Thursday, January 26, 2023
Reviews 2022 Kia Sorento SX PHEV Review: Hitting all the Marks Except One

2022 Kia Sorento SX PHEV Review: Hitting all the Marks Except One

The all-new 2022 Kia Sorento PHEV is a feature and technology overload but the hybrid’s a smarter alternative

  • The base price in Canada for the 2022 Kia Sorento is $34,595 in Canada, $29,490 in the US.

  • The hybrid version starts at $36,695 in Canada and $33,990 in the US.

  • The $8,000 jump from the Hybrid LX to the PHEV EX is a difficult leap to make in the name of efficiency.

Kia’s progress as an automaker is nothing short of remarkable. From extremely humble beginnings not quite 25 years ago to offering some of the most inspired designs and technologically-packed mainstream vehicles available for sale today, today’s Kia has only its name in common with the past. The new 2022 Sorento PHEV might be Kia’s greatest ICE leap forward.

2022 Kia Sorento SX PHEV | Photo: Olivier Delorme

About a decade ago, I recommended Kia and Hyundai vehicles to members of my family and friends. I’ve expressed my regrets for doing so in a number of stories and videos but, for the sake of this review, if one of these people was to return to a Kia store with their 2012 Sportage looking to upgrade, they’d think they walked into a high-end German automaker’s showroom.

Upscale outside and in

Focusing on the new Sorento, by all accounts, it’s an extremely attractive SUV. From the base version all the way to the SX. The Sorento’s forward face and chiseled lines lend seriousness, ruggedness, and a dose of premium to its physique. The full LED light setup, the 19-inch machined-finish alloy wheels, and Kia’s signature grille combine to make even the once alluring Sportage look pedestrian.

2022 Kia Sorento SX PHEV | Photo: Olivier Delorme

Kia’s evolution is even more striking once onboard. The tested SX features a 12.3-inch Supervision digital instrument cluster which blends seamlessly into a 10.25-inch multimedia interface with navigation. In short, this configuration looks lifted directly out of a Benz. The crazy part is that the screens are only a small part of the Sorento’s dashboard.

Be it the multiple well-assembled materials, the vents, or the functional and highly designed center console, it’s all incredibly appealing and premium. Ergonomics are very good and the audacious use of blue leather for the seats and other various blue interior accents found throughout are fantastic.

2022 Kia Sorento SX PHEV | Photo: Olivier Delorme

The Sorento’s cabin is roomy and airy. The third row remains best used to house kids however the second captain seats enable easy access to the final row of seats. The middle seats are heated (EX+ and SX) and are supportive and comfortable. Up front, driver and passenger lack for nothing as there’s plenty of storage space and the seats themselves are quite nice.

In short, the Sorento, from the EX trim on up, is nothing short of a near-luxury vehicle.


2022 Kia Sorento SX PHEV | Photo: Olivier Delorme

Before I jump into the driving experience, I want to mention pricing for the Hybrid and PHEV versions. In Canada, the base Hybrid LX is priced from $36,695 while the starter PHEV EX goes for $44,995. The straight comparison for the EX PHEV is with the EX Hybrid which is priced at $41,995.

In short, the PHEV includes the larger battery, the extra electric motor, and fog lights – a considerable amount of kit for only $3,000. The principal advantages to the PHEV are up to 51 km of EV range (in winter, the range can drop substantially), the extra power, and access to federal and provincial incentives.

The “advantage” is a disadvantage in the real world

2022 Kia Sorento SX PHEV | Photo: Olivier Delorme

The reality is that fuel consumption, in the real world, and even with a full or nearly full battery, is worse than the Hybrid as I managed a returned average of 7.5L/100km or nearly 1L/100km more than the Hybrid’s estimated rating. On many occasions, the ICE would constantly interrupt EV momentum assumingly because of the exterior ambient temperature and for system power requirements even under light throttle inputs. And the bump in output, from 227 horsepower to 261 horsepower for the PHEV over the Hybrid only exists to offset the near 400+-lb weight penalty brought on by the battery and electric motor.

In the name of real-world efficiency, the PHEV is not worth the investment. If all the bells and whistles are superfluous to you, save the money and get the Hybrid LX. Either way, both versions are powered by the turbocharged 1.6-litre 4-cylinder engine coupled to a 6-speed automatic transmission. Performance overall is decent thanks to the included 258 lb.-ft. of torque (same for both) although throttle response is somewhat dull no matter the selected drive mode.

2022 Kia Sorento SX PHEV | Photo: Olivier Delorme

Ride quality is generally good. I wouldn’t qualify the driving experience as being refined but it’s definitely on par with any other hybrid midsize SUV. In reality, everything about the drive is average meaning it will meet all expectations.

PHEV no-no, as always

The conclusion is once more to avoid the PHEV if efficiency is the goal. Perhaps, with the federal and provincial rebates, the Sorento PHEV may turn out to be slightly less expensive on paper than the Hybrid but if the plan is to keep the Kia for more than four years, full costs will be greater.

In this “segment”, the Toyota RAV4 Prime is still a decent option, especially with the addition of the SE PHEV but the growing number of electric SUVs will quickly make PHEVs ancient history and technology.

2022 Kia Sorento SX PHEV | Photo: Olivier Delorme

2022 Kia Sorento SX PHEV | Photo: Olivier Delorme

2022 Kia Sorento SX PHEV | Photo: Olivier Delorme

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Matt St-Pierre
Trained as an Automotive Technician, Matt has two decades of automotive journalism under his belt. He’s done TV, radio, print and this thing called the internet. He’s an avid collector of many 4-wheeled things, all of them under 1,500 kg, holds a recently expired racing license and is a father of two. Life is beautiful. Send Matt an emai


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