The 2022 Kia Sorento Hybrid is economical, but not fast

Hybrid technology has come a long way since the first generation of the Toyota Prius. Some of the fastest vehicles on the planet now feature some form of electric propulsion. like the Toyota RAV4, where the hybrid version is the fastest in the range while being the most fuel efficient. But this is not yet true in all areas; the case in point being the 2022 Kia Sorento Hybrid. While a fantastic all-rounder, the SUV won’t be a delight for enthusiasts. The SUV’s frugal hybrid-electric powertrain still lags the gasoline models in some important aspects only. Let’s explore the pros and cons of the Sorento’s second most economical drivetrain, behind the plug-in hybrid version.

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An excellent three-row SUV with a caveat

A three-quarter front shot of a red 2022 Kia Sorento Hybrid.
KIA

A three-quarter front shot of a red 2022 Kia Sorento Hybrid.

The fourth generation of the Sorento, supported by the Kia/Hyundai N3 platform, is squarer and more elegant than the previous one. According to Kia, the new third-generation front-wheel-drive platform offers a 1.4-inch longer wheelbase than the previous version, while simultaneously reducing overall weight by 119 pounds and increasing average tensile strength of 4%. The steel monocoque sits unsurprisingly on MacPherson struts up front and a Multi-Link setup at the rear, while anti-roll bars mount at both ends. Stopping is provided by 12.8-inch four-wheel ventilated disc brakes. 17-inch Aero Design alloy wheels wrapped in 235/65 R17 tires are standard on the front-wheel-drive EX trim. Torque Vectoring All-Wheel Drive with locking center differential is optional on the base EX trim and standard on the top SX Prestige trim. Either way, it comes with 19-inch machined alloys wrapped in 235/55 R19 tires. Curb weight ranges between 3,979 pounds and 4,255 pounds depending on specification and if rear-wheel drive is present.

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Fuel economy is good, but it’ll never make you smile

2022 Kia Sorento Hybrid 1.6-litre Smartstream engine.
KIA

2022 Kia Sorento Hybrid 1.6-litre Smartstream engine.

In the hybrid model, power comes from a turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder with direct injection, assisted by a 44 kW electric motor. Gone is the clunky eight-speed dual-clutch transmission of gas-only models and comes a traditional six-speed automatic. Combined powertrain output is an unspectacular 227 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. It won’t win many light drag races, as acceleration to 60 mph takes a mediocre 8.4 seconds. That’s a whopping two seconds slower than gas-only models. Don’t try to hitch a big trailer to your Sorento Hybrid either, as the towing capacity is a paltry 2,000 pounds. The Hybrid’s strong point is its efficiency, delivering an EPA-rated 37 mpg combined fuel economy, which Kia said at launch was the best of any three-row SUV. This value is for the front-wheel-drive model; opting for the rear-drive model cuts mileage to 34 mpg combined. It will get up to 655 miles of range from its parallel hybrid configuration and 17.7 gallon fuel tank.

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Lots of gear, but not so much space for people

Interior of the 2022 Kia Sorento Hybrid.
KIA

Interior of the 2022 Kia Sorento Hybrid.

Overall, the interior of the Sorento looks like a nice place. The driver’s instrument display is a 4.2-inch unit in the EX and a 12.3-inch digital display in the SX Prestige. A 10.25-inch touchscreen dominates the center of the dashboard. SiriusXM, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay and Bluetooth hands-free connectivity with voice recognition are all standard. The base car comes with a six-speaker audio system, while the top trim doubles that number with its premium Bose audio setup. SynTex seats in black and gray are available in EX trim, while SX Prestige trim is genuine perforated leather in gray and navy. On the outside, the SX Prestige also features power-folding side mirrors, LED headlights and taillights, and automatic windshield wipers.

Zoom in on the 10.25-inch touchscreen inside the 2022 Kia Sorento Hybrid.
KIA

Zoom in on the 10.25-inch touchscreen inside the 2022 Kia Sorento Hybrid.

The SX Prestige also has some exciting new features. There’s a Blind Spot View Monitor, in which a mirror-mounted camera displays a live view of your blind spot in the instrument cluster when you activate the turn signals. There’s also a Surround View monitor, in which four cameras mounted around the SUV provide a birds-eye view of the car’s surroundings while maneuvering at low speeds. It is a great help for difficult situations. A panoramic sunroof is available as an option on both versions.

Interior of the 2022 Kia Sorento Hybrid showing the second row captain's chairs.
KIA

Interior of the 2022 Kia Sorento Hybrid showing the second row captain’s chairs.

Another possible downside of the hybrid versions compared to the gas-only lower trim levels, besides reduced performance, is the seating capacity, which can accommodate one less person. The Hybrid only comes with captain’s seats in the second row, meaning you can only carry a maximum of six passengers instead of the seven possible with traditional middle row seats. Plus, there’s not a whole lot of space in the third row, meaning you’re unlikely to be able to seat two full-sized adults there, further limiting the passenger-carrying capabilities of the car. car. As for a family SUV, this can be a major drawback for some customers.

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Energy efficiency comes at the expense of performance

Front three-quarter photo of a white 2022 Kia Sorento Hybrid.
KIA

Front three-quarter photo of a white 2022 Kia Sorento Hybrid.

The Sorento Hybrid comes with Kia’s industry-leading 10-year or 100,000-mile warranty. The front-drive EX version will start at $36,590 while the SX Premium is $5,800 more at $42,390. If you want to take the next step in electric mobility and be able to drive your Sorento in purely electric mode, you will have to look to the more expensive Plug-In model. It starts at $49,890, but for that price you get all the bells and whistles of the all-wheel-drive SX Prestige model, plus 32 miles of all-electric range from an AC synchronous permanent magnet motor from 89 horsepower. It is powered by a 360-volt, 13.8 kWh lithium-ion polymer battery. This new transmission is good for a combined output of 261 horsepower, while torque remains at 258 lb-ft. Although the weight climbs to over 4,500 pounds, it will return up to 79 MPGe combined and shave one second off the Hybrid’s zero-to-60 time. However, it’s still a second slower than the 2.5-liter turbo version.

Rear three-quarter shot of a white 2022 Kia Sorento Plug-in Hybrid
KIA

Rear three-quarter shot of a white 2022 Kia Sorento Plug-in Hybrid

Overall, the Sorento Hybrid is a decent proposition. It brings good fuel economy and plenty of amenities to the highly competitive mid-size SUV market. But everything has a price. In the case of the Sorento Hybrid and the Sorento Plug-In Hybrid, the downside of fewer trips to the pump is reduced performance compared to its gas-only counterparts. This is somewhat disappointing at a time when manufacturers are investing heavily in electrified powertrains. Of course, if you’re looking for a small three-row SUV, speed probably isn’t at the top of your priority list, and with the Sorento, you get what you pay for. But, at nearly $50,000, you shouldn’t have to settle for something that won’t at least occasionally make you smile.

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