Auto review by Veeno Dewan

As well as being one of the fastest growing auto brands in the world Kia has been making a name for itself with a large portfolio of vehicles that offer unbeatable value for money. Equipment levels across the model ranges are  excellent at prices that are easy on the pocket.  Kia  also has an extensive range of  hybrid and EV vehicles. And so, to the Kia  Sorento –  a midsize SUV that got a major redesign last year and is now available in either gasoline, hybrid plug-in versions or a hybrid model. The new fourth-generation 2022 Kia Sorento  has new front and rear fascia’s and new head and taillights with a more  integrated grille.

The PHEV (Plug in hybrid model) we tested  is differentiated from non  hybrid  models by an extra charging  port at the right rear quarter and different wheels. A small Eco Hybrid badge is placed  on the back hatch.

The Sorento adds value with its  three rows of seats and spacious interior.  Inside, the infotainment system and its simple to use touch  screen is updated and even easier to use and now supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.  The cabin has plenty of flexible space with the rear seats up and decent enough cargo space. Setting up the third row allows for at least another two kids or teens to sit.  Rear seat room is good, as is the headroom front and rear.

Motivation is courtesy of a 13.8-watt lithium-ion battery (in PHEV) and 66-kW motor paired to a 1.6-litre turbo four-cylinder engine. Together they produce 261 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque, and about 51 km of range on battery alone. An estimated 2.8 L/100 km city (3.2 highway) makes the Sorento PHEV very impressive in terms of fuel efficiency. Charging times for  the battery range from 4-6 hours depending on the charge type.

The Sorento PHEV is priced  very competitively with the  base EX trim starting at $44,995 —Still low enough to qualify for federal and  provincial Green rebates.  The top tier SX+ model is $50,595.

The Sorento Plug-In Hybrid is standard equipped with a 10.3-inch infotainment touchscreen that includes Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, built-in navigation, and satellite radio. Models offer clothe , synthetic or real leather seats depending on trim level. The SX trim gets a 4.2-inch gauge cluster display, while the SX + trim has a 12.3-inch all-digital display. There are USB ports in every row, and both SX trims get a wireless charging pad. The standard six-speaker audio system can be replaced by a 12-speaker Bose premium system.

On the road, despite the small displacement 1.6L turbocharge 4-cylinder engine under the hood. The electric motor working with it does result in a very acceptable 261 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. The Kia Sorento PHEV impresses,  retaining its composure even through quick corners. Handling is very good  and there is a comfortable, smooth ride for occupants. Kia has done a   noticeable job of improving wind and road noise from inside the cabin. A tight turning circle make the Sorento  an easy to drive vehicle in urban areas.

The Sorento PHEV offers different drive modes, including a Sport mode that sharpens the reactions of the Sorento. There is also an Eco mode. Normal is the default setting that suffices for everyday driving. Put the Sorento  into Sport mode and things become more…well sporty  with tightened throttle and steering feel.  However, the suspension is tuned  for comfort rather than performance cornering, so there is slight body roll when pushing it through corners, but nothing to be concerned about. Downsides are few –  the ride errs on comfort- not sport despite the  sport mode  button. The touch buttons on the side of the screen are finicky and  the third  row is a tight affair for adults and is more kid friendly than adult pleasing.

Note: that  residents of Quebec, British Columbia, and New Brunswick,  can take advantage of a Green car provincial rebate, as well as the federal rebate, as the Sorento PHEV’s base model is just under $45,000.  Rebate  amounts may change, so check government websites for updates. It is well worth it. When my wife bought her Kia Niro in late 2021, she obtained a total of $8,000 ($4,000 provincial and $4,000 federal) in rebates plus a discount on an EV wall mount charger from our very  friendly local Kia dealer.

To sum up, the Kia Sorento PHEV is well worth buying for its decent fuel economy. third row seating and family friendly ride. Equipment levels are good and the price including rebates is very attractive. Highly recommended.

2022 Kia Sorento PHEV – Priced from $44,995 – $50,995.

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