The 2023 Kia Sorento Hybrid Loses Its Cheapest Trim Level

Since its introduction in 2002, the Kia Sorento has provided an economical alternative for growing families seeking a dependable midsize SUV. This promise carried on with the Kia Sorento Hybrid S, allowing families the advantages of a hybrid SUV at an entry-level price. But unfortunately, the 2023 Sorento HEV is no longer available in the former base model S trim.

What we’ll miss about the Kia Sorento Hybrid S trim

A 2023 Kia Sorento Hybrid driving down a dirt road in a wooded area.
2023 Kia Sorento | Kia Media

Edmunds lists the all-wheel drive S trim version as the most popular 2022 Kia Sorento Hybrid, but it isn’t an option for the 2023 Sorento Hybrid as Kia raises its base Sorento Hybrid package price. Like the 2023 Kia Sorento Hybrid lineup, the 2022 Sorento Hybrid S utilized a 1.6-liter inline four-cylinder internal combustion engine with its hybrid battery-powered drivetrain to produce 227 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque and offers a similar set of standard features.

Autotrader reports that the 2022 Kia Sorento Hybrid S “is so well equipped Kia doesn’t even bother offering options or packages.” Some of the S trim’s standard features include: 

  • 17-inch alloy wheels on front-wheel drive models
  • 19-inch alloy wheels on all-wheel drive models
  • Roof rail racks
  • LED low-beam headlights
  • Rear privacy glass
  • Heated side mirrors with integrated turn signals
  • Satin chrome window and grille accents
  • Color-keyed bumpers and side mirror caps
  • A full suite of airbags, including third-row side curtains and driver’s knee airbags
  • Driver safety assist features: 
  • Forward-collision warning
  • Automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection
  • Blind-spot monitor
  • Rear cross-traffic alert
  • Lane departure warning
  • Lane-keeping assistance
  • Rear-seat sensors alert drivers when exiting if someone remains behind
  • Alerts for approaching traffic when opening rear doors
  • A driver-attention monitor warns distracted or drowsy drivers
  • Automatic high-beam headlights
  • Rear parking sensors alert when approaching obstacles

In addition to an already full array of standard features, the Sorento Hybrid S featured steering wheel paddle shifters and Sport, Eco, and Smart drive modes that varied throttle response, transmission shift profiles, and steering wheel feel. There was also a Snow mode for all-wheel drive equipped S trim models. 

The 2022 Kia Sorento Hybrid S started at under $34,000 for the front-wheel drive model and opting for all-wheel drive raised the price by about $1,800. The starting price for the 2023 Kia Sorento Hybrid EX front-wheel drive is around $2,600 more than the previous year’s S trim at $36,590, and choosing the all-wheel drive option still adds about $1,800. 

Is the 2023 Kia Sorento Hybrid EX better?

Besides the addition of standard second-row captain’s chairs, the 2023 Kia Sorento Hybrid EX offers few differences or advantages over the former S trim at a substantial price increase. But that doesn’t mean a new EX price is out of line. Of course, if your dealer has a leftover 2022 Sorento Hybrid S, it is a better value. However, the 2023 EX, even with its higher price, is still a good buy for anyone in the market for a midsize hybrid SUV featuring a full suite of standard convenience and safety features, including some advanced driver assistance technology. 

RELATED: Recall Alert: The Kia Sportage and Sorento Could Catch Fire