A little over a month ago we were tipped off that Kia was looking to bring a diesel-powered Sorento SUV to the U.S. market. Now, spy photographers have shown us an oil-burning Kia is already among us, at least in prototype form. To just about everyone else on the road, this white Sorento blends in as one of the millions of crossovers and SUVs in America. Kia makes no attempt to hide its branding, and curiously enough it also makes no attempt to even hide the diesel and urea caps behind a normal fuel door, never mind some kind of camouflage.
Does this suggest Kia is trying to make some kind of statement about offering a diesel-powered crossover in a U.S. market that’s still a bit hostile towards the fuel? Ever since Volkswagen’s Dieselgate scandal, automakers have been very hesitant about offering diesel power to cars in the States, especially brands under the VW umbrella. That hesitation, however, seems primarily related to cars.
For pickup trucks and SUVs like the Sorento, it seems diesel options are as plentiful as ever. Half-ton trucks from Ford and Chevrolet finally get diesel options, and Chevy currently offers a diesel in the Equinox. A diesel is also on the option list for the GMC Terrain, the new Jeep Wrangler is getting one, and Mazda has a CX-5 diesel in the works as well. And that’s just off the top of our heads.
What’s in store for this diesel-powered Kia? While the automaker doesn’t seem the least bit shy about showing off its test vehicles, specifics of the mill itself are still a secret. We expect to see a 2.2-liter turbodiesel that will be shared with the Hyundai Santa Fe, making approximately 200 horsepower (149 kilowatts) and 320 pound-feet (434 Newton-meters) of torque. Barring issues in testing, the Sorento diesel should be available by the end of this year, or possibly in early 2019.