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Kia Sorento Hybrid review

Plug-in hybrid Sorento is large and well equipped but the high price might put some people off.

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wowscore
8/10
This score is awarded by our team of
expert reviewers
This score is awarded by our team of
This score is awarded by our team of

What's good

  • Huge space for seven people
  • Huge amount of standard equipment
  • Seats are simple to fold

What's not so good

  • Some may baulk at price
  • No two-wheel-drive option
  • Engine can be a bit noisy

Kia Sorento Hybrid: what would you like to read next?

Is the Kia Sorento Hybrid a good car?

The Kia Sorento is the ideal SUV for when you’re all at sixes and sevens. That’s because you needn’t worry if you need to carry six passengers, making at total of seven in the car, because the Sorento is well up to the task, and this plug-in hybrid model means you won’t even be spending too much while you do so.

Also on your shortlist will be cars such as the Skoda Kodiaq and Peugeot 5008, however with Kia pitching the starting price of the Sorento PHEV at nearly £45,000 you might also be looking at the Land Rover Discovery Sport or Mercedes GLB.

However, neither of these can match the sheer volume of interior space offered by the Sorento. It’s huge.

It also still looks like a rough, tough SUV, just a bit sharper. The grille has a new shape and comes with integrated LED headlights.

At the rear, there are vertical rear lights and the Sorento nameplate is now across the bottom of the bootlid.

Fabulously spacious for seven people, and should be cheap to run if used properly.

Mat Watson
Mat Watson
carwow expert

Step inside and you’ll find an equally stylish interior. All around there are lots of nice, soft-touch materials and chrome-looking trims. The seats are comfortable and there’s a decent amount of adjustment for the driver’s seat and steering wheel. It’s just a shame lumbar adjustment, useful for staying comfortable on long journeys, isn’t standard on the entry-level car.

Still, every car gets a large digital driver’s display and a touchscreen infotainment system. It’s not quite as slick as the system you get in a Mercedes GLB and entry-level cars miss out on the largest screen and sat-nav, but at least Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are standard across the range, so you can use your phone’s navigation apps instead. Speaking of phones – there are USB ports next to every seat, so everyone should be able to charge their phone or hook up their tablet.

But the Kia Sorento’s party trick is its seats. The new car is longer and wider than the car it replaces and that has translated into extra space for the interior.

Three adults should be comfortable across all three seats in the middle row. They aren’t separate like you get in a Peugeot 5008 but they can move backwards and forwards and recline.

Adults in seats six and seven will be reasonably comfortable too. Sure, it’s not quite as roomy and as flexible as the middle row, but tall folk will be happier here than they would in a Land Rover Discovery Sport. Unlike in the old Sorento, you can get into the back seats from both sides of the car.

Folding the seats down is simple and when you do, you get a huge, flat boot – 1,988 litres in all – although a Skoda Kodiaq’s is bigger again. With all seven seats in place, the boot is pretty small and annoyingly the luggage cover can’t be stowed away under the boot floor but on top of it.

In this plug-in hybrid model, a turbocharged 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine and electric motor generate 261hp and 350Nm of torque, so the Sorento PHEV is actually pretty nippy. It’ll cover the 0-60mph sprint in 8.4 seconds and go on to a top speed of 119mph.

Better still, CO2 emissions are as low as 38g/km and it can cover around 35 miles on electric power alone, which is ideal if you have a daily commute that comprises a nose-to-tail trundle through the city. However, remember that you need to charge it up as often as possible for maximum efficiency.

The PHEV feels good to drive around town. The electric motor provides a punchy spurt of pace and is largely silent, which gives the Sorento PHEV a relaxing feel. When the battery becomes depleted and the engine kicks in, it does sound a bit noisy when you rev it hard.

On a twisty road, the Sorento does what you’d want it to do, which is mainly not swaying about too much and making your passengers car sick. You won’t be setting lap times in the Sorento, but then why would you in a seven-seat SUV?

You might baulk at parting with the best part of £45k for a Kia Sorento, but if you use seven seats regularly and will make the most of the plug-in hybrid drivetrain, it really is one of the best of its kind. And you should be able get the price down, without haggling, when you buy through carwow.

Check out our latest Kia Sorento deals.

How practical is it?

Feels pretty well built and is as roomy as a cavern, but rear seat only splits 60:40.

Boot (seats up)
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Boot (seats down)
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The Sorento is long and wide, which means there’s loads of space inside.

The good news is that three adults should be comfortable in the middle row. Moreover, the middle row can be slid back or forward, to allow you to vary legroom and boot space as needed. Comfort is enhanced by the ability to recline the middle-row backrests slightly, too.

Adults will be fairly at ease in the two rearmost seats, too. Obviously, there isn’t quite the space offered by the middle row, but it’s still pretty good. Unlike in the old Sorento, you can get into the back seats from both sides of the car.

Folding the seats down is simple and when you do, you get a huge, flat boot – 1,988 litres in all – although a Skoda Kodiaq’s is bigger again. With all seven seats in place, the boot is pretty small and annoyingly the luggage cover can’t be stowed away under the boot floor but on top of it.

There’s plenty of space around the Kia Sorento PHEV’s cabin for odds and ends.

For example, the door pockets are big enough to take a large bottle of water, plus the usual array of sweets, coins, parking tickets etc.

Ahead of the gearlever lies a neat little shelf into which you place a mobile phone, change, a wallet and keys, but make sure you put the phone on the bottom and you’ll make use of the charging pad sited there.

The hybrid system’s batteries may lie beneath the floor but there’s almost no impact on the luggage-carrying ability of the Kia Sorento Plug-in Hybrid.

With all five rear seats lowered there’s a decent 1,988 litres of space on offer, and with the middle-row seats raised you get a maximum of 604 litres, which is decent. Even if all seven seats are in use, there’s a small space behind the rearmost pair of seats for a couple of carry-on cases or squashy bags. It’s annoying that there’s nowhere to stash the parcel shelf, however.

What's it like to drive?

The numbers will certainly stack up as long as you charge it up as often as possible. But then again, there’s that list price.

This plug-in hybrid model features a turbocharged 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine and electric motor that combine to generate 261hp and 350Nm of torque, so the Sorento PHEV is actually pretty nippy. It’ll do the 0-60mph dash in 8.4 seconds and go on to a top speed of 119mph.

Better still, CO2 emissions are as low as 38g/km and it can cover around 35 miles on electric power, which is ideal if you have a daily commute that comprises a nose-to-tail trundle through the city. However, remember that you need to charge it up as often as possible for maximum efficiency. Economy figures are yet to be confirmed.

Forget thoughts of the Kia Sorento PHEV being large and cumbersome in town, because it isn’t. For a start, the electric motor provides a punchy spurt of pace and is largely silent, which makes the Sorento PHEV feel pretty chilled. When the battery becomes depleted and the engine kicks in, it does sound a bit noisy when you rev it hard.

On a twisty road, the Sorento does what you’d want it to do, which is mainly not swaying about too much and making your passengers car sick. You won’t be setting lap times in the Sorento, but then why would you in a seven-seat SUV?

What's it like inside?

Loads of kit is fitted as standard, and it feels decently built, but it isn’t that stylish to look at.

Next Read full interior review