2022 Sorento HEV

The transition from internal combustion engines (ICE) to electric vehicles (EV) is happening right before our eyes. Some automotive manufacturers are moving faster in this transition than others. Others are taking a more conservative approach. I believe this is the smarter play. So it’s wise for a company like Kia to slowly move from ICE to EV and in doing so this means introducing more hybrids and more plug-in hybrids. Hybrids are the middle ground between these two technologies.

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My tester this week shows that not all hybrids have to be poky and can in fact be peppy. New for the 2022 Kia Sorento Hybrid is the addition of a plug-in hybrid version. My tester was the standard hybrid (think Toyota Prius, but with power). There’s an electric motor assist plus a turbocharged engine.

This coming together of automotive engineering is rather common now and in the 2022 Sorento it shows why the consumer comes out ahead and also why today’s American car shopper should reconsider hybrids.

The 1.6-liter turbocharged engine with the aforementioned electric motor assist makes 227 horsepower. That feels average on paper but this three-row hybrid SUV is surprisingly spry off the line and highway speeds. And rejoice in the fact that Kia doesn’t stick it with a continuously variable transmission (CVT) but instead opts for a six-speed automatic. Sure a six-speed is somewhat outdated in today’s transmission technology, but it’s so cliché to put a CVT with a hybrid. (Loyal readers will remember my disdain for CVTs).

2022 Sorento HEV

It was of note as well that my tester had front-wheel drive (which is standard). All-wheel drive (AWD) is available and loyal readers will also remember my love for AWD in SUVs. But in the Sorento Hybrid it wasn’t missed and I didn’t even really notice the difference.

Overall styling for the entire Kia lineup is impressive. Every Kia vehicle has distinction and an attractive fit and finish. The Sorento Hybrid continues that trend with an exterior that still remains modern but also stands out from a crowded field of competitors.

A notched style on the front bumper, just below the conservative-looking grille adds an interest design element to the front end. The profile is rather mild and lacks distinction, except for the near the back window (known as the C-Pillar) where the slope and styling really livens the otherwise conservative profile. A rear spoiler further adds to the styling and jazzes up the back end of this SUV, which is necessary as the interesting styling on the front is washed out on the back end. Other than the bland back end, the Sorento Hybrid is an attractive SUV.

2022 Sorento HEV

Inside is where Kia really separates itself. Challenging the likes of Toyota and Honda, the interior of the Sorento (and most other Kia vehicles for that matter) is high quality. For example the seats are leather and plush. The six-passenger capability of the Sorento hybrid means they’re not trying to cram another person into the second or third row, which is good. As such, the legroom and shoulder room in the second row are fantastic. Even with only two passengers in the third row, it is best suited to make those passengers short people or children as average-sized adults will want more room in that third row.

Behind that third row there’s only 12.6 cubic feet of cargo room, which sub-par for the segment. With the third row folded flat, that cargo area expands to 38.5 cubic feet. With all rear seats folded, the total cargo area is 75.5 cubic feet, offering some cargo redemption.

For 2022, the Sorento Hybrid gets a larger standard touchscreen. The 10-25-inch touchscreen is responsive and well designed. Kia’s overall infotainment is intuitive and one of the top-tier systems in the industry. The UVO system is compatible with Apple and Android devices and there are USB charging ports for all passengers, including the third row.

2022 Sorento HEV

My tester was the EV trim with a standard price of $35,990. With a beautiful Runway Red paint color and carpeted floor mats, plus a destination charge, the final MSRP of my tester was $37,820.

As a hybrid, fuel economy is the focus. And as such, the Sorento Hybrid delivers impressive fuel economy with an EPA rating of 39 mpg/city and 35 mpg/highway. In a week’s worth of mostly suburban driving I averaged nearly 37 mpg and still found the Sorento Hybrid to be peppier than a Prius and it drove like gas vehicle.

2022 Sorento HEV

Therein lies the charm of the Sorento Hybrid and other hybrids like it on the road. Forget any pre-conceived notions you may have had about hybrids and plug-in hybrids. Today’s hybrid vehicle technology doesn’t mean slow and sluggish. As is the case with the 2022 Kia Sorento Hybrid, it means fuel efficient, but also still reasonably enjoyable to drive.

Originally published on theweekenddrive.com, part of the TownNews Content Exchange.

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