Kia Sorento returns to rugged roots with two concepts

Kia North America has revealed a pair of rugged-looking Sorento concepts based on the more outdoorsy X-Line trim and named after stunning national parks.

4 months ago
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William Stopford
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Kia has revealed two concept Sorentos that give a nod to the more rugged, body-on-frame first generation model.

The company’s American operation has revealed the Sorento Yosemite Edition and Zion Edition, both named after famous national parks.

The two models were unveiled at Kia’s virtual national dealer meeting in the USA and were customised by LGE-CTE Motorsports of San Dimas in California.

They’re based on the Sorento X-Line, which isn’t offered here.

The X-Line has a ride height of 210mm, or 25.4mm higher than the regular Sorento, plus improved approach and departure angles, centre differential lock, and a snow mode for the all-wheel drive system, as well as unique exterior details like X-Line-specific 20-inch alloy wheels.

The Yosemite Edition is painted in matte Pine Green with gloss and matte black accents and is designed for “high elevation adventuring and mountain living”.

The Zion Edition is a “dune-defeating desert escape vehicle” and is finished in Desert Sand to match the rocky peaks of its Utah namesake. It also features gloss black exterior accents and a carrier that covers the entire roof.

Both models feature flared fenders and 32-inch all-terrain tyres for their 20-inch wheels, as well as skid plates and brush guards finished in satin chrome.

Kia hasn’t indicated whether any of these additions will be available on the regular X-Line, though it offers dealer-fitted accessories in the US market such as side steps and tow hitches.

The X-Line remains off-limits to Australia as all US-market Sorentos come from Kia’s factory in Georgia. Kia Australia has said it will consider introducing special editions later during the new Sorento’s five-year lifecycle.

In addition to missing out on the X-Line, we also miss out on the naturally-aspirated and turbocharged 2.5-litre four-cylinder engines sold in the US. The latter produces 209kW of power and 421Nm of torque, or 9kW and 89Nm more than the 3.5-litre V6 petrol sold here.

We will, however, be getting the turbocharged 1.6-litre four-cylinder hybrid and plug-in hybrid variants.

If all goes to plan, the Kia will therefore become the only vehicle on sale in Australia with diesel, petrol, regular hybrid, and PHEV options.

The PHEV, expected to launch first, pairs a 1.6-litre petrol engine with an electric motor and water-cooled 13.8kWh-capacity battery, that can be recharged via a wall plug. System outputs are 195kW of power and 350Nm of torque with a projected 40-50km of electric range.

The Sorento Hybrid uses the same engine but a 1.49kWh lithium-ion battery and a less powerful electric motor, with a total system output of 169kW of power and 350Nm of torque.

The Sorento became a unibody crossover with its second generation, but the very first generation employed more traditional ladder-frame construction like today’s Mitsubishi Pajero Sport and Toyota LandCruiser Prado.

That, along with selectable low-range gearing, afforded it decent off-road ability.


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