2021 Kia Sorento HEV First Drive Review

Several versions of the Kia Sorento have arrive as a result of the Autoblog fleet a several instances now, and whilst they have not been intellect-blowing in any certain way, they present an interesting mix of generally very good characteristics and pricing to make it a “just suitable” SUV for a lot of persons. It truly is an SUV with a great deal of selection not just in trim levels, but in powertrains. So is there a “just right” variation of the “just proper” SUV? Certainly, there is, and it’s the 2021 Kia Sorento HEV (and the just-arriving 2022 design), which finds a content medium in the lineup, and even the broader SUV market place in regards to pricing, driving encounter and gasoline economic climate that make it a have to-see for potential buyers.

A brief be aware, this evaluate will concentration principally on the Sorento hybrid’s powertrain and how it relates to the driving encounter. For supplemental details on all the other facets, check out out our extensive 2022 Kia Sorento critique. 

What primarily differentiates the Sorento HEV is, of class, its hybrid powertrain. It combines a turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder with an electric powered motor. Blended output comes to 227 horsepower and 258 pound-ft of torque. It really is connected to a regular 6-velocity automatic transmission and your choice of entrance-wheel or all-wheel generate. Those figures place it smack dab concerning the 191-horsepower foundation Sorento, and the 281-horsepower turbo inline-four fitted to all the past Sorentos we have analyzed. The HEV is also extra effective than any of the scaled-down two-row hybrids these as the Honda CR-V and Toyota’s RAV4 and Venza, even though a little bit much less than the larger sized 3-row Toyota Highlander Hybrid. You will find also the Ford Explorer Hybrid, but it is special to dear upper trim levels and oddly prioritizes overall performance at the expenditure of fuel financial state. 

Even though the Sorento hybrid is in the middle of its non-electrified siblings for energy, its fuel economic system is unquestionably top-quality. The entrance-wheel-drive model is the most frugal with 37 mpg blended, and all-wheel drive drops the rating to 35 mpg. Which is a roughly 10 mpg improvement over any of the other Sorento models, and could conserve you as substantially as $650 per calendar year on fuel, in accordance to the EPA. It is somewhat at the rear of the smaller hybrid competitiveness, which range from 38 to 41 mpg (CR-V and Ford Escape), but is appropriate on par with the Highlander Hybrid, and about 10 mpg in advance of the Ford Explorer.

As for the genuine driving encounter, the turbo hybrid engine is pretty in just about all each day driving scenarios. When environment off from a light, you are going to discover that the hybrid technique eliminates the standard delay that results from an car begin/end method restarting the engine. The electrical motor gets you likely the second you press the throttle pedal and when the engine does kick in, it does so particularly quietly and efficiently. 

Around town, the Sorento hybrid is comfortable and joyful. You barely have to use any revs to zip all-around many thanks to the a single-two torque punch of electric powered motor and turbo motor. It’s also very silent and the electrical aid helps with responsiveness. We also appreciate Kia’s use of a standard six-speed automatic in its hybrid powertrains given that it results in more “ordinary” acceleration showcasing a develop up of revs followed by gear modifications. This avoids the droning and abnormal revving of the usual hybrid e-CVT.

It can be when you require or want an extra improve of acceleration when the Sorento hybrid demonstrates its performance will come with a tradeoff. Less than a large foot, you get a bassy thrum from underneath the hood, and it reveals that the major finish is a little bit weak. The transmission, even though smooth and generally more agreeable than a CVT, is mighty slow to change, which is significantly obvious if you attempt making use of the paddles. Sport mode fundamentally just holds gears for a longer period and can make the steering heavier. 

The Sorento is also plenty cozy. Bumps usually are not harsh, and it really is rather silent. It is a bit springier than we would like when it does strike bumps, but it really is not substantially of a dilemma. Steering is accurate and properly weighted, while there is certainly a truthful bit of human body roll and not significantly eagerness to convert-in. Brake really feel is spongey, but straightforward more than enough to modulate.

And as we have claimed in advance of, the Sorento’s interior is spacious and elegant. Most noteworthy is the truth that the third row is usable by older people. It can be even now not excellent for extensive excursions, but it performs. It truly is also amazing considering that the Highlander is not a lot better, in spite of its much larger exterior measurement. The dashboard is modern day and has wonderful little specifics, even if the plastics are a bit cheap. The infotainment is also excellent to use, and most 2022 designs get the upgraded 10.25-inch touchscreen standard. The foundation LX and some leftover 2021 types get the more mature, decreased-resolution 8-inch system, but it truly is even now similarly effortless to use. 

So what will you devote to get a Sorento hybrid? That depends a little bit on the product yr. The 2021 types begun at $34,765, and 2022 examples get started at $35,165. Transfer up from the S to the EX, and you’ll commit $37,765, but a little less on a 2022 at $36,965 on a 2022. The only notable modifications to the 2022 product are the aforementioned touchscreen and the addition of optional all-wheel generate to the two trims. Both of those trims are also nicely geared up. One disappointing factor is that you can not get the best SX or rugged-hunting X-Line trims with the typical hybrid. Even though X-Line is strictly fuel only, at minimum the SX is readily available on the new 2022 Sorento PHEV. In fact, it is really the only trim readily available. Of class, that means it truly is dear, beginning at all around $45,000. At minimum it comes with a tax rebate and it does have the capability to operate in whole electrical manner, perhaps conserving even additional in gasoline expenditures.

The Sorento hybrid’s prices finally set it extremely close to the additional powerful non-hybrid turbo product, but taking into consideration the simple fact the Sorento isn’t really a sporty push, we would a great deal favor the huge fuel economic climate boost to the additional electricity. Pricing also places this compact-ish three-row concerning more compact two-rows and more substantial 3-rows. At the large finish of the two-row hybrid established is the CR-V Hybrid with a price tag of $32,165. At the low close of the major 3-rows is the Highlander Hybrid with a $40,070 base rate. Certainly if you can do without having a third row, you can help save a fantastic little bit of revenue, but in any other case, the Sorento is a exceptional worth that must be on your brief list of three-row SUVs. It is trendy, roomy and efficient with no sacrificing practicality or performance relative the levels of competition. 

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