2022 Kia Sorento Hybrid Review

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We test drive the new Kia Sorento Hybrid to see how it stacks up in the Sorento range.

The fourth-generation Kia Sorento model is packed with cutting edge tech, sharp looks and, now, a full range of normal and hybrid engines.

Joining Kia showrooms in Australia is the new Kia Sorento Hybrid, which is a step down from the plug-in hybrid in terms of electric-only driving range, but it’s cheaper. Available exclusively in top-spec GT-Line specification (for now), it is priced from $66,750 plus on-roads as a front-wheel drive and $69,750 as an all-wheel drive. That’s a circa $10,000 discount on the flagship PHEV but more than its rival the Toyota Kluger Hybrid which starts at $54,150 before on-road costs (in a comparably lower-grade trim). While the Sorento Hybrid is only just about to hit Australian roads, we went for a test drive in the UK where it is already on sale.

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The Kia Sorento Hybrid GT-Line is powered by an all-new 1.6-litre hybrid powertrain and the Sorento is the first recipient of this setup. It comprises a turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine, a small 1.49kWh battery and a 44kW electric motor, which combine to develop 169kW and 350Nm of torque. It’s front or all-wheel drive and drives through a six-speed automatic transmission

Performance is pretty strong on the move; the electric motor giving the two-tonne Sorento plenty of zip from a standing start. Once up and running the engine takes over, kicking in smoothly enough and remaining hushed at low speeds; on part throttle it’ll even run in EV mode for short distances, too. But ask for a squirt of acceleration and the engine becomes rather coarse at the top end of the rev range. It’s certainly quick enough for a large family SUV of this size though, hitting 0-100km/h in 8.7 seconds.

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One thing to be aware of is towing capacity – or lack of it; the Sorento hybrid and PHEV can tow up to 1350kg, while the rest of the range is rated to 2000kg braked.

On the smaller 19-inch wheels the Sorento’s ride is slightly firm with some added weight over normal engine models. You wouldn’t call it uncomfortable though. One positive is that it does handle and corner with plenty of stability and surefootedness. The steering is quick and direct and it resists roll surprisingly well considering its size. However, we can’t help but think potential customers – and passengers on-board – would rather there be a greater degree of comfort than handling prowess.

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The Sorento remains an enormously practical SUV, however. It’s a seven-seater as standard, each of those seats coming with its own USB charging port and cup holder. There’s enough space in the middle row for three adults to sit in total comfort thanks to the generous knee room, while the third row of seats aren’t just a token gesture – you can even get adults back there. The middle row slides forwards to create enough space in the back without comprising knee room for those in the second row too much. Not many rivals can do that.

And when you’re not carrying seven passengers the 813-litre boot will swallow everything a family can throw at it. Drop the middle row and that figure rises to 1996 litres.

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When it comes to image, technology and space, the Sorento has really upped its game. Inside is an impressive 10.25-inch infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, 12.3-inch digital driver display, a full leather interior (with electric adjustment in the front and heating front and rear), ambient lighting, wireless phone charging plus an electric tailgate.

Overall, the new hybrid powertrain is punchy and efficient and will certainly appeal to those who don’t want a diesel, while few customers will be left wanting for an SUV with a greater degree of practicality. There is some slightly softer ride quality in the entry-grade non-hybrid with smaller wheels and a lighter load, but on the whole, Kia has delivered another impressive family SUV.

Model: Kia Sorento Hybrid
Price: From $66,750
Engine: 1.6-litre 4cyl petrol plus electric motor
Power/torque: 169kW/350Nm
Transmission Six-speed auto, four-wheel drive
0-100km/h: 8.7 seconds
Top speed: 192km/h
Fuel economy (claimed)/CO2: 5.5L per 100km/38g per km
On sale: Now

 

Jonathan Burn

Final Verdict:

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