A new electric Kia crossover is in the works and it’s no other than the Kia Sorento.
Following the release of the battery-electric version of the subcompact Niro in 2019 and the upcoming launches of more electric models in the coming months, the Korean automaker confirmed that the next generation of the Sorento will offer hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions.
In an interview, Kia’s Chief Operating Officer Emilio Herrera spoke about the company’s plans to build two new electric versions of the mid-size crossover utility vehicle.
Both the hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions are planned for release in 2020 as the Sorento goes for its mid-cycle refresh. The upcoming refresh marks the Sorento’s second since its official debut in 2016 and model update in 2018.
Herrera also said the new Sorento hybrid models will be launched nationwide as against to the Kia Niro EV, which was only made available in select markets in New York and California.
Details on the new Sorento, however, are still yet to be available although it’s likely the hybrid variants of the CUV will get the same powertrains used in the Optima hybrids. This means the upcoming Sorento could be powered by a direct-injected 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and a 38-kWh or 50-kWh plug-in electric motor mated to a six-speed automatic transmission.
If this rings true, the Sorento could reflect the same numbers as the Optima hybrid with 192-horsepower and up to 271 lb-ft of torque or the plug-in model’s 202 horsepower and 276 lb-ft of torque.
The Sorento’s hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions will be part of the Kia’s effort to boost its electrified vehicle sales and effectively bring down its corporate average fuel consumption.