoline engines the Sorento currently has available.

The reason diesel has become so rare in North American and European markets can be laid at the feet of Volkswagen. The German manufacturer fooled government emission tests by installing cheater devices. The Volkswagen models in question polluted up to 40 times more than their emission tests suggested. Eleven million cars were sold worldwide and 500,000 in the U.S. under the guise of bad data. When the scandal broke in 2015, Volkswagen Group was fined and its CEO resigned. The world has largely turned away from diesel because of the scandal, now known as “dieselgate.” But in the wake of the scandal, Kia perhaps saw an opportunity to do it right. Their new engine might pave the way for a cleaner, more responsible diesel alternatives.