2022 Kia Sorento Hybrid First Test: Is Gas-Electric the Answer?

 While the non-hybrid Sorento offers a broad range of models, Kia streamlined the hybrid lineup into two moderately contented trims. Our test example was the higher EX version, which is far from Spartan but not as plush as the tippy-top conventional Sorentos, and it's worth noting the hybrid only offers a six-seat configuration where the regular version also has an available seven-seat layout. Fuel economy is the main draw here, with hybrids achieving 39/35 mpg city/highway. In comparison, the gas-only 2022 Sorento tops out at 24/29 mpg with the base engine and 22/29 mpg with the turbo four-cylinder—all with front-wheel drive.

 To achieve these strong results, the 2022 Kia Sorento Hybrid teams a 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, electric motor, and lithium-ion battery pack to deliver a healthy 227 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque to the front wheels. (AWD adds $1,800-$2,300, depending on trim level.) The hybrid trades the regular Sorento's clunky eight-speed dual-clutch transmission for an unobtrusive six-speed planetary automatic.

2022 Kia Sorento EX Hybrid 32

The Objective Numbers—And Subjective Opinion

In our tests, the Sorento Hybrid ran from 0-60 mph in 8.4 seconds. That matches exactly the time we achieved in a Toyota Highlander Hybrid AWD, which is larger than the tweener Kia. Unsurprisingly, the Sorento Hybrid is quite a bit slower than the 281-hp turbocharged Sorento, which hit the mark in 6.3 seconds. More troubling than the mediocre acceleration time is exactly how the Sorento accelerates and its lack of power, especially at speeds above 50 mph. There's a bit of a sugaring feel from the hybrid's turbocharged engine, too, which is a disappointment.

 Our feelings were mixed on the Sorento Hybrid's ride, with some noting it could use refinement. Handling is a tough call, too. On our figure-eight course, the Kia turned in a time of 27.7 seconds at an average 0.62 g, a better performance than we achieved in the Highlander Hybrid (28.4 seconds at 0.58 g). The non-hybrid Sorento beats them both with a time of 26.5 seconds at 0.67 g. Our test team praised the Sorento Hybrid's natural steering feel and neutral chassis, but its performance wasn't consistent. "Acceleration was brisk while I had an almost full battery but clearly waned when I got down to one last bar," road test editor Chris Walton said. We also noted considerable body lean.

Because hybrids often suffer from mushy or non-linear brakes, we were curious to see how the SUV would perform in our 60-0-mph test. The Sorento Hybrid stopped in 121 feet, on par with the Highlander Hybrid but a slightly longer distance than the non-hybrid Sorento. Nevertheless, our test team praised the Sorento Hybrid's brake feel and overall body control.

2022 Kia Sorento EX Hybrid 34

As a whole, the Sorento Hybrid's driving experience failed to impress. The turbo gas-only Sorento is the more tempting option, even if its engine and transmission combination rarely serve up a smooth off-the-line start.

How It Is To Live With

At least the hybrid doesn't sacrifice much interior space for better fuel economy. It offers slightly less legroom in the second row than the non-hybrid model, but it has the same amount of legroom in other rows and the same amount of cargo space. Headroom is tight in the third row, although legroom there is reasonable enough—if still tight—for a three-row SUV of this size. The raised floor causes your knees to sit up higher than you might imagine. Bottom line: The back row is best for occasional use.

Accessing the way back is easy because the rear seats fold down readily. The second-row seats go down with the push of a button on the top of the seat back, and the third-row seats drop to the floor with the simple pull of a lever. There's also the option to fold down the second-row seats with a button in the cargo area.

The interior departs from Kia's usual designs. Along with vertical-oriented air vents, the cabin features a space-saving rotary gear shifter. For the 2022 model year, all Sorento Hybrids feature a sleek 10.3-inch touchscreen. (Our 2021 model photo vehicle was stuck with an 8.0-inch screen).

