The fate of large SUVs – those over 4.7 meters in length – is now sealed: Diesel is becoming a memory. The issue is not trivial, because it was only thanks to that type of engine that “beasts” with seven seats and at least two tons, had acceptable consumption. But in the future there is less and less diesel and therefore the alternative is the hybrid, which can be of different types. The choice made by Kia is rather democratic, given that with the arrival of the plug-in version, the Sorento hybrids in the range become two. The full hybrid engine, in fact, had already debuted a few months ago and now it’s time for the one on tap, which costs 8,500 euros more but also a greater number of arrows in its bow. Furthermore, the doubling of Kia’s electrified offer on its top-of-the-range SUV is part of the transformation process undertaken by the Korean brand that wants to evolve from the role of traditional manufacturer to supplier of new sustainable mobility solutions.
More concretely, by 2030 Kia intends to sell 1.6 million electrified vehicles every year, which will have to represent 40% of its total sales. And it is worth underlining that mild hybrids are not included in this calculation, which have only the premises of electrification. Moving from theory to practice, under the hood of the Sorento there is a hybrid powertrain consisting of a 1.6 turbofan (180 HP and 265 Nm) and an electric motor (66.9 KW and 304 Nm) which is powered by a battery pack. 13.8 kWh lithium-ion battery. The combined power is 265 hp and 350 Nm, with a range in electric mode – measured according to the WLTP cycle – of 57 km which becomes 70 in the city. All this in the face of homologated emissions of 38 g / km of CO2. As for consumption, the official data of this Sorento – as well as those of all the other PHEVs – must be taken with a grain of salt, because the homologation tests are done with the battery charged to 100%.
The 1.6 l / 100 km, therefore, can only be replicated starting with full accumulators and can be maintained until they run out. With an empty battery it takes commitment to keep above 10 km with a liter, but the feat is possible and the 6-speed automatic transmission with torque converter can help, even if another couple of gears would have been convenient to lower the speeds at constant speed. The traction is integral, with a classic transmission shaft that brings the motion to the rear wheels. It is also worth underlining that the internal space is exactly the same as the full hybrid version, thanks to the integration of the accumulators already foreseen in the design stage; what changes are the 135 kg more due to the batteries. Taking advantage of five of the seven seats, there are between 604 liters and 809 liters available (the bench is sliding), while also using the third row of seats it drops to 175 liters. The driver has access to 12.3-inch digital instrumentation and another touch display for the 10.25-inch infotainment system.
A little further down are the climate controls, while in the central tunnel the gearbox rotor is followed by the smaller one of the driving modes. In general, the quality of assemblies and materials is high, as is the very complete standard equipment. Too bad for the dashboard design, where the beautiful and clean horizontal lines are interrupted by the air vents that seem to come straight from the seventies. The very complete suite of driving assistance systems helps to forget this stylistic stumbling block and it is very useful to view the rear-view side view image that appears when the arrow is turned on. Behind the wheel, the Sorento hides its bulk well and, if urged, it can also be very brilliant – despite the 21 quintals the 0-100 km / h is completed in 8.7 seconds – although its nature remains that of a great runner throughout. the family. Finally, speaking of prices, the whole range benefits from eco-incentives and the usual 7 years or 150,000 km of Kia warranty.
Kia Sorento Plug-in Hybrid, the board
What it is: The fourth generation of the large Korean SUV, which in Italy is only available with hybrid engines
Dimensions: length 4.81 meters, width 1.90 m, height 1.70 m, pitch 2.81 m
Luggage compartment: 898 liters
Engine: Plug-in hybrid powertrain, 1.6 4-cylinder 180hp turbo petrol engine, 120hp permanent magnet synchronous electric motor
Gearbox: 6-speed automatic with torque converter
Advantages: comfort, technology, space on board, guarantee
Defects: consumption, vents and dashboard design
Production: Hwasung, South Korea
Prices: The list of the Kia Sorento Plug-In Hybrid starts at 53,000 euros.