Kia’s implementation of a hybrid powertrain in this latest Sorento comes across as a slightly hollow gesture. This is entirely down to its underwhelming electric performance.
With more than two tonnes worth of metal to shift, the Sorento’s 59bhp electric motor simply doesn’t have the muscle required to move the SUV off from a standstill, or bring it up to speed, without the petrol engine doing the vast majority of the heavy lifting. In fact, the only instances where our testers found they could reliably run on electricity alone was when travelling downhill or while maintaining a constant speed on clear, flat, open roads.
As a result, the Sorento is only an averagely efficient car in the sorts of stop/start, inner-city driving environments where you’d typically expect a hybrid to excel. We saw an overall average economy figure of 35mpg during our time with the car, making the Sorento only marginally more efficient than the 177bhp diesel-powered Land Rover Discovery Sport (31mpg) we road tested at the beginning of 2020. And given that even the most powerful oil-burning Discovery Sport is still only a few benefit-in-kind tax brackets higher than the Sorento, it’s difficult to see exactly what it is you’re gaining by opting for this particular electrified powertrain. In reality, it doesn’t feel or perform like anything more than a glorified mild hybrid.