The 2021 Kia Sorento Hybrid Makes a Compelling Case for Itself

The 2021 Kia Sorento Hybrid isn’t here so that you can make a big fuss over it. While it might be the first electrically assisted version of the Kia Sorento, this three-row hybrid SUV has more to offer than a fuel-sipping powertrain. Don’t just take our word for it, though. According to Car and Driver, while the 2021 Kia Sorento Hybrid doesn’t really make a big deal of itself, it is rather compelling.

A parked 2021 Kia Sorento Hybrid
2021 Kia Sorento Hybrid | Kia

The 2021 Kia Sorento Hybrid

At the heart and soul of the 2021 Kia Sorento Hybrid is a 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that comes teamed with a 44-kilowatt electric motor and a six-speed automatic transmission. It’s able to churn out an impressive 227-hp and 258 pound-feet of torque. This year’s model also comes standard with front-wheel drive. Unfortunately, all-wheel drive isn’t an option at this point.

As for its interior? This hybrid doesn’t make any compromises. This year’s Sorento Hybrid boasts second-row captain’s chairs and an easily accessible third-row of seating. It also comes standard with tech-savvy features, including an eight-inch touch screen display featuring Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. It can also be had with up to eight USB charging ports, which is pretty convenient if you ask me.

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You can compare this hybrid to a Volkswagen GTI

But what do the critics have to say about the 2021 Kia Sorento Hybrid? Well, when it comes to Car and Driver, they couldn’t help but compare it to the Volkswagen GTI. Surprising, right? But the comparison isn’t all that far fetched. Car and Driver reports that the Sorento Hybrid’s combined output comes pretty close to matching that of the 2020 Volkswagen GTI’s. Much like the GTI, Car and Driver says that the 2021 Sorento Hybrid “torments its front tires with torque.” 

The main difference between these two vehicles? The 2021 Kia Sorento Hybrid is a hybrid SUV that boasts three rows of seating. But all in all? According to Car and Driver, this year’s new Kia Sorento Hybrid is “actually kind of fun.”

2021 Kia Sorento Hybrid driving around a bend
2021 Kia Sorento Hybrid | Kia

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Driving the 2021 Kia Sorento Hybrid

Fortunately for the 2021 Kia Sorento Hybrid, driving it is pretty enjoyable too. According to Car and Driver, this hybrid SUV produces plenty of torque off the line and cruises along at highway speeds. Based on its specs, the Sorento Hybrid’s 1.6-liter engine makes 177.2-hp and 195.4 pound-feet of torque from 1500 to 4500 rpm. Meanwhile, its electric motor delivers  60.1-hp and 194.7 pound-feet from zero up to 1600 revs. Overall, Car and Driver reports that such numbers give the 2021 Sorento Hybrid a “low-end grunt” that feels “diesel-like in strength.”

Of course, Car and Driver isn’t the only one to have gotten its hands on the 2021 Kia Sorento Hybrid. CNET also had the opportunity to take this hybrid SUV out for a spin. According to CNET, this year’s model offers “plenty of get-up-and-go.” CNET found that it was pretty fuel-efficient, too, delivering a combined 34.3 mpg, which isn’t too far off EPA estimates for this year’s model. 

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Car and Driver pointed out these drawbacks

While the Sorento Hybrid does make a pretty compelling case for itself, there are some drawbacks to be had with this hybrid SUV. It’s only available with front-wheel drive, which can be a deal-breaker for some car shoppers. It also can’t tow very much. But, if you don’t plan on actually using it for towing, then its max tow capacity of 2,000-pounds may not matter all that much to you. 

CNET pointed out there’s a slight learning curve to the Sorento Hybrid’s brakes too. CNET reported, “Sometimes they’re smooth and linear. Sometimes they’re super grabby as they capture regenerative energy and send it back into the 1.5-kWh battery. Not a total deal-breaker, but not great, either.”

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Should you buy the 2021 Kia Sorento Hybrid?

All in all, the 2021 Kia Sorento Hybrid has a lot going for it. It’s fuel-efficient, enjoyable to drive, and comes stocked with tech features. If you find yourself wondering whether or not the new Sorento Hybrid would be a good fit for you, we recommend taking this compelling hybrid out for a spin.