2022 Kia Sorento Hybrid Review - Three Rows*, Thirty-Seven MPG

Fast Facts

2022 Kia Sorento Hybrid EX FWD

1.6-liter turbocharged four with electric hybrid motor (227 hp, 258 lb-ft combined)
Six-speed automatic transmission, front-wheel drive
39 city / 35 highway / 37 combined (EPA Rating, MPG)
Base Price: $38,165 US
As Tested: $38,820 US
Prices include $1175 destination charge in the United States. Canadian market does not offer the FWD Sorento Hybrid.
2022 kia sorento hybrid review three rows thirty seven mpg

As I and others on these virtual pages have noted time and again, electric vehicles are Not Quite Ready For Primetime in much of the country for most people. We don’t have a charging infrastructure ready to support the types of driving most do on a regular basis, nor do we have the collective will to change our driving habits to suit an all-electric lifestyle.

And yet gasoline prices continue to climb. I spotted regular unleaded at $4.99 per gallon this weekend – if that number seems quaintly laughable by the time this hits the presses, my apologies. I’m taking a hard look at the driving my family needs to do, and strongly reconsidering what best fits my driveway and my budget.

Some sort of electrification is coming sooner rather than later to each of us if we aren’t there already. Two-plus decades of hybrids have proven the reliabilities of the technologies involved. A roomy family-sized vehicle, much like this 2022 Kia Sorento Hybrid, should take the sting out of what had once been a realm reserved for Spartan subcompacts.

Notably, my test crossover eschews a feature not often found on most family sedans – all-wheel drive. Depending on the trim, driving all four wheels on the Sorento Hybrid will cost an additional $2,000 to $2,500 above the Monroney for the front-drive version. All-wheel drive will cost another two miles per gallon in fuel economy – front-drive yields a 37 mpg combined estimate (roughly accurate in my testing) while all-wheel drive drops to 35 mpg. Still solid economy figures, but not everyone needs the additional drive wheels. In central Ohio, I know that I could live without AWD save for that one massive storm we get every 3-5 years. In New England, maybe not – and our friends and corporate overlords in Canada don’t have the opportunity to buy a front-drive Sorento Hybrid. Up there, it’s AWD or nothing.

Driving the Sorento Hybrid isn’t exhilarating. The 227 horsepower combined from the 1.6-liter four and the electric motor is enough to get up to freeway speeds from a dig reasonably well, and the six-speed automatic with real gears does nicely when needing to make a pass – something with which a CVT in many other hybrids can struggle. Ride quality is unremarkable – a fair bit of road noise can come through, but sharp impacts are well muted and controlled.

Of the seven distinct crossover/SUV/minivan-that-cosplays-as-a-crossover vehicles in the current Kia lineup, three of them (this Sorento, the larger Telluride, and the Carnival minivan) have standard three-row configurations. While the Telluride is tolerable for adults in that third row – and the Carnival is clearly the best due to the low floor – the Sorento is not quite workable for anyone older past fifth grade. If you’re carpooling, this will work for peewee football, not high school.

That cargo hold when the third row is erected for passengers isn’t going to handle much more than water bottles for the team – those kids won’t have room for their pads or helmets. Kia quotes 12.6 cubic feet with that third row upright – it’s a shallow space that will manage but a couple of backpacks. I can see that third row being useful perhaps for a road trip with an infant – lower one of the second-row chairs, strap junior into the other second-row seat, and have a caregiver or two in the third row ready to attend to the spit-ups and bottle tosses.

No, I rather doubt most people shopping the Sorento will choose it specifically for the third row of seating – rather, it’s best considered as an emergency backup plan rather than a full-time large-brood carrying solution. With that back row stowed, the cargo area can manage 45 cubic feet of stuff, making the Sorento Hybrid a perfectly capable family hauler for four or five. Seat comfort both front and rear is excellent, with good leg and headroom and plenty of shoulder space between.

For those cross-shopping, the Sorento slots in dimensionally an interesting tweener size – for those shopping the Big Two Japanese marques, right between the CR-V/RAV4 and the Highlander/Pilot classes. The Sorento Hybrid gives a bit more interior room than the smaller vehicles for nearly the same sticker prices – a caveat, of course, comes with our new reality of limited availabilities and additional dealer markups.

