2021 Kia Sorento Hybrid

MSRP $33,590.00

“It’s not even a close comparison — the Sorento Hybrid is one of the best midsize SUVs.”


  • Tons of tech
  • Classy design
  • Compact automobile MPG
  • Roomy first and second rows
  • Doesn’t really feel gradual


  • Tight third row
  • 2022 mannequin has extra options

The three-row, midsize SUV phase is one which automakers have been gradual to affect. It is smart — these hulking SUVs are inclined to have boxy designs that aren’t environment friendly to start with. Finding a method to enhance gasoline economic system with out sacrificing all that area is asking quite a bit — that could be why there are just a few choices to select from.

With the all-new 2021 Sorento Hybrid, Kia discovered a solution to make it work. The Sorento title has been round since 2002, however that is the primary time you’ll discover a hybrid powertrain within the SUV. This powertrain not solely helps the Sorento carve out its personal place in Kia’s lineup, but in addition within the general phase. If you’re searching for a midsize SUV with a hybrid engine, you’ll wish to head straight to a Kia dealership to take a look at the Sorento Hybrid earlier than anything.

The entry-level S trim begins at $34,760, together with the $1,170 vacation spot charge. The EX trim, which is the one we examined, begins at $37,760. Our tester was completed in Runaway Red Paint that prices $445, bringing the worth tag of our tester as much as $38,205.

Design and inside

The final Sorento had a frumpy design — not precisely hideous, however ungainly from some angles. In that regard, the brand new Sorento Hybrid is a large enchancment. It doesn’t have the identical highway presence because the bigger Telluride, but it surely nonetheless has its personal kind of American swagger. Not many midsize SUVs, and even fewer hybrids, look cool, but that’s precisely what the Sorento Hybrid manages to do.

Front end close up of the 2021 Kia Sorento Hybrid in a grassy field. Joel Patel/Digital Trends

Kia’s tiger-nose grille offers the Sorento Hybrid a familial design in comparison with the automaker’s different SUVs, just like the Niro, Seltos, and Telluride. Compared to the common Sorento, the Sorento Hybrid doesn’t look drastically totally different. That’s a great factor from our perspective. The solely noticeable distinction between the 2 is the shinier trim items on the hybrid.

Not many midsize SUVs, and even fewer hybrids, look cool, but that’s precisely what the Sorento Hybrid manages to do.

The Sorento Hybrid’s inside design is simply as good-looking as its exterior with a classy look that feels each bit as upscale as the outside. The method the middle console rests in the midst of vertically-oriented vents and the toggle switches for the HVAC temperature controls and heated seats make the cabin really feel just like the cockpit of a aircraft — that’s additionally absolutely purposeful. The main downside is the dial-operated transmission shifter that looks like a great factor on paper however not in the true world.

One of the Sorento Hybrid’s predominant advantages over different hybrids is that it provides seating for as much as seven. The mixture of a hybrid powertrain and seating for your complete household is one thing just a few midsize SUVs can declare. Thanks to intelligent packaging, the Sorento Hybrid provides the identical quantity of cargo area because the Sorento. Unfortunately, it’s not as spacious as its rivals. Behind the third row, there may be 12.6 cubic toes of cargo area. Folding the rear seats down leads to 45 cubic toes of cargo area, whereas probably the most the Sorento Hybrid can maintain is as much as 75.5 cubic toes of cargo.

Tech, infotainment, and driver help

The largest demerit going through the Sorento Hybrid is its infotainment system. Kia doesn’t match the Sorento Hybrid with the identical obtainable 10.25-inch touchscreen on the common mannequin. Instead, you get a normal 8-inch unit throughout the lineup. It’s not a nasty touchscreen, however seeing the additional actual property obtainable in a daily Sorento results in envy. It’s like your neighbor’s yard after which coming to the belief that yours doesn’t fairly add up. For affected person individuals, Kia has made issues equal for 2022.

It’s not the fanciest listing of options, however there’s one thing comforting a couple of automobile that comes with easy-to-use tech.

Close up of the infotainment system in the 2021 Kia Sorento Hybrid with fuel economy. Joel Patel/Digital Trends

The measurement of the touchscreen might not impress, however its options will. The EX trim we examined got here with wi-fi Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, satellite tv for pc radio, a 4.2-inch show within the instrument cluster, eight USB ports, a wi-fi charging pad, and 6 audio audio system. It’s not probably the most illustrious listing of options, however there’s one thing to be stated about having a automobile that doesn’t suffocate you with know-how.

The touchscreen’s graphics aren’t as crisp or as colourful as those discovered on the bigger 10.25-inch touchscreen, however they’re nonetheless actually good. It’s additionally good to get to make use of buttons and dials which can be positioned logically. Someone may get into this automobile and get comfy with it in a matter of 10 minutes — that isn’t the case with many new autos.

Kia packs the Sorento Hybrid with its Drive Wise suite of superior security options. The suite consists of forward-collision warning, computerized emergency braking, lane departure warning, lane-keeping help, blind-spot monitoring, site visitors signal recognition, pedestrian detection, rear cross-traffic alert, automobile exit warning, and rear parking sensors. The EX trim provides adaptive cruise management, bicycle owner detection, intersection help, and entrance parking sensors.

