by Aiden Eksteen
Yet another sporty, hybridized SUV enters the ever-popular classification in America, dubbed the Kia Sorento Hybrid for 2021. This all-new Korean midsize three-row SUV offers Kia fans a more eco-friendly and economical experience than that of the regular version. This is on top of all the sterling qualities that made the standard gas-only vehicle so popular, including a third row of seating. If the 2021 Sorento SUV wasn't already in a class of its own, it certainly is now as a midsize, three-row, and hybridized SUV. That said, the Sorento Hybrid still competes against more conventional two-row contemporaries such as the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid, Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid, and the Ford Escape Hybrid. Motivating the Kia is a 227-horsepower 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine that's been augmented with a single electric motor. Kia claims class-leading power outputs and combined fuel economy returns for the Sorento Hybrid SUV, which, along with its comprehensive consignment of creature comforts, conveniences, and driver-assist technologies, make it a very appealing offer.
The 2021 Kia Sorento Hybrid midsize SUV is a new addition to the fourth-generation Sorento range. The entire lineup has been substantially updated for the new model year, with a refreshed, dramatic exterior design and larger dimensions than before. The Sorento Hybrid SUV has a six-seater configuration, with two seats up front, a second-row with two captain's chairs, and two, tiny fold-down seats in the third-row. Even the base model is handsomely equipped with blind-spot warning and rear cross-traffic collision avoidance, affording it a respectable safety rating. It also gets a smart key with push-button and remote start, heated front seats, and 17-inch alloys.
See trim levels and configurations:
For improved eco-friendly performance and fuel efficiency, Kia equips the 2021 Sorento Hybrid with a 1.6-liter inline-4 engine that's been hybridized by a single electric motor. On its own, the gasoline motor produces up to 177 hp and 195 lb-ft of torque, which is increased to 227 hp and 258 lb-ft with the assistance of the electric motor. Power is managed by a 6-speed automatic transmission and ceded through to the Sorento's standard front-wheel drivetrain or optional AWD. The hybrid version of the Sorento only has a maximum towing capacity of 2,000 lbs.
Not only does the Sorento Hybrid SUV deliver pleasant performance overall, from its brisk acceleration responses to its thrifty fuel economy returns, but it's also a serene, car-like cruiser on the road that also offers enough room for up to six people in three rows of seating. There are more spacious and comfortable three-row SUVs out there in the USA - the Sorento's rearmost seats proving to be quite confined - but the Sorento SUV is the only 5-door midsize vehicle in this class and at its price that presents buyers with the option. Kia has also ensured that the cabin exudes a modern and upscale impression by utilizing superb design and only first-rate materials. Occupants are also spoiled with oodles of creature comforts and conveniences even at the base level, and their safety is assured by the inclusion of the latest in driver-assist and safety technologies. In terms of an official crashworthiness review, the 2021 Kia Sorento Hybrid attains top markets and boasts a proven record for reliability. The 2021MY certainly brings with it the best version of the Sorento America has ever seen, one that is well worth considering as an everyday, family runabout.
The entry-spec 2021 Kia Sorento Hybrid SUV S, with its price of just $33,590, is the model we'd recommend as the best value proposition within the line. The top-spec EX is tempting with its selection of desirable additional comforts and tech, but you're not really missing out on much going for the S. Both Sorento Hybrids come with the same powertrain anyway and hence identical performance specifications, too. In terms of features, the S also still comes standard-fit with a lot of the top-spec goodies, including an eight-inch infotainment touchscreen that's pre-installed with wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay functionality. It also sports multi-directional power-adjustable front seats with heating, and Kia's Drive Wise suite of advanced driver assists.
The most popular competitors of 2021 Kia Sorento Hybrid: