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LA Show: No go for Kia Sorento X-Pro

Kia Sorento facelift takes a bow in LA but beefed-up X-Pro variant unlikely for Aus

20 Nov 2023

KIA pulled the covers off its facelifted Sorento range at the LA motor show ahead of the large SUV’s December arrival Down Under – but the beefed-up X-Pro version that debuted in California remains off the cards for this market. 


The range offers a redesign of the 2020 Sorento with design cues from the flagship EV9 and new hybrid models that Kia says will be launched “later in 2024”.


First leaked in July, the facelifted Sorento features a boxy front-end with vertically-stacked headlights and unique amber daytime running lights, a redesigned grille, and an overall stance that looks to be more off-road oriented compared with the current model.


Further hinting at the new Sorento’s off-road focus, Kia has added an X-Pro variant it says is “ready for happier trails” with increased power and towing capacity, 17-inch wheels shod with all-terrain tyres, centre locking diff, skid plate garnish and unique styling.


The X-Pro also has around 25mm more ground clearance and the revised front and rear bumpers look to offer improved approach and departure angles, but without true four-wheel drive it is likely aimed at ‘soft-roaders’.


Kia Australia confirmed the X-Pro is unlikely to reach Australian shores as the variant is built in North America and not South Korea. 


“X-Pro is not on the cards for Australia as we source from Korean production,” said Kia Australia media and corporate communications manager Alyson MacDonald.


Inside, the incoming Sorento features a horizontal design theme across elements like the air-conditioning vents, while dual 12.3-inch screens create a panoramic curved display running Kia’s new Connected Car Navigation Cockpit (ccNC) operating system.


A new Digital Key system also allows owners to unlock and start the Sorento using an NFC-enabled smartphone, presumably via a mobile app. 


The safety technology onboard the Sorento includes forward collision avoidance, lane keep assist, lane following assist, and a machine-learning smart cruise control system that adapts to match the acceleration and braking patterns of the driver.


While the US market will receive two engine options across front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive models at the time of launch, consisting of a 2.5-litre naturally-aspirated four-cylinder and 2.5-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine, Kia Australia earlier this year confirmed carryover engine options will be used locally.


The options down under will be the 3.5-litre V6 petrol (200kW/332Nm), 2.2-litre turbo-diesel (148kW/440Nm), and 1.6-litre turbo-petrol hybrid (169kW/350Nm) and 1.6-litre turbo-petrol plug-in hybrid (195kW/350Nm).


Kia America has stated the X-Pro will feature a tuned-up version of the 2.5-litre petrol four-cylinder engine producing 209kW/421Nm, although it is unknown whether Australia will receive that engine option during the current model lifecycle.


Pricing and local specifications will be announced when the Sorento lands in showrooms in a few weeks, but we expect the new range will come at a premium – likely up from the current $47,650 starting price.

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