SIMI VALLEY, Calif. – In case you drive a automobile and prefer it, however nobody can really purchase one, does it really exist? That’s the dilemma confronted with the 2022 Kia Sorento Plug-In Hybrid, a properly packaged midsize SUV with an outstanding electrified powertrain that appears to be much less attainable than a Ferrari. Even Kia’s all-electric EV6, which is briefly provide and topic to dealer markups, is in comparative abundance to the Sorento PHEV. Whereas there have been 68 EV6s proven on the market within the Higher Los Angeles space on the day this was written, there have been solely 25 Sorento PHEVs in your entire nation. And that’s simply in accordance with new car listings on Autotrader – Kia’s official stock reveals zero.
Most of this has to do with parts shortages, particularly for batteries, nevertheless it additionally speaks to how in demand the mixture of crossover SUV and plug-in hybrids are. It’s for a very good purpose, too: it makes a ton of sense. The overwhelming majority of miles for household haulers just like the Sorento are going to be brief, grocery-getting ventures or choosing the youngsters up from faculty. The Sorento’s estimated 32 miles of electrical vary needs to be greater than able to overlaying that. Certainly, I had no drawback matching that vary determine throughout our time grocery getting and choosing the child up from faculty. Simply plug it in for 3 hours and 45 minutes at night time utilizing a 240-volt outlet (or longer with a traditional plug), recoup that electrical vary, and off you go once more operating on electrical energy (largely, however extra on that in a second).
Then, for these once-in-a-blue-moon eventualities folks additionally purchase huge household SUVs – road trips and different lengthy journeys – the Sorento PHEV behaves like a traditional hybrid, utilizing a mix of gasoline engine and electrical motor to go so long as you and the gasoline tank can. No vary nervousness, no want to plug in, and subsequently no want to sit down at an Electrify America station for 40 minutes as you’d with an EV6 in want of a recharge. Plus, in contrast to plug-in hybrid sedans like our long-term Volvo S60 T8 and BMW 330e, SUVs just like the Sorento Plug-In Hybrid don’t lose a considerable quantity of cargo capability, if any. The spare tire is changed by a can of goo and a few prayers, however the Sorento PHEV would’ve carried out simply as nicely in a baggage take a look at as its gas-only sibling did.
Past the advantages inherent to any PHEV SUV, the Sorento impresses with its distinctive sort of plug-in hybrid powertrain. Just like the not-quite-as-unobtainable Sorento Hybrid, the PHEV encompasses a 1.6-liter turbocharged inline-four and standard six-speed automated. This distinctive combo ends in a easy, torque-rich and just-plain-normal energy supply full with gear modifications and subsequently with out the type of gear-less droning and raspy engine observe of a few of Toyota’s well-known powertrains (a mix of naturally aspirated inline-four and CVT-like motor/transmission unit). The PHEV provides a much bigger, 66.9-kilowatt electrical motor than the HEV’s 44-kilowatt motor, plus the exponentially bigger, pluginable 13.8 kilowatt-hour battery pack.
Now, though using an automated transmission makes the Sorento PHEV really feel much more regular than a RAV4 Prime and different plug-in hybrids just like the dearly departed Chevy Volt, it’s a little bit of a visit for these used to driving EVs. Principally, it’s bizarre to expertise an electrical motor being shifted by way of an automated transmission – versus the one-speed transmissions present in practically each EV or the shiftless expertise of the Prime, Volt, and so on. The S60 T8 and 330e are comparable on this regard.
And right here’s an essential level to be made: the Sorento PHEV will kick on the engine even in full electrical mode do you have to want max acceleration or end up on an prolonged grade. It’ll additionally preserve the engine at a continuing idle after start-up ought to it is advisable warmth up or settle down the cabin. On this occasion, you may speed up, decelerate and speed up once more whereas the tach stays resolutely glued at precisely 1.1 rpm x 1,000. Bizarre. In fact, hybrids just like the Volt and numerous Hondas can also do that, however nonetheless, benignly bizarre.
The remainder of this midsize SUV is completely regular, which might be another excuse why it’s so interesting. It can save you lots of gasoline, reduce your carbon footprint and nonetheless get that SUV you need/want. And as we’ve documented earlier than, the Sorento is a midsize SUV that meets these wants with out going overboard with extreme dimension. It’s principally a two-row mannequin with a bonus third row for uncommon events or putting in your eldest-of-three’s booster seat. Greater youngsters shall be awfully sad with you and a full load of individuals will basically have to go without their stuff, so if that’s an issue, your subsequent greatest plug-in choice is a Chrysler Pacifica.
Inside, the Sorento hybrids differ with a rotary, monostable-type shifter that’s simple sufficient to make use of, however then so is the gas-only fashions’ PRND stick. The sprint and door trim are metal-look with a geometrical 3D sample embossed. The PHEV then will get its personal instrument graphics and the $400 choice of the blue seats and grey inside trim combo you see right here. It was technically solely obtainable on the SX Status trim for 2022, however as that’s the only trim available for 2023, it’s a moot level.
Now, when the 2022 mannequin 12 months started, pricing began at $47,340, together with vacation spot. You could possibly additionally get a federal tax credit score. Because of the Inflation Discount Act, although, that credit score disappeared as a result of Sorento PHEV’s South Korea ultimate meeting (non-hybrid Sorentos are inbuilt Georgia). That’ll nonetheless be the case for 2023 unless Kia changes something. The value on the whole can even be going up as a result of larger base trim, provide, demand and a jacked up vacation spot cost: $51,185. Oh, and sellers will inevitably add markups, however good luck discovering out what they’re with out calling, or worse, approaching all the way down to have a chat in particular person. Which is strictly how commerce works within the 12 months 2022, proper?
So yeah, the Kia Sorento Plug-in Hybrid is a bittersweet new vehicle. It’s so superb, but getting one appears so daunting, it nearly seems like I’m reviewing a Citroen or Skoda. It’s not fairly forbidden fruit, nevertheless it’s rising nicely out of arms attain.