With its 4.80 meters long, its 7 optional seats and its status as a frequent traveler, the new Kia Sorento wants to appeal to families. Especially in its one and only plug-in hybrid version.

“America, America, I want to have it and I will have it” sang Joe Dassin in 1970. The ideal soundtrack behind the wheel of the fourth and new generation of the Kia Sorento because the Korean is undoubtedly the most American of foreign SUVs on the market.

By its size and its size already – 4.80 meters long and 2.1 tonnes on the scale -, but also by its style. Its very Yankee, his silhouette of a US football player and especially his double vertical rear lights leave no room for doubt, the Sorento is better suited for Highway as for our departmental.

Never mind, it arrives on our roads in a single plug-in hybrid version, available in 5 or 7 places for large families. What to compete with models like the bestseller Peugeot 5008, its cousin Hyundai Santa Fé or the giant Ford Explorer!

Kia proudly announces it, with this Sorento, customers will get their money’s worth (from € 48,990 in 5 seats and € 53,940 in 7 seats). Still more seller, the large Korean SUV would display a more attractive price-performance ratio of € 30,000 compared to the premium competition. True or completely wacky?

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The new Sorento is a well-proportioned 4.80 meter baby

Good to know: anticipate the purchase and resale.

It is possible to know the resale or trade-in value of your vehicle thanks to the auto Turbo rating of your Kia Sorento, the alternative to the Argus rating.

Bigger than a Parisian studio

In the cockpit anyway, luxury is space. The rear seats are extremely generous (thanks to its 2.82 m wheelbase) and the bench seat slides out to release volume in the legs worthy of a business class. And even the usually forgotten third row passengers are entitled to a few little touches.

Access to the folding seats is facilitated by an electrically folding rear seat (60/40), a sound amplification system with the first row facilitates communication and air conditioning control has been installed to offer the best travel conditions. . Not to mention the many USB ports (in the front seats too) that will delight children, adults can be quickly tired by too low a seat.

Logically, with 7 occupants, the boot of the Sorento offers only 175 small liters loading volume. Exploding value in 5-seater configuration (809 liters) and who is closer to that of a utility once all the seats are folded flat (almost 2 m3).

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The third row is pretty decent even for adults

One button, one function

In the front seats, the move upmarket of the Sorento is indisputable. Just like the very show-off atmosphere, typically American. Special mention for checkered metal elements on the dashboard and the storm doors as well as the impressive double air vents.

If the quality of the assembly and materials is practically at the premium level, the technological side is not to be outdone with two large screens (12.3 and 10.25 ”) with excellent ergonomics and graphics. A completely different observation for the steering wheel and the central console invaded with buttons, and reminiscent of the “one button, one function” of the old Porsches.

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The design of the dashboard is modern, although a little too busy

Highway to hell

The similarity with the German brand ends there, of course. Especially since motorization question, the Sorento is not in excess. Only available in a plug-in hybrid version, it can count on the 180 hp 1.6 t-GDi 4-cylinder turbo combined with a 91 hp electric motor directly integrated into the 6-speed automatic gearbox and a 13.8 kWh battery claiming a range of 57 km (WLTP cycle).

The whole thing displays a combined power of 265 hp and 350 Nm of torque sent to the 4 wheels via an all-wheel drive. Sufficient to tow the 2.1 tonnes of the beast (0 to 100 km / h in 8.7 s).

The first meters at the wheel are systematically done in cathedral silence. Between the electric motor imperceptible to the ear and the careful soundproofing, the occupants of the Sorento are only slightly disturbed when the thermal block comes into play. During great acceleration to enter a motorway, for example. Expressways, Sorento’s favorite playground, true to its reputation as a long-haul traveler.

Turbo from 02/15/2015: Audi A1 and Q3 restyled, Nissan GT-R, Kia Sorento, Mazda2 …

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Seen from 3/4 rear, the Sorento plays it really American!

The plug-in hybrid for the city

Once on winding courses, the Korean is no longer so comfortable. The fault of its raised ground clearance and its very flexible suspension causing some body movements and a hint of roll despite the rear hydraulic leveling. Nothing shocking, especially for a big baby rather focused on ride comfort, but very far from the road convenience of premium models.

Paradoxically, the Sorento turns out to be a good city dweller. Once the template has been apprehended. Well cushioned and packed with driving assistance technologies (in particular the camera feedback filming the blind spot in the on-board instrumentation and the panoramic view when parking), it is very pleasant to take in the city. Especially that he takes advantage ofa good electric range (a little less than 50 km in mixed use).

Once the batteries are flat, the Sorento surprisingly contains its consumption thanks to its hybrid mode allowing it to stabilize around 8 liters per 100 km. But to justify its purchase, it will obviously need to be recharged. A maneuver that takes 3h30 on a 16 A Wallbox and 5 hours on a 12 A domestic socket.

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The Tiger Nose grille is there

Full equiped

On the other hand, and this is rare for a manufacturer who usually offers all the possible equipment, no fast recharge is in the catalog. A very rich catalog from the first Active 7-seater trim level (€ 53,940) with adaptive cruise control with lane-keeping assistance, connected navigation or even Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Our Premium trial version (€ 61,940), not the most given but the best equipped, drives home the point: leather upholstery, heated front / rear seats, head-up display, 360-degree vision or even panoramic sunroof are part of the equipment. Not to mention the famous 7-year warranty.

As much to say it right away, the competition is either more expensive (Hyundai Santa Fe and Ford Explorer) or less well equipped (Seat Tarraco and Peugeot 5008).

Kia Sorento Technical Specifications
Model tested: Kia Sorento Rechargeable Hybrid 265 hp 7 seats
Dimensions L x W x H 4,810 / 1,900 / 1,695 m
Wheelbase 2.82 m
Min / max trunk volume 175/809 l
Unloaded weight 2.099 kg
Engine displacement 4-cylinder Turbo, petrol – 1.598 cc
Engine power 180 hp at 5,500 rpm
Couple 265 Nm from 1,500 to 4,500 rpm
Electric motor 91 hp from 2,100 to 3,300 rpm and 304 Nm to 2,100 Nm of torque
Combined power 265 hp and 350 Nm
Drums 13.8 kWh
Autonomy 57 km in combined cycle (WLTP)
0 to 100 km / h 8.7 s
Max speed 193 km / h
Mixed consumption 1.6 l / 100 km combined (WLTP)
CO2 rate 38 g / km (neutral bonus / penalty)