A Diesel Kia Sorento Is Coming to the U.S.

Kia confirmed that it will be putting a diesel engine in the Sorento SUV, though it's not clear when.

2019 Sorento
Kia

With Volkswagen and other companies have been caught fudging their diesel emission tests, diesel cars have gone the way of the dinosaur. Or have they? James Hope, National Manager, Product Communications for Kia Motors America, confirmed with The Drive that the company will be bringing a diesel version of the Sorento crossover to the U.S.

Kia first made the announcement at the Los Angeles Auto Show last month, said Hope. "We haven’t, however, said, what the final engine will be. Kia produces several and we anticipate being able to provide more information as we get closer to launch."

We suspect that a likely candidate would be Kia's 2.2-liter inline-four engine from Europe. Its 197-horsepower and 325 pound-feet of torque slot nicely between the current four- and six-cylinder gasoline engines. It would also provide good fuel economy and towing capacity. The current 3.3-liter V-6 version provides a 5,000-pound capacity, for comparison.

It seems surprising that Kia is diving into diesel cars in the U.S. at a time when other manufacturers are pulling theirs from our market. But Kia sees an opportunity in the gap that's left behind. 

"Diesel is one of several alternative fuel types Kia will introduce in the coming years, including more EVs, hybrids and a fuel cell vehicle," said Hope. If you consider diesel to be an alternative fuel, it makes a bit more sense for Kia to give it a try here, especially considering they already sell diesel cars in other parts of the world. 

Presumably, it's mainly a matter of EPA certification, which is bound to be even more strict after the recent emission cheating fiascos by other companies. This is probably why Kia has not yet given a date when the diesel Sorento will go on sale.