In 2021, Kia launched the PHEV Sorento. A first for a vehicle this size, and with the FBT exemption for PHEVs and BEVs expected to approved by parliament this year, the Sorento PHEV becomes an option to help reduce fleet emissions.
With an $80,000 price tag, the Sorento isn’t cheap. Though when compared to the current range of electric vehicles on the market, it has some benefits over a pure EV.
The main one is the petrol engine that will allow you to drive in Hybrid mode. When introducing EVs to a fleet, some people will be concerned about range and the availability of charging infrastructure. A PHEV is the best of both worlds. So in a pool car fleet, a PHEV will cater to all levels of EV acceptance. If it’s allocated to one person, they will become comfortable with the charging process over time and eventually stop going to petrol stations.
Other benefits with the Sorento PHEV are its size and level of specification. It’s a luxury SUV that comes with seven seats which is perfect for transporting a family. This may not be the first thing a Fleet Manager considers when evaluating vehicles, but providing a vehicle at this level, in a tough labour market, will certainly sweeten the deal for any new employees while helping the organisation meet its emission reduction goals.
Energy storage is managed by a 14kWh Lithium-ion polymer battery pack located under the vehicle floor. Monitoring the various functions of the Sorento’s electric drive systems is made easy by the clear displays of the battery and charging status on the class-leading 10.25” navigation display and 12.3” driver digital cluster.
Being the first electrified Sorento means that EV and HEV mode is interchangeable. In EV mode, ideal for urban driving – it uses only electric energy for zero-fuel, emissions-free driving. In HEV mode, it operates both energy sources, the engine and the electric motor simultaneously.
For Kia’s General Manager of Product Planning, Roland Rivero, the fourth generation Sorento is a game-changer in the Australian market.
“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,” said Rivero.
“While the Sorento was initially launched in 2002 as a utilitarian body on frame all-terrain vehicle, it quickly evolved into a more luxurious monocoque package and now, in its fourth generation, Sorento has been transformed into something even more desirable.
“Supply limitations impacting the automotive industry as a whole, combined with Sorento’s global popularity, has steered us to offering the Sorento PHEV in only the top of the range GT-Line for now.”
Earlier this year Kia Australia announced the local launch of the Hybrid (HEV) GT-Line FWD and AWD Sorento. Kia claimed the Sorento as the only vehicle available in Australia to offer naturally aspirated petrol, diesel, PHEV (Plug-in Hybrid) and HEV variants.
At the time, Kia’s Chief Operating Officer, Damien Meredith, said, “Sorento already provided one of the most versatile, practical and spacious large SUVs on the market and now in an industry first, it also offers Australian buyers the most diverse powertrain lineup to choose from within a model range,” .
“The addition of PHEV and HEV options to the popular Sorento range is another example of Kia’s progress in vehicle electrification. Along with the recently launched and award winning EV6, and the next-generation Niro range of electric vehicles arriving in the very near future, Kia Australia is offering a variety of choices in its contribution to a greener future.”
The Sorento Parallel Hybrid System is comprised of a Smartstream 1.6 litre turbo petrol engine offering optimal fuel efficiency with impressive power (132kW) and torque (265Nm).
An electric motor producing 44kW and 264Nm of torque is mounted between the petrol engine and transmission. This arrangement allows the full output of both the petrol engine and/or electric motor to be transferred in parallel through the transmission, with minimal energy loss.
Combined Petrol + Electric output is 169kW and 350Nm and combined Fuel Consumption is 5.3L/100km (FWD) and 5.8L/100km (AWD) respectively on the ADR 81/02 combined fuel cycle.
Energy storage is managed by a high voltage 1kWh Lithium-Ion polymer battery located under the vehicle floor.
Mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission, the Sorento HEV FWD and AWD are available in GT-line specification only and offer a wide array of safety, comfort and convenience features, including an intelligently designed, customisable 12.3” Driver Digital Cluster providing the status of the hybrid charging system. Its high-resolution screen makes it easy to read with a wealth of information at a glance.
Designed to improve visibility for blind spots, the Blind-spot View Monitor (BVM) uses the side cameras so that when you indicate left or right, the cluster will show the view of the road in your blind spot.
The 10.25” Audio Visual Navigation unit displays charging station locations and information. The screen can be split in two for easy access to different apps, vehicle information and multimedia content, and allows the control of the 12-speaker BOSE® premium surround system, which is compatible with wired Android AutoTM and Apple CarPlayTM.