When Kia unveiled the 2019 Sorento last year, the company said a new diesel engine would eventually be offered in the United States.
The automaker was coy on details, but the announcement stated the engine was currently under development and would come equipped with the “latest emission controls.”
Fast forward to today and it appears Kia has thrown in the towel. Citing an unnamed Kia representative, Car and Driver is reporting the Sorento Diesel is dead – in America at least.
Details are limited, but the representative told the publication that the problem came down to “logistical challenges such as establishing a service and maintenance network among its U.S. dealers for what would have been a low-volume product.” That sounds less like a logistics issue and more like a problem with low projected sales that couldn’t justify the investment.
The decision also casts doubt on the future of the Hyundai Santa Fe Diesel. Hyundai has been promising to offer a diesel crossover in the United States since 2017 and the first model was slated to arrive early next year.
While the status of the Santa Fe Diesel remains unconfirmed, Kia isn’t the only company that appears to be having second thoughts about diesel engines in the United States. Mazda has been promising a diesel engine for what feels like an entirety and the company hasn’t said much about their plans since 2016. However, a recent EPA listing suggested the 2.2-liter turbodiesel engine would only enable the CX-5 to return 28 mpg city, 31 mpg highway and 29 mpg combined – just 3 mpg city and 1 mpg combined more than the petrol variant.
Getting back to the Sorento, the model will now only be available with two petrol engines. The entry-level 2.4-liter four-cylinder produces 185 hp (137 kW / 187 PS) and 178 lb-ft (241 Nm) of torque, while the 3.3-liter V6 has 290 hp (216 kW / 294 PS) and 252 lb-ft (341 Nm) of torque.