2022 Kia Sorento EX Hybrid 9

Our Sorento Hybrid EX came with a slew of standard safety features, including rear blind-spot collision avoidance assist, rear cross-traffic collision avoidance assist, stop-and-go adaptive cruise control, and a helpful lane keep assist feature. Heated front seats, an expansive panoramic sunroof, and USB chargers for all three rows sweeten the deal. Kia is known for its strong feature-per-dollar value, and although this isn't a shining example, our Sorento Hybrid test vehicle offers a solid amount of equipment for just under $38,000. Looking at value in terms of five-year cost of ownership, the Sorento Hybrid is just adequate. Considering costs such as depreciation, insurance, fuel, and maintenance over a five-year period, our partners at IntelliChoice gave the 2022 Sorento Hybrid an Average value rating.

Kia has a unique product on its hands: a stylish, three-row SUV that's not too big and that provides excellent hybrid fuel economy. But be prepared to sacrifice performance for efficiency. The Sorento Hybrid lacks the wow factor of Kia's other three-row SUV, the Telluride. At the end of the day, the Sorento Hybrid is a solid vehicle, and it would have been hugely impressive just a few years ago, but we now know how much better Kia can do.

Looks good! More details?

2022 Kia Sorento EX Hybrid Specifications







Front-engine/motor, FWD, 6-pass, 4-door SUV


Kia EV6 hatchback review

"The Kia EV6 is one of the best electric cars on sale, with a great range and rapid charging"


  • 300-mile+ range
  • Fast charging
  • Impressive tech


  • Firm ride
  • Rear headroom
  • Smaller battery size not available in the UK

The Kia EV6 is a sporty electric hatchback with a range of over 300 miles, impressive 350kW rapid charging and a 577bhp performance version on the way. It's closely related to the Hyundai Ioniq 5, which is our Best Family Electric Car for 2022. All this makes it a potential favourite in the battle between the Skoda Enyaq iV, Ford Mustang Mach-E, Cupra Born and Tesla Model Y.

It's Kia's first purpose-built electric model that can’t be had with a petrol or plug-in hybrid powertrain. This gives it some key advantages, such as a low centre of gravity for better handling and a flat floor that improves passenger and luggage space.

There are currently two versions on offer in the UK, both of which come with a 77.4kWh battery. The more affordable option is rear-wheel drive and has a single motor with 226bhp, giving it a range of up to 328 miles. Spend around £4,000 more and you get an extra motor up front, increasing power to 321bhp and adding four-wheel drive but reducing range slightly to 314 miles.

We've now tried both, and the rear-wheel-drive version felt every bit as quick as its 7.3-second 0-62mph time suggests. It's very quiet, especially at town speeds, and feels slightly sharper than the Hyundai Ioniq 5. Not only does it look a bit more sporty thanks to its lower stance but its suspension is a notch firmer as well, improving body control but also transmitting a few more bumps into the seats. 

We think the cheaper version is the sweet-spot in the range, because while the all-wheel-drive model is faster in a straight line, it doesn't feel much more exciting to drive overall, has a shorter range and costs significantly more.

Inside, your eyes will be drawn quickly to the curved dual-screen setup for the instruments and infotainment, which spans the dashboard in a graceful arc. Materials are of a good quality too, casting doubt on the assumption Volkswagen still makes the best-quality mass market interiors. There's ample space and lots of kneeroom even in the second row, although headroom does suffer somewhat because of the low roof. A 490-litre boot should come in handy, as will a 40-litre 'frunk' in the rear-wheel drive model.

As you'd imagine, it's close between the EV6 and Hyundai Ioniq 5 but even after we compare them back-to-back, the choice is likely to come down to personal taste. The Kia is more conventional and sporty looking than the quirky Hyundai, with a slightly more precise driving experience. The Hyundai is more striking and a bit more practical, with extra space in its back seats and boot. The Kia stacks up well in its own right, however, with a competitive range figure and interior for the money, making it one of the best EVs in the £40-50,000 price bracket. 

