The current-generation Kia Sorento had a tough act to follow arriving after the Telluride. With all that success it had high expectations to live up to. Thankfully, Kia managed to continue to the hype train. While the gas-only versions were solid propositions, the hybrid models stood out even more for several reasons. In particular, the 2022 Kia Sorento Hybrid gives you a value-packed three-row option and it goes beyond the sticker price.
2022 Kia Sorento Hybrid: Family Lineage
Unlike some of Kia’s other models, the Sorento Hybrid sports an evolutionary design. You see links to its predecessor right away in the upright greenhouse and front fascia. Additionally, it also gets cues that link it to the K5 sedan and Telluride like the grille and headlights forming Kia’s corporate face and vertical taillights. In terms of size, the 2022 Kia Sorento Hybrid slots between the Sportage and the Telluride, making it a tweener.
The interior also reflects the SUV’s segment-splitting size. Unlike the Telluride, the Sorento Hybrid only seats up to six passengers with standard second-row captain’s chairs. Although you can fit adults in the third row, they’re best used for short trips or folded down for additional cargo space, effectively turning the car into a 4+2. On the other hand, you get a lot of small-item storage and a squared-off space with the second and third rows down.
Quite possibly the stand-out in the Sorento Hybrid’s cabin is the fit and finish. Excellent materials and build quality give the SUV a solid feel at the mid-grade level. What do I mean by that? The Sorento Hybrid only comes in S and EX grades, putting it in the middle of the lineup. To go with that, you also get great sound insulation, keeping the cabin hushed at all speeds.
For 2022, Kia added a larger 10.25-inch touchscreen as standard to the S and EX grades of all Sorento models. Although it trades wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility for a wired connection, this remains a meaningful update. Why? You get a more responsive display with additional real estate for your infotainment needs. Unfortunately, the base six-speaker audio system remains. While clear, it doesn’t do a good job covering the entire cabin. Every Sorento Hybrid also gets USB ports in all three rows and a wireless charger, meaning no one needs to fight for a plug on road trips.
The value proposition grows because the Sorento Hybrid gets the full Drive Wise suite of active safety technologies. On the EX grade, this includes Highway Driving Assist, one of the best semi-autonomous systems available. It does a fantastic job following traffic even in gridlock and stays proactive. That means the car reacts quickly when someone cuts you off or traffic ahead slows down. The rest of its components work gently, seamlessly keeping you centered and correcting your trajectory. It can also help you complete gentle turns and make evasive maneuvers.
2022 Kia Sorento Hybrid: Genuine Long Distance Cruiser
The Sorento Hybrid excels as a family car. It features a plush ride and does a fantastic job isolating the cabin from road imperfections. FWD models like this test car get 17-inch wheels wrapped in tires with generous sidewalls. This provides additional cushioning over poorly maintained roads like the ones found in certain parts of Los Angeles. Despite its softness, the Sorento Hybrid maintains its confidence, offering secure handling and good body control. Accurate steering helps the SUV drive smaller and makes it easier to maneuver in tight spaces.
Power comes from Hyundai Motor Group’s latest hybrid system shared with the Sportage and the Hyundai Tucson and Santa Fe. It couples a 1.6-liter turbo-four with a six-speed automatic transmission, electric motor, and 1.5-kWh battery. This results in 227 hp and 228 lb-ft of torque combined for brisk acceleration and effortless passing and hill climbing. Kia did a better job with this powertrain because the quick-shifting gearbox doesn’t hunt, and is always in the right gear. Put your foot down and it puts the engine in its sweet spot, allowing you to access the hybrid system’s full potency.
The hybrid powertrain also makes the Sorento Hybrid one heck of a road warrior. EPA-rated at 39/35/37 mpg city/highway/combined with FWD or 36/33/35 mpg in AWD guise, this SUV goes the distance. It proved this during my week where it averaged an impressive 45 mpg! This makes the Sorento Hybrid a proper 600-mile vehicle, an SUV worthy of long road trips. Getting the crossover’s official ratings requires little effort. Thanks to smooth transitions between regenerative and mechanical braking, it’s easy to keep the car coasting while recuperating a lot of energy. This allows the car to spend more time operating off the battery, improving its overall efficiency.
Value Beyond the Sticker Price
Starting at $35,385 for the base S trim, the Sorento Hybrid represents a fantastic value. However, I’d suggest going for the EX grade, which starts at $37,385, since that gets you key features like Highway Driving Assist and a hands-free power liftgate. AWD tacks on $1,800 to the S trim or $2,300 in the EX where it also includes 19-inch wheels. You can also add a panoramic sunroof on the latter for $1,300.
Regardless of which version, you choose, the 2022 Kia Sorento Hybrid offers a strong value that goes beyond the sticker price. It offers a comfortable driving experience, additional space for people and/or gear, and some of the best technologies available. The fact that this test car only costs $37,820 is merely icing on the cake. This car exemplifies Kia punching above its weight and continuing to prove that notion of value extends past the money aspect.