Kia has been unaffected by the parts jam that's slowing down the launches of some Japanese cars like the 2012 Honda Civic. In fact, the 2012 Kia Sorento, built in the company's new assembly plant in West Point, Georgia, has already started streaming out to dealers with a few upgrades under the hood.
The biggest news is the availability of the Hyundai/Kia direct-injected four-cylinder in some trim levels, an upgrade from the first-year four-cylinder. As we wrote in our 2011 Kia Sorento review, "There’s just not much motivation with the 172-horsepower, 2.4-liter four-cylinder--not on price, not on power, and not on fuel economy." The old engine earned EPA ratings of 20/27 mpg with a six-speed manual transmission, 21/29 mpg in EX with six-speed automatic.
The new engine is available in the 2012 Kia Optima--which also will be built at the Georgia facility soon--and though specs and configurators for the Sorento aren't yet live on official Kia sites, the same engine in the Optima produces 200 horsepower, and EPA ratings of 24/35 mpg with a six-speed manual transmission, and 24/34 mpg with a six-speed automatic.
We'll have more official information from Kia soon.