Kia is making a big push into the EV market. After revealing its all-electric EV6 in New York City’s Times Square back in May, the South Korean carmaker was set to make its return to the Big Apple this week. Since the New York Auto Show has been canceled due to the ongoing pandemic, Kia decided to un-wrap its new plug-in hybrid Sorento online.
The 2022 Kia Sorento Turbo Plug-in Hybrid, to go by its formal name, adds a green twist to the fourth-generation SUV that itself went through a complete makeover for the 2021 model year. Like other recently launched PHEVs, the Sorento offers enough range — an estimated 32 miles per charge — for most motorists to handle daily commutes and chores. When the battery pack runs down, however, the SUV will keep going on gasoline power.
And, even then, it promises to be the greenest version of the 2022 Sorento Kia will offer, with a combined EPA rating of 79 MPGe. According to the automaker, the SUV will be able to travel as far as 460 miles on a mix of battery power and gasoline.
It takes a good eye to see the differences between the standard Sorento and the PHEV version, the biggest being the new charge port up front and subtle blue badging.
The SUV launched last year grew by nearly half an inch in length, with the wheelbase stretched 1.4 inches. Most of that space is devoted to a roomier interior which now measures 143.8 cubic feet.
The fourth-generation remake adopted a more aggressive look, picking up some key details, such as the broadened “tiger nose grille” from the recently launched Seltos SUV. The larger grille is framed between new “eyeline” daytime running lights and standard LED headlamps. Though the roof remains fairly flat, the current Sorento’s greenhouse gives it a sportier, coupe-like appearance than the old model.
Plenty of technology
Kia will offer two trim levels of the Sorento PHEV, the SX and SX-P. The base package features three rows, including second-row captain’s chairs finished with faux leather.
There’s plenty of technology, including a 10.25-inch digital infotainment screen that adds several new screens and details specifically for the battery drive system. Among other things, you’ll be able to track a place to charge the SUV on the road. The upgraded trim package adds a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster, as well as a surround-view camera. And it includes a clever blind-spot monitoring system that shows you what to watch out for on the video cluster when you hit the turn signal.
Kia engineers helped improve fuel efficiency with the latest-generation Sorento by cutting its overall weight by more than 100 pounds, despite adding new features.
Under the hood, the PHEV is powered by a gas-electric driveline pairing a 1.6-liter inline-4 engine and a single electric motor. It draws power from a 13.8 kilowatt-hour battery. The package produces a peak 261 horsepower.
Depending upon the trim level, the Sorento PHEV offers an assortment of advanced driver assistance systems, such as the blind-spot monitor, automatic emergency braking, forward collision warning and Highway Driving Assistant.
Kia isn’t ready to announce pricing but should let potential buyers know shortly before the 2022 Sorento PHEV goes on sale during the third quarter of this year.
Like its sibling brand, Hyundai, Kia plans to roll out a broad array of electrified vehicles during the coming decade, including plug-ins like the new Sorento, as well as a range of battery-electric vehicles that will start next year with the arrival of the EV6.