Review and Test Drive: 2021 Kia Sorento Hybrid EX

By Jonathan Spira on 13 May 2021
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While the original Kia Sorento was introduced in 2002 as a compact SUV and relaunched in 2009 as a mid-sized one, we never had the occasion to review a Sorento.  That is, until now.  Four generations after launch, the 2021 Sorento, originally slated to make its debut at the Geneva Motor Show that was cancelled amidst the height of the coronavirus pandemic, made its somewhat less splashy and very virtual debut in North America in September of last year.

The completely redesigned SUV has a longer wheelbase (1.4” or 35 mm) and the vehicle’s overall length was extended by 0.4” (10 mm).  There are several powerplant options including a 2.5-liter turbocharged four banger that develops 281 horsepower and 311 pound-feet of torque and a hybrid model, which sports a 1.6-liter turbocharged four and single electric power which develops a combined 227 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque.

An aptly named Runway Red Sorento hybrid landed at our offices on a pleasant early spring day and it immediately reminded me of another Kia, the Telluride, just a little bit smaller and also more affordable than it’s larger brethren, plus, in our opinion, it’s far better looking.

This is Kia’s first hybrid Sorento and, like other Kia SUVs and crossovers, it does what it’s intended to do very well without making too much of a fuss.  It has a far more rugged appearance than any of the prior generation Sorentos, and sports a grille that is far more defined than other Kias, perhaps a sign of things to come.


It’s immediately apparent that the Sorento’s interior is cavernous once one is seated in the driver’s seat. While there are two trim levels, and ours was the higher end EX, the base S comes with variable wipers, heated outside power mirrors, daytime running lights, a smart key with remote start, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, second row captain’s chairs, and, in the third-row, 50/50-split reclining and folding seats.

The driver’s seat is almost infinitely adjustable with a ten-way power control and two-way power lumbar support, while the front passenger seat has a four-way adjustable control.  Both were supremely comfortable and provided excellent support on longer drives.

Click here to continue to Page 2Smart Design and Lots of Storage, Too

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