Kia-Sorento-Drive-Jordan-21

The third-generation Kia Sorento is set to make its Malaysian debut anytime now, with May 2016 the previous indication. Now, we have estimated prices from a Naza Kia Malaysia sales advisor that points to RM158k for the diesel variant and RM168k/RM178k for different trim levels of the 2.4L petrol model. A total of three variants will be available.

The availability of a diesel variant is welcome news, as the previous-generation Sorento XM was only available with a petrol engine in Malaysia, allowing sister SUV Hyundai Santa Fe to have the group’s 2.2 litre ‘R’ diesel engine all to itself in our market (197 hp and 436 Nm in the Hyundai).

However, unlike the Santa Fe’s diesel as range topper positioning, Kia seems to be taking the opposite route – the diesel as the starter and the weaker but more refined petrol as the flagship.

The Sorento UM made its domestic debut back in August 2014, and we drove the five-star ANCAP rated SUV later in that year in Jordan. Although we did not sample the oil burner in the Middle East, we know the CRDi well from two generations of the Santa Fe. It should be the pick of the range ahead of the 2.4L petrol if price isn’t an issue. Both are mated to a six-speed torque converter automatic transmission.

If the Sorento looks huge in pictures, it is. The current Santa Fe is to us already “half a size” larger than the average C-segment SUV, but this big guy is 90 mm longer still, with 80 mm of that advantage going into the 2,780 mm wheelbase. Compared to the previous Sorento, the same size increase applies. Versus the Honda CR-V? 190 mm longer, 70 mm wider, 160 mm wheelbase advantage.

Very handsome, too. Read our full review of the Sorento UM for an idea of what to expect.

GALLERY: Kia Sorento driven in Jordan