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Kia teased a Sorento PHEV earlier this year when it revealed what powertrains would be available for the redesigned crossover. Today, we have the details on this forthcoming plug-in hybrid variant. The only catch is the lack of U.S. market information. Kia has revealed the Sorento PHEV for Europe, but there’s no word on whether it will come here, too. After seeing the powertrain details, though, we think there’s a very good chance it could succeed in America.
For starters, the plug-in Sorento is powerful. It uses a 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder and a single electric motor for forward motion, resulting in 261 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque combined. The 1.6-liter engine takes advantage of Hyundai’s new CVVD technology to boost efficiency and power. And the electric motor is new and improved for this model, benefiting from a new two-stage lamination process to reduce noise and vibration levels. A six-speed automatic transmission handles shifting duties.
Kia is packing a 13.8 kWh lithium-ion battery pack underneath. Range estimates are not yet available, but Kia says its “all-electric range will be sufficient to enable drivers to complete most short drives on electric power alone.” We’re guessing it will be something around 25 miles in EPA testing, assuming we ever see EPA estimated figures. Kia is introducing new battery tech with this model, too. The Sorento Plug-In Hybrid will be the first Kia to use an independent battery pack water-cooling system. Kia says it ensures optimal heat management and efficiency of the battery pack. Luggage capacity is essentially unaffected, losing just 0.14 cubic-foot of space versus the standard Hybrid.
Everything remains the same visually except for “eco plug-in” badges and the presence of a charge port. The 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster is reprogrammed to display pertinent information for the new powertrain, and the 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment system will feature charge port finder functionality.
Kia says Sorento Plug-In Hybrid sales will start in early 2021 in select markets. No official U.S. information is available at this time, but we’ve asked Kia to tell us what it can and will update this post when we hear back.