It's more powerful than we thought.
Earlier this year, the 2021 Kia Sorento debuted sporting an all-new look and a slew of new engines. Kia Motors America has not confirmed which (or how many) of these engine options are going to be available for the US market. Still, the Korean automaker just revealed more details about the upcoming plug-in hybrid drivetrain, and it's more potent than we initially anticipated.
The first-ever Sorento Plug-in Hybrid joins the standard hybrid as the second electrified model in the range. It combines a 177 horsepower and 195 lb-ft of torque turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine with a 13.8 kWh lithium-ion polymer battery pack and electric motor. Together, the engine and electric motor combine to produce 261 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. For reference, the outgoing 3.3-liter V6 in the last-generation Sorento produced 290 hp and 252 lb-ft of torque.
No exact electric range estimates are available, but Kia promises it will be sufficient to complete "most short drives" without firing up the gasoline engine. The six-speed automatic transmission enables power from the engine and electric motor to reach the wheels in parallel, limiting any loss in energy. Power goes out to all-wheel-drive as standard.
Kia's new SUV platform accommodates the PHEV system without encumbering passenger space. Just like the standard Sorento, the PHEV model offers room for five or seven passengers with one of the largest cargo capacities in the midsize class.
Inside, the cabin looks mostly the same as other variants, but the 12.3-inch gauge cluster display shows different information on the PHEV.
In terms of exterior styling, the Sorento PHEV looks nearly identical to the conventional models save for the "eco plug-in" badges and a charging port door on the passenger side.
Kia has yet to confirm any specification of the US-market Sorento, so we do not know if the plug-in hybrid model will arrive stateside.