Why Kia dealers have to wait a year for the 2021 Sorento hybrid

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The next-generation 2021 Kia Sorento mid-size SUV will arrive in Canadian dealerships before the end of this year, but customers here will need to wait an additional year before they can buy the hybrid variants.

While both hybrid and plug-in hybrid iterations will be available at launch in the United States, the units sold there during the first model year will be offered with only front-wheel drive, a configuration that Kia Canada does not see value in offering to Canadians, according to Director of Marketing Michael Kopke.

“In this segment, AWD is the primary purchase reason,” Kopke told Automobile News | tomobile.org Canada in an email. “While Kia Canada is committed to green powertrains, we need to address, as much as possible, all customer needs. To that end, we will bring the AWD version of the Sorento HEV powertrain when ready.”

Kia Canada is making several packaging differences to the 2021 Sorento relative to the United States. Heated front seats are standard equipment in Canada, and the new X-Line grade, which will be the most expensive south of the border, is positioned in this market as a value-oriented mid-line trim.

Two 2.5-litre four-cylinder engines will be offered, the base being naturally aspirated and the more expensive being turbocharged, meaning that Sorento will no longer have a six-cylinder engine available. In Canada, the X-Line grade will serve as the entry point to the upgraded engine and its accompanying segment-exclusive eight-speed wet dual-clutch transmission. It will also be packaged with bridge-style roof rails, 20-inch alloy wheels, and second-row captain’s chairs, with the latter two features being offered on Sorento for the first time. The two-row, five-seat configuration will no longer be available.

The fourth-generation Sorento will be built on Hyundai Motor Group’s modular N3 platform, which is shared with the Hyundai Sonata and Santa Fe, allowing it to see a wheelbase increase of 35 mm and improvements in drive dynamics, ride, handling, and interior noise levels, according to Kia.

Full specifications and pricing details will be released closer to the 2021 Sorento’s launch before the end of 2020.

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