Kia Sorento Hybrid: This is the one

Riley Riley

2022 Kia Sorento Hybrid GT Line 9

What is it?

Sorento is the largest of Kia’s SUVs and the only large, mainstream SUV to offer three different drivetrains — petrol, diesel and petrol-electric hybrid (as well as plug-in hybrid).

Now in its fourth generation, it comes in four grades, but if you want a hybrid — and who doesn’t these days — the choice is GT-Line or GT-Line.

You can however save yourself a bit of money by getting the front-drive version, instead of all-wheel drive.

Design elements from other models include a new ‘shark fin’ element on its rear C-pillar, and sculpted body surfaces with sharp creases.

2022 Kia Sorento Hybrid GT Line 10

What’s it cost?

Prices for Sorento start from $50,790 driveaway for the base model, petrol-powered front-wheel drive  S.

Comparing apples with apples, GT-Line petrol is $65,990, AWD GT-Line diesel is $68,990 (+$3000), AWD GT-Line Hybrid is $75,543 (+$6553) and the AWD plug-in hybrid GT-Line is $87,349 (+$11,806) — all prices driveaway.

Note however that the petrol model is not available with all-wheel drive.

Any colour apart from Clear White adds $695 to the price.

Highlights includes Nappa quilted leather, two-zone climate air, heated steering wheel, heated, cooled and power-adjust driver and front seats, with heated, slide and recline rear seats.

There’s also key fob parking, auto cruise control, auto high beam, 10.25-inch touchscreen, 12.3-inch digital instrument panel, 8.0-inch head-up display, keyless entry and start, LED headlights, ambient interior lighting, panoramic sunroof and power-operated tailgate.

Designers sought to maintain the tough look of earlier generations, but have refined the design to make it sportier and more refined.

The upmarket cabin introduces sophisticated next-gen design and in GT-Line this is based around twin digital displays.

Focal point of the dashboard is the eye-catching ventilation stack that echoes the shape of TIE fighters from Star Wars.

A large 10.25-inch touchscreen is partnered by a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster with different themes for the various drive modes.

The screen can be split in two for easy access to applications, vehicle information and multimedia content.

Infotainment comes from premium Bose 12-speaker audio, with eight speakers, two tweeters, a centre speaker and subwoofer powered by an external amplifier.

There’s satellite navigation, DAB+ digital radio, AM/FM radio, Bluetooth and wired Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, with wireless phone charging and USB ports for each seat – three in the front console, two behind first row seats, one behind centre console and two in the cargo area.

GT-Line also comes with a colour head-up display that projects driving information on to the lower area of the windscreen.

The system displays alerts from the car’s numerous driver assistance technologies, details of vehicle speed and turn-by-turn navigation instructions.

Rounding out the list is Mood Lighting, with seven ‘core’ colours and a driver to passenger intercom system.

Sorento scores a five-star safety rating, with seven airbags, 360 degree camera and Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) technology that detects pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles.

It also detects oncoming traffic when making a turn at a junction.

Kia’s ‘level two’ autonomous driving technology, Lane Following Assist (LFA), controls acceleration, braking and steering, depending on vehicles in front.

It operates from 0-180km/h, using camera and radar sensors to maintain a safe distance from the car in front, while monitoring road markings to keep the vehicle in the centre of its lane.

There’s also Rear View Monitor (RVM) with Reverse Parking Collision-Avoidance Assist (PCA), and Rear Cross-traffic Collision-avoidance Assist (RCCA).

But, as we have pointed out before, the further back in the car that you are seated, the less protection you’re offered in terms of airbags.

Second row passengers miss out on side airbags, while the third row misses out on both side and curtain airbag protection.

Go figure?

2022 Kia Sorento Hybrid GT Line 2

What’s it go like?

The self-charging hybrid system consists of a 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine with 132kW and 265Nm, together with an electric motor that produces 44kW and 264Nm.

Combined output of both engines (it’s not just a total of both) is 169kW of power and 350Nm of torque.

Mated to a six-speed automatic, the hybrid is available in front and all-wheel drive, with the front-wheel drive model a saving of $3000.

Energy for the electric motor is stored in a high voltage 1kWh lithium-ion polymer battery located under the second row seats.

The electric motor works in ‘parallel’ with the petrol engine to beef up output and provide support as necessary.

It is recharged from energy reclaimed during braking on downhill runs, with a dial that displays when it recharging.

Fuel consumption for the front wheel drive is 5.3L/100km or 5.8L/100km for the all-wheel drive version.

The diesel in case you’re wondering gets 6.1L/100km.

The catch is that the hybrid is available only in top spec GT-Line form with all the bells and whistles

Although the new model is only 10mm longer at 4810mm, the wheelbase has grown by 35mm which means more room inside than before.

It’s also 10mm wider and has 32 per cent more cargo space, with all seven seats deployed.

The boot is largish and hides a full-size alloy spare, with 1996/608/179 litres capacity in two-, five- and seven-seat mode.

As well as the usual Eco, Sport and Smart options, all-terrain mode features dial-up Mud, Snow and Sand settings.

The default is Eco mode, the mode of last resort.

Normally a Kia defaults to Smart (not sure why this is apart from the obvious desire to reduce fuel consumption).

Getting into the car for the first time after driving a smaller, electric SUV, Sorento feels large and unwieldy.

But this feeling soon dissipates, thanks to steering that is light and responsive.

Until now, turbodiesel with its low-end grunt has been the choice for a big bus like this, especially a full one.

But diesel’s days are numbered, as you are probably aware.

While the hybrid does the job, however, it lacks the big kick you get from a diesel or petrol V6 when you punch the accelerator.

Most of the time some spool up is required before the turbo boost kicks in, disguised somewhat by the torque of the electric motor.

Performance is best described as okay but not inspiring.

Under full load the hybrid feels unconvincing, like the small four that it actually is, trying its best to move a big diesel body.

Here it is perhaps timely to mention the tow rating which is a rather underdone 1650kg. 

Then again, the V6 or diesel is only good for 2000kg with brakes.

Sorento is covered by the 7-Year unlimited kilometre warranty, 7-year capped price service and 7-year roadside assist.

2022 Kia Sorento Hybrid GT Line 7

What we like?

  • Classy
  • Spacious
  • Easy to drive
  • Upmarket cabin
  • Rear door bottle holders
  • Lots of technology
  • Easy to use touchscreen
  • Excellent fuel consumption

2022 Kia Sorento Hybrid GT Line 4

What we don’t like?

  • Pricey
  • Annoying lane assist
  • Random electronic hand brake
  • Front door bottle holders too shallow
  • Third row doesn’t get airbag protection

Kia Sorento PHEV GT Line 3

The bottom line?

Kia’s hybrid Sorento is an exceedingly well rounded motor car.

Big, classy and well equipped, with seating for seven, it consumes little fuel and that’s the name of the game these days.

Right now, it feels like the right car for the right time — a perfect partner for a smaller, fully-electric city runaround for the commute to work.

2022 Kia Sorento Hybrid GT Line 6


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Kia Sorento Hybrid AWD GT-Line, priced from $69,750
  • Looks - 8.5/10
  • Performance - 7/10
  • Safety - 7.5/10
  • Thirst - 7.5/10
  • Practicality - 7.5/10
  • Comfort - 7.5/10
  • Tech - 8.5/10
  • Value - 7/10

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