Kia Australia is looking to launch two additional electrified variants of its flagship Sorento SUV in the new year, though supply constraints could see the top-spec GT-Line specification as the sole offering at launch.
Kia’s local product planning boss, Roland Rivero, told CarExpert global demand for the Sorento Hybrid and Plug-in Hybrid in markets like Europe mean the brand’s Australian arm has elected to focus on high-spec variants.
“[There’s a] huge amount of demand in the European region for CO2 regulations,” Rivero said of electrified Sorento models.
“When the hybrid does come along, expect that to be only on a top trim level, simply because the supply levels are relatively tight for the moment and will be for probably at least another quarter or two.”
Mr Rivero also indicated the Sorento Hybrid will undercut the PHEV’s $81,990 drive-away price, meaning it should be notably more affordable than the Toyota Kluger Grande AWD Hybrid ($75,400 list/$82,105 DA in VIC). By how much though, is still to be confirmed.
“Rest assured, the hybrid variant will come in below the plug-in hybrid and that’ll be offered in front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive,” Mr Rivero said.
Having front- and all-wheel drive options will be another key differentiator from the AWD-only Kluger Hybrid, likely allowing for more stock to head Down Under.
With the launch of the Sorento GT-Line PHEV this month, the top-grade Sorento is now available in three engine variants ranging from $64,290 to $81,990 drive-away.
Retail pricing in the UK sees the Sorento Hybrid AWD command a £4500 ($8408) premium over the equivalent Diesel AWD, which could mean a $5000-7500 difference in all-paw spec locally, with the front-driven version splitting the two.
Using that as a guide, the Sorento GT-Line Hybrid FWD should sit around $70,000 drive-away, with the AWD version around $75,000 on the road.
By comparison, a mid-spec Toyota Kluger GXL AWD Hybrid is about $69,470 drive-away using a Melbourne postcode, while the Grande AWD Hybrid is $82,810 drive-away.
Hyundai Australia is also due to launch the related Santa Fe Hybrid AWD early in 2022, though whether the electrified drivetrain will be limited to flagship specification or available more widely is still to be confirmed.
Power in the Kia Sorento Hybrid comes from a 1.6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine teamed with a six-speed automatic, as well as a 44kW/264Nm electric motor and 1.49kWh lithium-ion polymer battery.
System outputs are rated at 169kW and 350Nm, which is a little down on power compared to the PHEV’s 195kW combined power output. Further, the Toyota Kluger Hybrid offers 184kW.
The UK-spec Hybrid AWD claims to accelerate from 0-60mph (0-97km/h) in 8.7 seconds on its way to a top speed of 119mph (191km/h). That compares to 9.1 seconds and 127mph (204km/h) for the diesel.
Fuel use according to Kia UK is 38-41mpg (7.4-6.8L/100km) on the combined WLTP cycle depending on variant. The diesel claims 6.1L/100km in Australia.
The Kia Sorento will be the only vehicle on sale in Australia with petrol, diesel, hybrid and plug-in hybrid options once the hybrids arrive early next year.
While the electrified versions will be reserved to GT-Line spec at launch, Mr Rivero noted a possible expansion pending better supply.
“Until we get better visibility on the level of supply, if it does free up then maybe we can explore additional variants below the GT-Line,” he said.
“But for now, we’re only looking at GT-Line variants across the board.”
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