It wasn’t until about three years ago that Kia made an impact in the premium crossover market with the introduction of the Telluride. This large SUV was a hit with consumers and journalists alike, and sold like hotcakes on both sides of the border. Dealers couldn’t keep them in stock and getting one is still a challenge to this day. Kia hopes that they can build upon its success with a slightly smaller option with a twist. This is the all-new 2022 Kia Sorento PHEV, one of two new options to expand the Sorento lineup.
The Kia Sorento does share the same platform as the Hyundai Santa Fe, however they do have enough differences such as interior and exterior design, technology and cargo capabilities. Kia knocked it out of the park with the exterior design of the Telluride so many people were quite eager to see how the Sorento would come out. Kia’s overall exterior design language is one of the best in the industry, with sharp lines all around as opposed to the Santa Fe’s rounded styling.
The 2022 Kia Sorento PHEV SX’s tiger nose grill looks larger with the headlights now integrated as part of the design; it’s clean and aggressive. The rear does bear a close resemblance to the larger Telluride. Full LED lighting can be found all around, and the headlights provide ample lighting at night and in the inclement weather conditions we encountered during our week of testing. The rear end is nicely finished, with tailpipes hidden behind a diffuser.
Jump inside and you are invited to a modern and cleanly designed interior. Kia took some risks with the overall dash design and it works quite well. The vents are designed vertically and broken into two sections that can be adjusted independently. There are indented design cues found on the door and the dashboard above the glove compartment that break up the flat surfaces. Build quality is excellent and the soft touch materials feel fantastic.
A 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster as normally found on Hyundai products has made it way over to the Sorento, and it fits perfectly with the PHEV. Side view monitoring is standard and swaps out the left and right gauges for a blind spot view when the respective turn signal is activated. The infotainment screen is a large 10.25-inch display with both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard. The Kia UVO system remains one of the best in the industry and owners will not need to open the user manual to navigate it.
With the Kia Sorento PHEV, two captain’s chairs are found behind the rear seats and make this a dedicated six seater. If you need a seven seater, you will need to consider the regular hybrid or full gasoline variant. There is more than enough space to fit adults in the second row, but the third row is best suited for children or smaller adults. With these seats upright, cargo space is minimal at best with 357 litres. Drop the third row and this grows to 1,090-1,274 litres.
The reason why more people should consider the Kia Sorento over the Telluride is the vast option of engine choices. In the Telluride, you get one, a 3.8-liter V6. The Sorento provides a naturally aspirated four-cylinder, a turbocharged four, a conventional hybrid and the plug-in hybrid model that we have here. This model has a 1.6-liter turbocharged inline four-cylinder, mated to a 360V and 88-kW lithium-ion hybrid system. Combined figures are estimated at 261 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque.
Don’t expect the instantaneous torque when you dig into the accelerator like you would experience in a pure EV; the Sorento’s power delivery is gradual and smooth. The traditional six-speed automatic transmission is a great choice as most competitors like the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid go with a CVT. All-wheel-drive is standard and with proper winter tires, I was able to leave most cars behind when the snow hit.
Fuel economy is rated at 2.8L/100km city and 3.2L/100km highway. Of course, this varies depending on how much the Sorento PHEV is actually plugged in, and how much use drivers make of the hybrid system. During our week of testing, we achieved an impressive 3.0L/100km on highway driving. As expected, regular 87-octane fuel is all that’s required.
Pricing for the Sorento starts at $34,595. Choose the entry level PHEV and prices start at $44,995. Our top spec Kia Sorento PHEV SX starts at $54,995 and comes fully loaded with no further options available. Being a plug-in hybrid, federal and provincial rebates are available depending on your location.
Consumers looking for a stylish, well designed and modern three-row sport utility vehicle would benefit from considering the 2022 Kia Sorento PHEV SX. There is sufficient performance for your daily commute and technology that is simple enough that anyone can jump in and feel right at home. The Telluride still offers more space and a more premium experience, but the Sorento is right-sized for many Canadian families.