Road Test: The 2022 Kia Sorento adds some hybrid tech hype







The transition from internal combustion engines (ICE) to electric vehicles (EV) is happening before our eyes. Some automakers are moving faster in this transition than others. Others take a more conservative approach. I think it’s the smartest game. So it’s wise for a company like Kia to slowly switch from ICE to EV, and in doing so, that means introducing more hybrids and more plug-in hybrids. Hybrids are the happy medium between these two technologies.







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My tester this week shows that not all hybrids have to be cramped and can in fact be energetic. New to the 2022 Kia Sorento Hybrid is the addition of a plug-in hybrid version. My tester was the standard hybrid (think Toyota Prius, but with power). There is electric assistance and a turbocharged engine.

This coming together of automotive engineering is pretty common now and in the 2022 Sorento it shows why the consumer is first and also why today’s American car buyer should reconsider hybrids.

The 1.6-liter turbocharged engine with the assistance of the aforementioned electric motor develops 227 horsepower. It sounds average on paper, but this three-row hybrid SUV is surprisingly fast on the line and at highway speeds. And rejoice that Kia isn’t sticking with a continuously variable transmission (CVT) but instead opting for a six-speed automatic. Sure, a six-speed is somewhat outdated in today’s transmission technology, but it’s so cliche to put a CVT with a hybrid. (Faithful readers will recall my disdain for CVTs).







2022 Sorento HEV

It was also worth noting that my test vehicle had front-wheel drive (which is standard). All-wheel-drive (AWD) is available, and loyal readers will also remember my love for all-wheel-drive in SUVs. But in the Sorento Hybrid it wasn’t missed and I didn’t even really notice the difference.

The overall styling of the entire Kia range is impressive. Every Kia vehicle has a distinction and an attractive fit and finish. The Sorento Hybrid continues this trend with an exterior that still remains modern but also stands out from a crowded field of competitors.

Notched styling on the front bumper, just below the conservative-looking grille, adds an interesting design element up front. The profile is rather soft and lacking in distinction, save for the close proximity to the rear window (known as the C-Pillar) where the slope and styling really liven up the otherwise conservative profile. A rear spoiler further adds to the style and brightens up the rear of this SUV, which is needed as the interesting styling at the front is washed out at the rear. Other than the bland rear end, the Sorento Hybrid is an attractive SUV.







2022 Sorento HEV

It’s inside that Kia really shines. Defying the likes of Toyota and Honda, the interior of the Sorento (and most other Kia vehicles for that matter) is high quality. For example, the seats are leather and plush. The Sorento Hybrid’s six-passenger capacity means they’re not trying to cram another person into the second or third row, which is good. As such, second-row leg and shoulder room is fantastic. Even with only two passengers in the third row, it’s best to make those passengers smaller or children, as average-sized adults will want more room in that third row.

Behind that third row, there’s just 12.6 cubic feet of cargo space, which is below par for the segment. With the third row folded flat, that cargo area expands to 38.5 cubic feet. With all rear seats folded down, the total cargo area is 75.5 cubic feet, offering some freight reimbursement.

For 2022, the Sorento Hybrid gets a larger standard touchscreen. The 10 to 25-inch touchscreen is responsive and well-designed. Kia’s overall infotainment is intuitive and one of the best systems in the business. The UVO system is compatible with Apple and Android devices and there are USB charging ports for all passengers, including the third row.







2022 Sorento HEV

My tester was the EV version with a standard price of $35,990. With a nice Runway Red paint color and carpeted floor mats, plus a destination charge, my tester’s final MSRP was $37,820.

As a hybrid, fuel economy is top of mind. And as such, the Sorento Hybrid offers impressive fuel economy with an EPA rating of 39 mpg/city and 35 mpg/highway. In a week of mostly suburban driving I averaged close to 37 mpg and still found the Sorento Hybrid to be more punchy than a Prius and drive like a gasoline vehicle .







2022 Sorento HEV

Therein lies the charm of the Sorento Hybrid and other hybrids like it on the road. Forget any preconceived notions you may have had about hybrids and plug-in hybrids. Today’s hybrid vehicle technology does not mean sluggish and sluggish. As is the case with the 2022 Kia Sorento Hybrid, that means fuel-efficient, but also reasonably fun to drive.

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