Kia EV6 hatchback - Range, charging & running costs

With a range of over 300 miles and ultra-rapid charging, the EV6 ticks all the right boxes

Kia EV6 range and charging 

In most markets there are 58kWh and 77.4kWh battery versions of the EV6 but UK customers are only being offered the bigger of the two for the foreseeable future. It's a shame a more affordable version isn't available but it seems likely the decision is based on demand. 

The bigger battery offers that headline figure of a fraction less than 330 miles with the lower-powered motor and rear-wheel drive. Choose the GT-Line version with four-wheel drive and range slips to a still-impressive 314 miles, or 300 miles for the GT-Line S with larger 20-inch alloy wheels. For comparison, the Tesla Model Y Long Range has a range of up to 315 miles but costs around £8,000 more. The Cupra Born 77kWh has a range of up to 335 miles.

Kia and Hyundai both appear to be near the top of the class when it comes to EV efficiency, and during a varied test drive on UK roads, motorways, city streets and the occasional A- and B-road blast, our test car returned 4.2 miles per kWh. This would indicate a real-world range of 325 miles, which isn’t far off the official figure, despite using all its various driving modes. In the all-wheel-drive version, a range of around 290 miles is more realistic.

Charging is class-leading, with Kia's 800-volt electrical architecture (the same voltage you'll find in a Porsche Taycan) providing speeds of up to 350kW if you can find a potent enough public DC charger. Do so, and it'll take the battery from 0-80% in just 18 minutes, making long journeys no issue at all. Using a home 7kW wallbox charger will take just under 10 hours for a 0-100% charge.

Insurance groups

The high performance and new technology found in EVs tends to see them placed in higher insurance groups than equivalent petrol or diesel models. The entry-level Air trim sits in group 34 out of 50, which is one band lower than the Hyundai Ioniq 5. With four-wheel drive and some extra power, the GT-Line sits in group 40. The Volkswagen ID.4 sits in groups 20-30, while the Ford Mustang Mach-E Extended Range is in group 37.


Kia is well-known for its seven-year/100,000-mile warranty, which is still one of the best in the industry and can even be transferred between owners. If there are any issues with the EV6, owners are unlikely to have to spend money getting them fixed.


Servicing should be much simpler for EV models because electric motors and batteries only require attention if anything goes wrong. Items like cabin air filters and brake fluid will still need attention, along with brakes, tyres and windscreen wipers.


Kia EV6 hatchback - Electric motor, drive & performance

It's no lightweight but you wouldn't know from behind the wheel

First impressions are also that the EV6 is slightly sharper to drive than the Hyundai, lending it a small edge if you fancy a sporty EV driving experience. It can cover ground quickly, with well-judged suspension keeping everything under control. The Kia's lower roofline also gives it a sportier feel than the slightly taller Hyundai.

We'd recommend against using Sport mode, however, because we found the increased throttle and steering response turn things up too much, making the car feel unruly. 

Kia EV6 electric motor 

There's currently a choice of a single-motor version with 226bhp and rear-wheel drive or a more potent model that has a front motor and four-wheel drive, helping deploy its 321bhp. We tried the entry-level version first, which is hardly slow, getting from 0-62mph in a respectable 7.3 seconds. 

The dual-motor car cuts this to 5.2 seconds and the top speed of both cars is electronically limited to 114mph. There still isn't the crazy hit of power you'll experience in a Tesla Model 3 Performance or Porsche Taycan, but it feels urgent enough.

Like the Ioniq 5, the EV6 is a bigger (and heavier) car than it first appears in photos but it still gets up to the national speed limit in the UK with very little fuss and a sense of effortless performance. It also has instant punch if you put your foot down, providing plenty of confidence for overtaking slower traffic, even in Eco mode. 

A four-wheel-drive GT version is also on the way, which can get from 0-62mph in just 3.5 seconds and carry on to a top speed of 162mph. With 577bhp, this will be the most powerful Kia model in its history, with performance to rival a Porsche Taycan or Tesla Model X. It will have a range of up to 251 miles.

