Kia adds new PHEV variant to Sorento lineup

After kick starting production on the new Sorento Plug-in Hybrid last July, Kia Motors is revealing the model for the first time, boasting an ultra-low emissions version of the brand’s flagship global SUV.

The new Kia Sorento Plug-in Hybrid is the second electrified model in the Sorento family after the Sorento Hybrid, and is currently being manufactured at Kia’s Hwasung production facility in South Korea, moving along a production line that includes the SUV’s gasoline and diesel variants.

According to the South Korean carmaker, the new Sorento is the first vehicle to use Kia’s new-generation midsize SUV platform, and benefits from an intelligently packaged powertrain, where the battery pack is strategically placed under the floor, providing minimal impact to cabin or luggage space.

The Sorento Plug-in Hybrid combines a Smartstream 1.6-liter T-GDi (turbocharged gasoline direct injection) engine with a 13.8kWh lithium-ion polymer battery pack and high output 66.9kW electric motor, with the ability to complete shorter drives on all-electric, zero-emissions power.

On their own, the gas engine produces 178hp and 265Nm, while the electric motor delivers 90hp and 304Nm. Combined, these powertrain components enable the Sorento Plug-in Hybrid to produce up to 261hp and 350Nm torque.

The Sorento Plug-in Hybrid uses the same engine as the Hybrid, but not the same electric motor, as the latter uses a less powerful 1.49 kWh lithium-ion polymer battery pack and 44.2 kW electric motor pairing.

The Sorento Plug-in Hybrid’s power is sent to all four wheels through a 6-speed automatic transmission, aided by a transmission-mounted electrical device that allows the full power of the engine and motor to transfer in parallel with minimal loss of energy. “The result is immediacy in acceleration response at any speed, with direct access to available battery power at higher speeds,” Kia claims.

The powertrain also hosts a range of innovations that ensure the Sorento Plug-in Hybrid is “the most advanced, efficient PHEV to-date” by the South Korean car brand. Among these innovations, an independent battery pack water-cooling system, used in a PHEV for the first time ever, which ensures optimal heat management and efficiency for the high-voltage battery pack.

Aside from the fuel savings, the Plug-in Hybrid also improves on storage space and versatility, thanks to the new architecture that underpins the fourth-generation Sorento.

As for safety tech and driver assistance features, the plug-in offers a range of these via Kia’s Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS). Depending on the market, this suite can include a following Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist (FCA), Lane Keeping Assist (LKA), and Blind-Spot Collision-Avoidance Assist (BCA), Intelligent Speed Limit Assist (ISLA), Driver Attention Warning (DAW), Navigation-based Smart Cruise Control (NSCC), and Rear Cross-Traffic Collision-Avoidance Assist (RCCA).

Inside, the cabin offers an array of sophisticated tech, starting with the 10.25 inch infotainment system that enables full, seamless smartphone integration with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a 12.3 inch high-definition, digital gauge cluster, a 64-color mood lighting system, wireless charging dock, and an immersive 12-speaker BOSE surround sound system.

European sales of the fourth-gen Sorento will commence in the third quarter of 2020. The car will be available to order in most global markets by the end of the year.

The outgoing third-generation Sorento, built on the same production lines, has won several quality awards throughout its lifespan. This is currently the Sorento model available locally, with a price range of PHP1.9 to 2.2 million.

Photo/s from Kia

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