Driving expertise

Power for the Sorento Hybrid comes from a turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine that’s paired with one electrical motor and a 1.5-kWh lithium-ion battery pack. Combined output is rated at 227 horsepower, whereas a conventional six-speed computerized transmission handles shifts. It’s a change from the norm, as nearly all of different hybrids make the most of a constantly variable computerized transmission (CVT). If there’s a draw back with the Sorento Hybrid’s powertrain, it’s that front-wheel drive is the one obtainable configuration.

Compared to rivals from Ford and Toyota, the Sorento Hybrid is down on energy. The Ford Explorer Hybrid encompasses a 3.3-liter V6 engine and an electrical motor for a mixed 318 horsepower. Toyota’s Highlander Hybrid, as compared, comes with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder and two electrical motors that produce 243 horsepower. Against that crowd, the Sorento Hybrid sounds prefer it may use some further punch, however the SUV feels loads highly effective. There’s slightly lag off the road, but it surely’s nonetheless peppy, solely being a couple of second off of the common Sorento’s obtainable turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine in a dash to 60 mph. Passing on the freeway, which is normally a check of persistence in a hybrid, is uneventful.

The six-speed computerized transmission is smoother than choices with a CVT, just like the Highlander, but it surely’s not precisely trouble-free. In our week with the SUV, we discovered that it stuttered a number of instances when switching between reverse and drive. Downshifts will be gradual when making an attempt to hurry them through the use of the shift paddles on the steering wheel, however that’s to be anticipated with a powertrain that places gasoline economic system first.

Out of the few hybrid midsize SUVs available on the market, the Sorento Hybrid is probably the most environment friendly one of many bunch.

Side profile of the 2021 Kia Sorento Hybrid from the passenger side in a grassy field. Joel Patel/Digital Trends

While Kia’s drive modes normally end in a noticeable change, the Sorento Hybrid’s Comfort, Smart, and Sport modes don’t make any radical adjustments to the best way the SUV performs. So, preserving it in Eco mode for almost all of the time makes loads of sense. Additionally, Kia’s Eco mode doesn’t nuke the responsiveness of the throttle pedal, making it really feel extra like a standard drive mode. Eco mode additionally matches the Sorento Hybrid’s compliant journey and light-weight steering for a relaxed driving expertise.

Gas mileage and security

Out of the few three-row midsize SUVs available on the market with a hybrid powertrain, the Sorento Hybrid is probably the most environment friendly one of many bunch. The hybrid is rated to rise up to 37 mpg mixed (39 mpg metropolis, 35 mpg freeway). The greatest the Toyota Highlander Hybrid can get is 36 mpg mixed, whereas the Ford Explorer Hybrid has a paltry 28 mpg mixed ranking. The Sorento Hybrid is so environment friendly, it almost matches smaller hybrids just like the Honda CR-V Hybrid and Hyundai Tucson Hybrid Blue which have 38 mpg mixed scores.

Engine compartment of the 2021 Kia Sorento Hybrid.Joel Patel/Digital Trends

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has not crash-tested the 2021 Sorento Hybrid but. Though, the common Sorento acquired a “Top Safety Pick” ranking after incomes “Good” scores in all six crash assessments — a rating of “Superior” for its entrance crash prevention know-how and having headlights starting from “Poor” to “Good.” In the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) testing, the 2021 Sorento Hybrid earned a four-star general security ranking.

Kia backs the Sorento Hybrid with a five-year, 60,000-mile fundamental guarantee and a 10-year, 100,000-mile powertrain guarantee. The guarantee beats those that Toyota and Ford provide, which features a three-year, 36,000-mile fundamental guarantee and a five-year, 60,000-mile powertrain guarantee.

How DT would configure this automobile

Skip the $3,000 EX trim, which doesn’t justify its price ticket. The normal Sorento Hybrid comes with an intensive listing of security options, dual-zone local weather management, six audio audio system, wi-fi smartphone compatibility, artificial leather-based upholstery, heated entrance seats, and an 8-inch touchscreen, making it well-equipped for many drivers.

Our take

Class-leading gasoline economic system is only one high quality that makes the Sorento Hybrid a powerful automobile. It additionally comes with nifty tech options, a comparatively spacious cargo space, a peppy powertrain, and a prolonged guarantee. You can’t miss the Sorento Hybrid’s beautiful design, both. It’s not even an in depth comparability — the Sorento Hybrid is likely one of the greatest midsize SUVs on sale.

The Toyota Highlander Hybrid is accessible with a bigger 12.3-inch touchscreen, although its graphics and menu format look dated, it might probably rise up to 36 mpg mixed, it has as much as 84.3 cubic toes of cargo area, it has a 243-horsepower, and it might probably tow as much as 3,500 kilos. The Highlander Hybrid isn’t as fashionable because the Sorento Hybrid, however it’s obtainable with all-wheel drive.

If gasoline economic system is what you’re after, the Ford Explorer Hybrid in all probability received’t match the invoice. It’s rated at as much as 28 mpg mixed, which is effectively behind the Sorento Hybrid’s determine. On the flip aspect, its powertrain produces as much as 318 horsepower, effectively above the Sorento Hybrid. The Explorer Hybrid may tow probably the most cargo with a ranking of as much as 5,000 kilos. When it involves cargo area, the Explorer Hybrid has probably the most area with as much as 87.8 cubic toes of cargo area. Ford provides the Explorer Hybrid with rear and all-wheel drive.

Should you get one?

Yes. The 2022 mannequin provides extra tech and obtainable all-wheel drive, however the 2021 mannequin remains to be price shopping for.

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