I typically saw around 30 miles of electric driving before the Sorento’s gas engine kicked on, but its hybrid efficiency was less impressive, typically clocking in around 32MPG. The RAV4 Prime gets around the same electric range, but it can reach up to 40MPG in hybrid mode. As with any PHEV, your efficiency with the Sorento is dependent on how often you plug it in to charge. It typically took around 12 hours to juice up completely on a standard 110-volt outlet. If you’ve got access to a Level 2 charger, you can top it off in around 2.5 hours.
Given the complexity involved with installing a Level 2 setup — that involves running a 220-volt outlet to your garage and installing a charger — many EV-curious shoppers may be better off with a PHEV like the Sorento. There’s no need to install any additional outlets, plus you don’t have to worry about EV range anxiety since PHEVs will automatically flip over to their gas engines when they’re out of electricity. That also makes them better suited for family road trips, since you won’t have to spend time hunting down EV chargers and waiting to get juiced up.
I didn’t have much to complain about with the Sorento’s entertainment system. The 10.3-inch central display was bright, responsive and made it easy to deal with Apple CarPlay. I appreciated that it was a wide screen, since it didn’t cut into my view of the road and it didn’t prevent Kia from including buttons for climate control right below it. While large and tall screens might look more impressive at first, as we’ve seen on Teslas and the Prius Prime, I find them much more annoying to use while driving. I’ll always prefer physical buttons combined with an unobtrusive screen. Below the dash there’s a circular dial for changing gears (which feels as elegant as it does on cars twice as expensive), another dial to manage driving modes, and more buttons to turn on the heated steering wheel, parking camera view and other features.
I’ll give Kia credit for delivering an incredible level of comfort in a relatively affordable mid-size SUV. The Sorento’s leather seats were perfectly plush, and I appreciated having both heating and ventilation options. The two second-row captains chairs were less comfy, but still better than I’ve felt on some competitors. It was a bit tough for me to secure my daughter’s large car seat, but once I did (thanks to a bit of extra cushioning from a pool noodle), it was easy for me to lift her up and bring her down. And while the third-row seats were far too cramped for me to fit comfortably, they’re fine for kids. Most mid-size SUVs have cramped back rows, which is why minivans are still the better choice if you’re regularly carting around adults.
There’s also a decent dose of safety features, including forward collision warning with pedestrian and cyclist protection, blind-spot monitoring and a 360-degree camera. I particularly appreciated the camera views whenever I hit the left or right indicators, which allowed me to see right beside the Sorento for any cars or cyclists in my blind spot. If you’re a nervous driver, it may be worth looking into the Sorento for those cameras alone.
The 2022 Sorento PHEV starts at $46,405, around $6,800 more than the AWD Sorento Hybrid EX model. Since it’s a plug-in hybrid, you can get a hefty $6,587 tax credit, which puts them on a slightly more level playing field. (You’ll still have to wait for your next tax filing before you can see that credit, though.) The Sorento has always been a budget-focused car — the gas-powered 2022 model starts around $30,000 — so the PHEV model feels particularly out of place as it nears $50,000.
Much like video cards, these prices are also purely theoretical. The global chip crunch, along with manufacturing delays and other issues, have pushed new and used car prices up considerably. So while you may see advertised figures close to MSRP, don’t be surprised if dealers end up tacking on extra fees once you’re ready to negotiate. (During my recent quest to buy a new Toyota Sienna, local dealers regularly added around $8,000 in “market adjustment” fees. I gave up and instead bought a used 2018 Chrysler Pacifica hybrid with a slight markup from Carvana.)
There’s a lot to love about the Sorento PHEV, it’s just unfortunate it’s debuting as Kia’s Telluride is winning over reviewers and consumers alike. Still, it’s notable it exists at all, as there aren’t many plug-in hybrids with three rows of seats. It’s perfectly positioned as an upgrade from compact SUVs and sedans, especially for families that want to dabble with electric driving and rely less on gas. Personally, though, I can’t wait for Kia to take what it learned here and bring it over to the Telluride (which ).
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