The new Kia Sorento Hybrid on test for Changing Lanes!
The new Kia Sorento Hybrid on test for Changing Lanes!

Caroline drives the 2021 Kia Sorento Plug-in Hybrid!

The Kia Sorento has established itself well in the market for 7-seat SUVs in Ireland. An all-new generation of the popular Sorento arrived here at the end of 2020, raising the game once again in the Kia camp.

What’s so special about the 2021 Kia Sorento?

Offered with a diesel engine or as a plug-in hybrid for the very first time, the Kia Sorento offers buyers at both ends a stylish and upmarket large SUV.

Kicking off from €52,500 for the plug-in hybrid and from €52,440 for the diesel, the Sorento is a flagship SUV for the Korean brand. It looks and feels every inch of that billing.

The Sorento is big, physically imposing, with a new look inspired by the Kia Telluride, which is not sold in this country. Believe me this new Sorento should be large and good-looking enough for all your needs! All models come well-equipped with 19″ alloys, roof rails, leather upholstery, 10.25″ touchscreen, and a full suite of safety features.

The new Kia Sorento Hybrid is available from €50,000
The new Kia Sorento Hybrid is available from €52,500

How practical is it as a seven seat SUV?

The Sorento’s 13.8 kWh lithium-ion polymer battery pack is located beneath the driver and front passenger seats. The layout means the battery pack doesn’t intrude on the Sorento’s cabin or cargo space.

Carrying people in comfort is what this SUV excels at. All models available in Ireland are 7-seaters, with the two seats in the very rear folding into the boot floor when not in use. The cabin is huge and spacious, the driving position lofty, the cabin finish high quality with the best in Kia technology and infotainment. Think of a living room on wheels and you are close.

There’s also a huge boot with a powered tailgate available – up to 809 litres with the third row of seats folded down. With all seven seats in place, there’s 175 litres available for a few bags. The 50:50 split-fold third-row seats are easy to fold down using levers inside the boot.

The rear bench has great width and there are ISOFIX child seat fixtures on the outer seats of the 2nd and 3rd row seats.

Tell us more about the new Kia Sorento Hybrid

Powering this hybrid beauty on test for Changing Lanes is a plug-in hybrid petrol electric powertrain. The new Sorento PHEV uses a 1.6-litre petrol engine, an electric motor and a 13.8 kWh battery pack. The battery can be charged in about 3.5 hours.

Flexibility is the name of the game here. When the battery is fully charged the Sorento can cruise silently on electric power for a range of up to 57 km. Truly astounding when you consider the size and weight of this SUV.

Inside the new Kia Sorento
Inside the new Kia Sorento

What’s it like to drive?

Interestingly the Sorento PHEV is the only model in the range offering four wheel drive, with diesel models only offered as front wheel drive vehicles. Drive is sent to the front wheels or all four wheels, depending on road conditions, via a quick-shifting six-speed automatic transmission.

On the road, the Kia Sorento PHEV is a very accomplished drive. Comfort and refinement is fitting of a large family SUV with this price tag. The four wheel drive system means that the Sorento PHEV (265 hp) put its considerable power to the road with great ease and grip. In fact it’s the most powerful Sorento ever sold in Europe!

This is a large SUV but it handles town, and country roads with decent agility for what it is. Placing the battery low down in the centre of the body, between the two axles, also keeps the centre of gravity low and aids weight distribution. It’s hard to notice any discernible difference in the handling compared to the diesel model.

We recommend buyers of plug-in hybrid do make use of that electric range, charging up between drives at home or at work. However when running solely as a hybrid, our average fuel consumption was 6.9 litres per 100 km, proving that technology has come along way when a large SUV like the Sorento can post a decent figure like that on petrol power.

There’s also the Kia Sorento diesel, which offers better economy over longer motorway runs.

The Sorento offers plug-in hybrid power for the very first time in 2021
The Sorento offers plug-in hybrid power for the very first time in 2021

Did you like it?

Hell yeah! Kia is once again bringing quality, innovative cars to market…at high speed to meet the changing market demands for more hybrid and electrified vehicles.

The Sorento PHEV is not an also-ran – it’s a viable option for large families seeking a modern SUV that can be run very efficiently indeed when that battery power is fully exploited.

Elsewhere, the Sorento sports a sort of rugged Americana vibe. It just might be larger than life itself, with a comfortable and spacious cabin that makes it a great family car.

All cars are well-equipped, offering amazing technology features that truly move Kia’s game on in the large SUV segment.

We loved the Sorento diesel; now we can say we love the Kia Sorento PHEV too! A genuinely practical and spacious three row, seven seat plug-in hybrid SUV for the Irish market.

The 2021 Kia Sorento only comes in extra large!
The 2021 Kia Sorento only comes in extra large!

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: Kia Sorento PHEV AWD K4
Price: 
€47,365
Engine: 
1.6-litre petrol electric hybrid
Power: 265 hp
Torque: 350 Nm
Top speed: 193 km/h
Acceleration (0-100 km/h): 8.7 seconds
CO2 emissions: 
38 g/km
Motor Tax: 
€140 per year