MILAN -- Kia will add a plug-in hybrid drivetrain to the Sorento lineup with the fourth generation of its largest crossover.
The Sorento is Kia's first vehicle to use a new-generation midsize platform. It will debut at the Geneva auto show on March 3.
Kia said the crossover will offer space on a par with larger vehicles. Other innovations include new advanced driver-assistance systems, and new connectivity and infotainment features, Kia said in a news release.
The next Sorento receives a pronounced “Tiger Nose” grille that’s more angular and three-dimensional than the current model, based on images released by Kia.
Kia already offers plug-in hybrid versions of the XCeed and Niro crossovers and Optima sedan.
Automakers are adding low-emission hybrid options to their lineups to meet tougher CO2 emissions targets. Plug-in hybrids generally have CO2 emissions under 50 grams per km and are eligible for so-called "supercredits" so they are key to helping automakers meet the EU's CO2 emissions reduction targets.
The Sorento is a popular model globally for Kia -- more than 3 million Sorento have been sold worldwide since it was launched in 2002 -- but sales in Europe are low because buyers prefer smaller SUVs.
Sorento sales in Europe fell by 2.8 percent to 9,980 last year, according to JATO Dynamics market researchers. Kia's overall sales grew by 1.7 percent to 498,410.