Ever since being taken over by Dinamikjaya Motors, Kia has started a bit of a revival among consumers in Malaysia despite only having a couple of models in its line-up. The Kia Sorento seems likely to be model number three based on this latest discovery.
This Astra Blue Sorento was spotted while we were covering the BYD Atto 3’s launch. The Chinese EV maker is distributed here by Sime Darby Motors which is one of the shareholders for the Inokom plant in Kulim, Kedah which currently assembles (CKD) the Hyundai Santa Fe and Kia Carnival among others.
The connection between this Sorento and Sime Darby Motors is further deepened with the registration plate which was also found on a Hyundai Creta that was spied here a few months ago. It is also unlikely that this Sorento is brought in or registered by Dinamikjaya as there is no Bermaz Auto plate holder.
We also managed to peek in the interior and it looks like it has a conventional gear shifter which implies that this Sorento isn’t a hybrid. Hybrid variants use a rotary knob shifter. The seats are also made of fabric which could also imply that we’re looking at a base model perhaps.
The right-hand drive Sorento we spotted also bore the new Kia logo unlike the one covered in 2021. We speculate that this is an internal evaluation unit owned either by Hyundai Sime Darby Motors or Kia Asia-Pacific’s regional office based on the shared number plate.
The Sorento is one of 3 future models planned to be sold in Malaysia within the next couple of years. The other two are the Sportage and Niro SUVs. Dinamikjaya announced last year that the Sorento would be offered with both internal combustion engine (ICE) and plug-in hybrid (PHEV) or hybrid variants here.
Unlike the Carnival which was initially offered as a fully-imported (CBU) model from Korea before switching to local assembly (CKD), the Malaysian-spec Sorento would be offered as a CKD unit from the start.
Initially planned for launch in 2022, it seems likely that Kia’s third new model under Dinamikjaya would be unveiled in Malaysia in 2023. Around ASEAN, the Sorento is sold in Vietnam, the Philippines, and Singapore.
In the left-hand drive (LHD) ASEAN markets, only the 2.5-litre turbo petrol and 2.2-litre turbodiesel are offered. Meanwhile, the 1.6-litre turbo petrol-hybrid is the only Sorento available in Singapore though it made its regional debut in Indonesia at GIIAS 2022.