The 2021 Sorento Hybrid is the first electrically-assisted version of Kia’s popular mid-size crossover. The world’s 5th-largest auto group, based in Korea, plans to debut a plug-in version of the Sorento towards the end of 2021.
Sorento Hybrid uses a 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission and an AC Synchronous Permanent Magnet e-Motor to generate a combined output of 227HP and 258 pound-feet of torque. The hybrid powertrain achieves solid EPA fuel economy ratings of 39 MPG city, 35 MPG highway and 37 MPG combined. The car offers no dedicated electric-only mode, but constantly uses its e-power to render efficient propulsion options which can generate a staggering 655 mile total hybrid range. In case you’re wondering, that’s a lot of miles for a mid-size 3-row crossover. It’s one of the car’s biggest selling points.
By comparison, the non-hybrid version of the Sorento, which uses a gas engine, is rated for 26 MPG combined – 11 MPGs less than the hybrid Sorento. Non-hybrid Sorento has a total range of 513 miles, compared to Hybrid Sorento's 655 mile total. Interestingly enough, the hybrid version costs $1700 more than the non-hybrid Sorento, but the EPA estimates that over five years of driving the hybrid, you’ll save $1750 in fuel. Meaning your investment in the hybrid version eventually pays off. Your 5 years of driving an Eco-minded Sorento as opposed to a non Eco-minded Sorento will provide additional benefits which are hard to place a value on. Peace of mind being one of them. Driving a hybrid, you'll be putting way less CO2 in the air!
Sorento Hybrid’s EPA rating of 39 mpg city, 35 highway, and 37 combined is the most efficient rating for a three-row SUV without a plug, making it a Best In Class hybrid. It easily tops the Toyota Highlander Hybrid’s 36/35/36 mpg rating and puts the Ford Explorer Hybrid’s 27 mpg combined rating to shame.
Another major Sorrento Hybrid selling point is its three seating rows. In the Hyundai Motor Group’s lineup (which includes Kia, Hyundai and Genesis) the Sorento is considered unique because of its mid-size utility vehicle 3-row seating capability. It’s at least 4 inches shorter than the Kia K5 mid-sized sedan and only half an inch longer than the Kia Santa Fe. But in the Hyundai lineup you’ll need to get a larger SUV like the Palisade to obtain three rows. Kia says its more expensive, upscale 3-row Telluride is available in the Middle East and North America, while Sorento is available globally. That puts Sorento in high demand. Reviewers however, will quickly let you know that the third row of seats can be cramped for adults. It accommodates children just fine, but passengers five feet and over in height will find Row #3 a tad confining.
An additional positive for customers coming to Kia for the first time: the company offers an excellent warranty program. Kia’s industry-leading 10-year/100,000-mile warranties are unmatched. A testament to the company’s commitment to quality, the Kia 10-year/100,000 mile warranty program consists of:
• A 10-year/100,000 mile limited powertrain warranty
• A 5-year/60,000 mile limited basic warranty
• A 5-year/100,000 mile limited anti-perforation warranty
• A 5-year/60,000 mile roadside assistance plan
Kia says of its warranty program: "With one of the longest powertrain warranties on the market, Kia can’t be beaten. Through standing by its materials, workmanship, and quality, Kia communicates a strong statement of belief about the performance of its vehicles. The Kia powertrain warranty will cover any manufacturer damage or defects for 10 years or up to 100,000 miles. This warranty covers all of the vehicle’s essential systems, including the transmission, axle, transaxle, engine, driveshaft, propeller shafts, and differential."
Kia has a great Roadside Plan as well. Available 24 hours a day in the United States, the Kia Roadside Assistance Plan provides a network of more than 17,000 providers who will help you with minor issues. Some examples of minor issues include running out of gas, getting a flat tire, or encountering a dead battery. The plan also has a Trip Interruption Policy which covers long road trips. If you’re more than 150 miles from your home, Kia will reimburse the cost of meals, lodging, or rental car expenses if the repairs you need take more than 24 hours to complete.
J.D. Power has ranked Kia Motors the #1 mass-market brand for the sixth consecutive year. In the USA, Kia owners reported the fewest “quality issues” within the first 90 days of ownership. More J.D. Power Awards for Initial Quality have been awarded to Kia than any other brand, for two years in a row. Sorento was one of the four Kia cars that topped its respective segment.
The Sorento Hybrid comes in two trims: S (MSRP: $33,590) and EX ($36,590). Both trims use Front Wheel Drive (FWD) and a 4-Wheel Disc with Anti-lock Brake System (ABS). Electronic Stability Control (ESC), Traction Control System (TCS), and Hill Start Assist Control (HAC) are included for each.
Both versions come standard with a long list of features including: An 8.0-inch Touchscreen, UVO link Remote Connectivity, SiriusXMSatellite Radio, Wireless Android Auto, Wireless Apple CarPlay, Bluetooth Wireless Technology, Hands-Free Phone and Audio Streaming, Voice Recognition, a 6 Speaker AM/FM/HD Radio Audio System, Steering-Wheel-Mounted Audio, Hands-Free Phone and Cruise Control Buttons.
The EX trim adds: LED fog lights, Black exterior trim, a Panoramic sunroof, Adaptive cruise control (which adjusts speed to maintain a constant distance between the vehicle and the car in front), Front parking sensors (which alert you to obstacles that may not be visible in front of the vehicle when parking), Enhanced forward collision mitigation (which can better recognizes pedestrians and cyclists).
Pcmag.com reviewer Gretchen Newcomb says: “Automakers like GM, Kia, and Toyota are embracing eco-friendly vehicles in a big way. Kia, for instance, expects its aggressive rollout of pure electric vehicles (EV), hybrids (HEV), and plug-in hybrids (PHEV) to make up 40% of its sales by 2030. To that end, the 2021 Kia Sorento comes in a hybrid trim and is the first of many alt-fuel vehicles the company is introducing as it kicks off this transition with an 11-model lineup that includes seven fully electric vehicles by 2026. It's an auspicious start, as the Sorento Hybrid offers the most power you'll find among midsize CUVs, along with excellent fuel economy and enough tech to earn it our Editors' Choice award.”
Bengt Halvorson from greencarreports.com says: “Kia says the Sorento fits into “a segment of one,” with rivals that span from the Ford Escape and Honda CR-V all the way up to the Ford Explorer. But in dimensions and the overall feel of the vehicle, it’s much closer to the Explorer and the Toyota Highlander. To bring in some other comparisons, it’s within an inch in overall length of the Honda Passport and Jeep Grand Cherokee, but it packs three rows in like the Honda Pilot, Ford Explorer, or Toyota Highlander which are all 6-12 inches longer. The cabin feels like a nice midpoint between the more upright cabin layout in the Telluride and Grand Cherokee and the more relaxed, lower-greenhouse layout of the Toyota Highlander and Ford Explorer. The Sorento’s cabin, like that of the Toyota Highlander, feels a bit shorter inside than you might expect it to be on the outside. Despite that, the Sorento feels more spacious in the first two rows because of seat placement.”
Says Forbes auto reviewer Sam Abuelsamid, “For a stylish, roomy 4/5 wagon with decent performance and excellent fuel economy and the option to carry two more passengers when needed, the 2021 Kia Sorento should definitely be on your shopping list.”
With outstanding fuel economy, superior hybrid range, one of the most powerful turbo-powered hybrid powertrains in its segment, great seating options, ample cargo space, all the essential tech you need, and a decent starting MSRP, the Sorento Hybrid is an excellent mid-size SUV choice, especially for families.
May 2021 Review
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