Kia has unveiled the plug-in hybrid version of the all-new fourth-generation Sorento, which will enter the European market in early 2021.

The Sorento Plug-in Hybrid is a 7-seat, D-segment SUV (there is also a 5-seat layout version), designed for "supreme practicality, low running costs, and high power". Clearly, a contender for the Ford Explorer PHEV.

Visually, it's basically the same as conventional and hybrid variants. The only points of differentiation are ‘eco plug-in’ badges and a charging port on the rear quarters.

The cabin also remains largely unchanged, although Kia noted that the 12.3-inch fully-digital instrument cluster is redesigned accordingly to show plug-in hybrid powertrain’s status (battery’s state of charge, the flow of electric and petrol power through the powertrain). The 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment system can additionally show charging points.

Kia Sorento PHEV charging
Kia Sorento PHEV interior

According to the South Korean manufacturer, the Sorento Plug-in Hybrid offers generous space and one of the largest cargo capacities in its class: up to 809 liters (for seven-seat models) or 898 liters (five-seat models) with two rows of seats in place.

Kia equipped the Sorento PHEV with a 13.8 kWh battery, but has not revealed the WLTP range rating yet: "all-electric range will be sufficient to enable drivers to complete most short drives on electric power alone". We expect it will be similar to 42 km (26 miles) WLTP of Ford Explorer PHEV. The pack itself is Kia’s first with an independent water-cooling system.

The all-wheel-drive powertrain (parallel hybrid configuration) combines a 1.6-liter T-GDi engine and six-speed automatic transmission, plus a 66.9 kW electric motor. The total system output is 265 ps and 350 Nm torque.

Kia Sorento PHEV specs:

  • Range (all-electric)
    WLTP: N/A
  • 13.8 kWh battery
  • all-wheel drive
  • peak system output of 265 ps and 350 Nm of torque
    1.6-litre T-GDi (Turbocharged Gasoline Direct injection) engine (180 ps and 265 Nm torque),
    six-speed automatic transmission
    electric motor (66.9 kW and 304 Nm torque)
  • 7-seat or 5-seat
  • cargo space (7-seat): 809L with third row down, 175L with all rows up
    cargo space (5-seat): 898L
  • seven-year, 100,000 miles warranty for the car

Gallery: Kia Sorento PHEV

In terms of safety, Kia equipped the Sorento PHEV with Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) and tons of features, including:

  • Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist (FCA) technology with pedestrian, cyclist and vehicle detection and FCA Junction, which detects vehicles at junctions when turning;
  • Blind-Spot View Monitor (BVM);
  • Surround View Monitor (SVM) and Blind-spot Collision-Avoidance Assist (BCA);
  • Intelligent Speed Limit Assist (ISLA);
  • Smart Cruise Control with Stop&Go (SCC) and Navigation-based SCC (NSCC);
  • Lane Following Assist (LFA);
  • Driver Attention Warning (DAW);
  • and Highway Driving Assist (HDA).
  • Rear View Monitor (RVM) with Reverse Parking Collision-Avoidance Assist (PCA) and Rear Cross-traffic Collision-Avoidance Assist (RCCA).
  • The Sorento’s Safe Exit Assist (SAE) feature also prevents rear doors from opening if the vehicle detects a hazard approaching from behind, such as a cyclist or another vehicle.
  • The Sorento also implements Kia’s first Multi-Collision Brake system, which enables the Sorento to mitigate the severity of secondary collisions. It automatically applies vehicle brakes when the airbags have been deployed after an initial collision, further protecting occupants from secondary frontal or side impacts.
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