The arrival of the all-new 2021 Kia Sorento marks the redesign of one of the brand’s most important models. To stay competitive in the growing crossover segment, the Sorento received some major updates. However, one of the most important could be the addition of an all-new hybrid model. Today we’ll be looking at a recent test by Car and Driver to determine if the hybrid model is the one you should actually buy.
What powers the Kia Sorento Hybrid
The powertrain is the biggest differentiator between a standard Kia Sorento Hybrid and the standard model. According to Car and Driver, under the hood lives a turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine. The tiny engine is then paired to an electric motor and a 1.5-kWh lithium battery. The Sorento hybrid is only available with a six-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive. Total output is rated at 227 hp and 258 lb-ft.
For context, a standard base model Kia Sorento develops 191 horsepower from its 2.5-liter engine. However, a more powerful 281-hp turbocharged engine is available in higher trim levels. Despite having slightly less power than the range-topping Sorento, Car and Driver report that the hybrid model feels as if it has 25 percent more power than it actually has. This comes from the electric engine, which delivers plenty of torque without needing to be revved up.
As a result, Car and Driver report that the Sorento Hybrid is quite fun to drive given that it is relatively quick off the line. During Car and Driver’s testing, a standard Sorento took around 9 seconds to reach 60 mph while the hybrid managed it in 7.9 seconds.
What benefits does the hybrid model offer?
As you’d imagine, the main benefit of choosing the Kia Sorento Hybrid over either of the standard models is the excellent fuel-efficiency stats. For example, the base Sorento consumes an estimated 24 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway for a combined figure of 26 mpg. If you opt for the larger turbocharged engine, your efficiency figures drop slightly. This is because the powerful four-cylinder consumes 22 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway for a combined total of 25 mpg.
This is where the Kia Sorento Hybrid comes in with its massive savings. According to Car and Driver, the eco-friendly model consumes 39 mpg in the city and 35 mpg on the highway for a combined total of 37 mpg. This puts the hybrid model over 10 mpg more efficient on average. As a result, you’ll save big throughout your ownership. This is all in an SUV that remains comparably quick, even with the most powerful powertrain option.
How much more does it cost?
As you’d expect, the Kia Sorento Hybrid does carry a premium over the standard models. The cheapest trim for the eco-friendly model is the S for $33,590. The only second trim available is the EX for $36,590. In contrast, a standard S model starts at $31,980. On the other hand, the standard EX starts at $34,990 and includes the most powerful powertrain available. Additionally, it’s worth considering that the most luxurious trim levels aren’t available as a hybrid.
Despite this, if you are looking for a daily driver SUV, the Kia Sorento Hybrid seems to be the pick of the bunch. Despite the slightly higher cost of entry, the major fuel-efficiency savings you’ll experience on a weekly cannot be ignored.