The Weekly Advertiser Horsham
Kia’s plug-in Sorento arrives
T he long-promised plug-in hybrid version of Kia’s Sorento large SUV has finally arrived on Aussie soil, with the emissionssaving technology being made available exclusively at the top of the range on the flagship Gt-line, carrying with it quite a hefty price premium over its purely combustion-engined counterparts.
Checking in from $81,990 driveaway, the Gt-line PHEV is comfortably the most expensive offering in the Sorento portfolio, sitting some $14,700 clear of the diesel-powered former range-topper, the Sorento Gtline 2.2D.
Given it shares all of its standard equipment with that model, the additional expense is localised in that new PHEV drivetrain.
Based around Hyundai Motor Group’s turbocharged 1.6-litre ‘Smartstream’ four-cylinder petrol engine and a 67kw-304nm electric motor mounted to the six-speed automatic transmission, the system generates peak outputs of 195kw-350nm, but Kia says it will only sip 1.6 litres of fuel per 100km and emit 36g of CO2 per kilometre on the combined cycle.
The secret to this impressive ecofriendliness is the 14kwh lithiumion battery powering the electric motor, which provides the Sorento with
a 68km all-electric cruising range, making it one of the longest-ranged PHEVS on the mainstream market – and the only one within the mainstream large SUV segment until the new Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe arrives next year.
According to Kia, the fourth-generation Sorento was designed from the outset with electrification in mind, meaning the underfloor packaging of the battery and strategic positioning of the electric motor have no negative
impacts on cabin space or cargo capacity.
Befitting of its Gt-line status, the PHEV scores all of the toys, gadgets and luxuries of its diesel and petrolpowered siblings including quilted Nappa leather upholstery, 10.25-inch infotainment system with Apple CarPlay-android Auto, ambient cabin lighting and the configurable 12.3inch digital instrument cluster, however that last feature has been tweaked to include Phev-specific readouts such
as battery charge. Being all-wheeldrive, the PHEV also comes with the now familiar ‘Terrain Select’ off-road system, which has been recalibrated to work more effectively with the sixspeed transmission – the other AWDS use an eight-speed dual-clutch unit.
The only real difference in the Gtline PHEV’S spec is the inclusion of 19-inch alloy wheels as opposed to the 20-inchers the petrol and diesel versions roll on.
When it comes time to recharge, that 14kwh battery can be charged at up to 3.3kw, which Kia says will take it from 15 to 95 percent full in three hours and 25 minutes.
For the time being at least, the PHEV powertrain will only be offered in the top-spec Gt-line guise, with Kia Australia product planning general manager Roland Rivero citing supply limitations and the Sorento’s ‘global popularity’ as to why lower spec applications have not been brought to market yet.
Next year will see the arrival of the regular hybrid powertrain, which will be based around the same force-fed 1.6-litre petrol engine, but swap out the big battery for a 1.49kwh unit and a smaller 44.2kw electric motor, resulting in total outputs of 169kw350nm.
In the meantime, Kia Australia has sold 4111 Sorentos so far this year, accounting for 4.7 percent of the sub$70,000 large SUV segment. However it is worth noting the segment also contains dedicated 4x4s like the Isuzu MU-X and Toyota Prado.
“The Sorento has been a great success in Australia providing five-star safety and exceptional convenience levels in its segment, and the PHEV will continue to take the story forward,” Mr Rivero said.