What is it?
The largest Kia model on sale in the UK, now fitted with plug-in hybrid power. The Kia Sorento may only qualify as ‘mid-sized’ in America, where it sits below the gargantuan Telluride, but on these shores, it’s one of only a few seven-seat SUVs capable of zero-emissions driving.
The Kia shares its 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine with the self-charging Sorento Hybrid, but gains a more powerful electric motor and a 13.8kWh battery pack that promises up to 35 miles of electric range.
With a combined 261bhp sent to both axles via a six-speed automatic transmission, this is the most potent version of the fourth-generation SUV, while CO2 emissions of just 38g/km also make it the most environmentally friendly. It qualifies for an 11% benefit-in-kind tax rate after 6 April, which should appeal to company car drivers.
All PHEV variants ride on 19in alloy wheels, versus the 17s found on the vanilla Sorento, and all come just as well equipped, Even entry-level 2 cars get LED lights, a digital instrument cluster, heated seats and a heated steering wheel as standard. Top-spec 4 models get extra niceties such as a head-up display, glass roof, Bose speaker system and larger, 10.25in infotainment touchscreen, and it is expected to prove more popular with private buyers, although the cheaper self-charging hybrid is likely to remain the best-seller overall.
The Sorento impressed us with a well-equipped interior and mostly comfortable ride when we road tested the hybrid version earlier this year, and this plug-in version sits relatively unopposed: the Ford Kuga PHEV makes do with five seats, the Volvo XC90 T8 costs considerably more, and the similarly sized Skoda Kodiaq is limited to combustion power only.