Switching to direct-injection tends to produce engines with more horsepower and a reduced lust for fuel. The 2012 Kia Sorento is the latest model to make the switch, as it gains a 2.4-litre direct-injection four-cylinder for the new model year.

Kia hasn’t yet shared the power outputs or economy ratings of the new engine, but in the 2011 Optima sedan, that same engine peaks at 200 hp and 252Nm of torque. Presently, the 2011 Sorento is offered with a choice of two engines: a non-DI 2.4-litre inline-four with 175 hp and 229Nm, and a 3.5-litre V6 with 276 hp and 336Nm.

The Sorento is the brand’s best-selling vehicle, so the new engine should be a welcome change. The current Sorento is equipped with the four-cylinder and front-wheel-drive, with a 2.4-litre engine that returns a respectable 8.93/12.33 kpl (city/highway). Expect those figures to climb slightly with the new engine, despite the addition of more horsepower. Interestingly, Sorentos built with the new DI engine also receive chromed dual exhaust tips as a small cosmetic improvement.

In other upgrades for 2012, both the Sorento and Sportage gain Yes-Essentials seat upholstery materials that resist stains and bacteria. The standard 16-inch wheels on the base Sportage will be replaced with seventeen-inchers. The Sorento gains optional power-folding mirrors, a new wheel design for EX trims, and a heated wood-trimmed steering wheel for range-topping SX models.



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