Even with the pricey fuel we’re seeing now, a seventeen-gallon fill-up will be cheaper than four airline tickets to get the family on vacation over the summer. No cramped seats, no crying babies, no Mike Tyson about to punch you for being obnoxious. I’m not trying to damn the 2022 Kia Sorento Hybrid by simply saying it’s better than flying – because these days walking might be better than flying – but it can be a solid solution for many families, and it’d be a welcome addition to my driveway.

[Images: © 2022 Chris Tonn]

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  • ToolGuy ToolGuy on Jun 06, 2022

    2022 Hybrid Sorento gets 37 mpg combined (35 highway). OK, but a non-hybrid 1986 Ford Escort gets 38 mpg combined (and 44 highway). https://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/bymodel/1986_Ford_Escort.shtml Just sayin.

  • Bogardus Bogardus on Jun 07, 2022

    The biggest problem for the Sorento Hybrid is probably the existence of the Highlander Hybrid and Sienna. Pricing range on the Toyotas is very close. And each offers far more passenger and cargo space while getting indistinguishable gas mileage. Plus, for those who care, my impression is Toyota still has more brand cachet, whereas a Kia in your (driveway may still get funny looks though I think Kia has deservedly made up a lot of ground there). Still, picking the Kia still means having to deal with a Kia dealership. The Toyota hybrid system is proven reliable at this point, whereas Kia's system seems to have more fault points, cramming a DI engine, an electric motor, a turbo and plumbing, and a six-speed transmission under the hood. I know Consumer Reports has given the Sorento low reliability ratings, though I believe much of that stems from problems with the 10-speed transmission in the non-hybrid models. The only reasons I can discern to get a Kia over one of the Toyotas are if overall footprint is a major concern (e.g., you live in a city and often park parallel), as the Sorento is more than a foot shorter than a Sienna, or if you're stressing sportiness, to the extent possible in this segment: I understand the six-speed lets the Sorento Hybrid drive more like a "regular" car, and, with similar power numbers, it weighs something like 600 lbs less than either of the Toyotas.

  • Fred Where you going to build it? Even in Texas near Cat Springs they wanted to put up a country club for sport cars. People complained, mostly rich people who had weekend hobby farms. They said the noise would scare their cows. So they ended up in Dickinson, where they were more eager for development of any kind.
  • MaintenanceCosts I like the styling of this car inside and out, but not any of the powertrains. Give it the 4xe powertrain - or, better yet, a version of that powertrain with the 6-cylinder Hurricane - and I'd be very interested.
  • Daniel J I believe anyone, at any level, should get paid as much as the market will bear. Why should CEOs have capped salaries or compensation but middle management shouldn't? If companies support poor CEOs and poor CEOs keep getting rewarded, it's up to the consumer and investors to force that company to either get a better CEO or to reduce the salary of that CEO. What I find hilarious is that consumers will continue to support companies where the pay for the CEOs is very high. And the same people complain. I stopped buying from Amazon during the pandemic. Everyone happily buys from them but the CEO makes bank. Same way with Walmart and many other retailers. Tim Cook got 100m in compensation last year yet people line up to buy Iphones. People who complain and still buy the products must not really care that much.
  • TDIGuy Glad to see this discussion come up just as my Facebook is being flooded with ads for a race track event coming up near Toronto. Seems to be billed as a chance to see a lot of exotic cars, but also watch various categories of cars on the race track. This is the kind of event that might generate some interest in getting on the track.Sorry for lack of detail, but I'm not doing this in attempt to spam, but more to show there are attempts being made to increase interest. That said, someone made the point that there are less and less people out there with something that could be driven on a race track (i.e. a car), so it does leave it to the grass roots type of racers to keep this going.
  • DedBull The more opportunities you present people with legal means to enjoy their hobbies, the less they are tempted to do those activities illegally. The challenge becomes making a business case out of the resulting facility. We have to be vigilant in preserving the facilities we have, as well as exploring options to expand when available.