Kia has announced that it has begun production of the European-specification Sorento Hybrid at its production facility in Korea. The start of production represents the first application of an electrified powertrain in the Kia flagship SUV. The automaker notes that the SUV is enabled by a new platform and intelligently packaged powertrain.
The vehicle is the fourth generation Sorento and is manufactured at the Kia Hwasung production facility in Korea. That same facility produces the hybrid, gas, and diesel versions of the SUV. The first of the Sorento Hybrid SUVs to roll off the assembly line will be destined for the European market. Hybrid vehicles built for the North American market will be produced at the Kia plant in West Point, Georgia.
The third-generation Sorento was also built on the same production line. So far, Kia has sold 3 million Sorento models globally since it launched in 2002. The fourth-generation of the SUV will go on sale in Europe in Q3 2020 and most other Kia markets by the end of the year.
The Sorento Hybrid is the first vehicle that’s based on the new-generation mid-size SUV platform Kia developed. It has a larger body to maximize cargo and luggage space that Kia says makes it one of the most versatile and spacious three-row SUVs around. The powertrain for the hybrid is a 1.6-liter T-GDi turbo gasoline direct-injection engine paired with a 1.49 kWh lithium-ion polymer battery pack and a 44.2 kW electric motor.
The powertrain produces 230 PS and 350 Nm of torque and promises low CO2 emissions with high performance. The engine is paired with a six-speed automatic transmission via a transmission-mounted electrical device. There is no mention of an electric-only driving range with the vehicle.