We are definitely in the next stage of major changes in automotive technology as automakers around the world begin to move their hybrid and electrified innovations into a wider range of vehicles.
Last week saw the launch of the upcoming 2024 electric Chevrolet Blazer, which is expected to debut next summer with a range of up to 320 miles and loads of power in a more user-friendly platform than GM’s electric Hummer. . I can’t wait to see it in action.
If you can’t wait that long, I also suggest you take a look at the growing range of traditional, plug-in electric and standard hybrid versions of the fourth-generation Kia Sorento, a three-row SUV that debuted Last year. With front-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive options added, there are 16 different Sorento model choices.
Hybrid vehicle turbocharged engine configurations are always an innovative touch, helping to move hybrid technology in a very different direction – part of Kia’s strategy to move its entire fleet to electric somewhere not that far down the road. .
For 2022, the biggest news is the availability of this all-wheel-drive plug-in hybrid Sorento, which starts at $45,190 and features a 66.9-kilowatt-hour electric motor paired with a 1.6-liter turbo to produce more spirited power. of 261 horsepower.
It’s rated at 35 mpg city and 33 highway, with an electronic figure of 79 mpg for its 32-mile all-electric range geared around town. An added benefit of all this is a range of 460 miles, which is especially welcome with high gas prices. Best of all, torque vectoring all-wheel drive is standard and will help make the vehicle a solid choice all year round.
The standard hybrid version (from $34,090), which I drove last year, was already quite impressive, with its 1.6-liter engine and 44 kW electric motor combo generating 227 combined horsepower and 258 pounds. – torque foot. It’s rated at a slightly higher 39 mpg city and 35 mpg highway. And, for 2022, it’s now available in all-wheel drive, to add to its versatility.
The turbo transforms the Sorento hybrid’s character quite effectively and makes it a competent uphill traveler, so I can only imagine the extra punch you’ll find in the even more powerful plug-in hybrid version.
This year I spent time in the updated 2022 version of the turbocharged gasoline-powered Sorento X-Line, an SX Prestige model with optional all-wheel drive, with a base price of $43,090 — add $1,175 $ for delivery. The X-Line is definitely aimed at diverting traffic from the Outback and, like Subaru’s Wilderness editions, has a more muscular, blacked-out look than the regular Sorento.
Kia’s X-Line models benefit from a slight chassis lift as well as their bulkier appearance, and the overall feel does indeed look a lot like that impossible-to-obtain Telluride SUV, but not quite as cutting-edge as the incredible future. Carnival minivan. . For 2022, the X-Line package is also available in two additional trim levels.
The Sorento I drove earlier this year has a 2.5-liter turbo that puts out 281 horsepower and 311 pound-feet of torque, nearly a 100 horsepower gain over the previous engine – but still capable of 29 mpg on the highway in the front-wheel-drive model or 27 mpg with all-wheel-drive. It also has an eight-speed wet dual-clutch transmission, like you’d find on an expensive European import.
There’s also a non-turbo 2.5-liter version of the Sorento that starts at $29,590 and delivers 191 horsepower.
Designed as a super capable, snow-capable summer trail machine with all-wheel drive, a new snow-dedicated traction mode, lockable center differential and even torque vectoring also mean it’s sophisticated and a little more fun. to drive. And with a completely flat dash and slim window pillars, visibility is Subaru safe level, too. The second row seems like the Sorento’s sweet spot in its captain’s seating configuration, with doors that open almost 90 degrees, a comfortable cargo height and a very high view of the road. Plus those weird open-top cup holders. A small third row will accommodate children. For 2022, heated captain’s chairs are also standard on the top SX-P trim.
Andy Stonehouse’s “Mountain Wheels” column is published Saturday in the Summit Daily News. Stonehouse has worked as an editor and writer in Colorado since 1998, focusing on automotive coverage since 2004. He lives in Golden. Contact him at [email protected]