The Weekly Advertiser Horsham

Kia’s plug-in Sorento arrives

- – Callum Hunter

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.

 ?? ?? PREMIUM: Kia’s flagship Gt-line is the only Kia Sorento to score the new plug-in hybrid, PHEV, powertrain.
PREMIUM: Kia’s flagship Gt-line is the only Kia Sorento to score the new plug-in hybrid, PHEV, powertrain.

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