The Malaysian auto market isn’t very hot now, but standing still is not an option. Naza Kia Malaysia (NKM) is certainly not doing so, and the company has a couple of new models on the way, this year.

You’ve read about the new Optima GT (yes, the full fat 242 hp turbocharged variant) coming soon to Malaysia, plus the possibility of the Stinger reaching our shores – now, here’s something slightly less niche and more logical: a diesel variant of the current Sportage QL.

The fourth-generation Sportage was launched in Malaysia mid last year. We have two front-wheel drive variants – the top GT Line and a base KX Line – powered by a 2.0 litre Nu MPI petrol engine with 155 PS and 192 Nm. Joining them soon will be the Sportage CRDi with AWD and in GT Line trim, making it the new range topper in Malaysia. In fact, it’s the highest spec combo available for the Sportage QL even in Europe.

The Sportage CRDi that we will get is powered by a 2.0 litre turbodiesel engine in the highest available state of tune, which is 184 hp and 400 Nm of torque from 1,750 to 2,750 rpm (there’s also a 134 hp/373 Nm version). The oil burner is mated to a six-speed conventional automatic gearbox. Kia’s claimed combined fuel consumption is 6.5 litres per 100 km (15.4 km/l).

How soon? NKM told paultan.org that the Sportage diesel has already obtained necessary approvals from the authorities and will be launched in the first quarter of this year.

Sounds familiar? Late last year, we told you that Hyundai-Sime Darby Motors is lining up a diesel variant of the Tucson SUV for Q1 2017, along with a 1.6 T-GDi turbo petrol. The incoming Tucson CRDi comes with the same R-series turbodiesel as the inbound Sportage CRDi, so there will be plenty of interesting choices for SUV punters. The Mazda CX-5 SkyActiv-D is currently the only diesel option in the segment.

GALLERY: Kia Sportage 2.0 GT Line