Kia EV6 hatchback - Interior & comfort

Attractive and well-appointed

Kia EV6 dashboard

The dashboard is focused around a pair of 12.3-inch curved displays, both of which are easily legible thanks to sharp graphics. One houses the instrument displays, while the second is a touchscreen for media, settings and navigation, with a ledge beneath it that comes in useful for steadying your hand while interacting with the display. Below this, there's a neat touch-sensitive controller that can be switched between the climate control and audio system with a swipe.

Its design and materials also feel in keeping with a car costing more than £40,000. Fabrics, gloss-black trim and chrome all look the part and, in keeping with the environmentally friendly theme, the seat upholstery uses the equivalent recycled material of 111 plastic bottles per car. A large, augmented-reality head-up display is also available to project useful information ahead of the driver's line of sight.


Standard equipment levels are generous, with LED exterior lighting, 19-inch alloy wheels, rear parking sensors, folding door mirrors and automatic wipers from the off. There's also artificial leather seats, heated front seats, a heated steering wheel, ambient lighting and dual-zone climate control. 

GT-Line adds front parking sensors, tinted glass, upgraded front seats which can fully recline, aluminium pedals and wireless smartphone charging. Upgrade to GT-Line S, and 20-inch wheels are added, as well as a powered tailgate, a panoramic sunroof, heated rear seats, a 14-speaker Meridian stereo and the head-up display.

Kia EV6 hatchback - Practicality & boot space

It's a good size and can even deliver power to other electrical devices

Kia EV6 interior space & storage

The electric Kia has a flat floor, with no transmission tunnel, helping make the interior spacious and uncluttered. There's lots of room in the front seats and you won't feel too hemmed in by a large centre console or towering dashboard, with plenty of forward visibility.

A smooth floor helps three passengers sit across the back seat too, and there's little chance of them banging their knees on the front seats. Headroom isn't quite as good as in the Ioniq 5, though, because of the lower roofline. If you regularly carry tall adults in the back, the EV6 might not be the best choice. 

Boot space

The boot is a useful shape and there's a variable-height floor, so you can decide if you want a smooth loading lip or maximum space. Its 490-litre volume should be more than enough for most owners but it's a shame there aren't more useful features like hooks and a set of cargo nets to help secure items as you drive.

Rear-wheel drive models also get a 52-litre 'frunk' storage area under the bonnet, which is perfect if you want to carry charging cables, a wet umbrella or muddy boots away from the interior. Pick a four-wheel-drive version and this space shrinks to a less-impressive 20 litres.

Kia EV6 hatchback - Reliability & safety

Kia scores highly with owners and the EV6 is loaded with safety kit

Kia EV6 reliability

Both Kia and Hyundai have built up solid reputations as some of the leading proponents of EV technology, and models have sold in large numbers around the world. Hopefully this knowledge will have helped inform lots of decisions to make Kia’s first ground-up electric car even better.

Kia is certainly flying high in our 2021 Driver Power owner satisfaction survey, placed only behind Porsche. It was near the top in every category, and boasts superb scores for reliability and build quality, along with the use of their infotainment. Not only that but owners also told us their Kias were fun to drive and stylish.


As something of a technology flagship for the brand, the EV6 is bristling with safety features. Even the standard version gets autonomous emergency braking, which looks out for cyclists and pedestrians, as well as other vehicles. It also has a navigation-based smart cruise control system that can assist with driving in heavy traffic. GT-Line cars add blind-spot warnings, supplemented by semi-autonomous parking, highway driving assist, an augmented reality head-up display and a system to help avoid collisions while parking.



Tested: 2021 Kia Sorento Is Compelling in Hybrid Form

The front-wheel-drive hybrid version of Kia's redesigned Sorento mid-size three-row crossover packs a solid 227 horsepower and a 37-mpg EPA combined estimate.

The new 2021 Kia Sorento hybrid doesn't make a big deal of itself, despite being the first electrically assisted version of Kia's mid-size crossover. It's got a 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder mated to a six-speed automatic transmission, and it drives like you'd expect—except that the little four feels like it has about 25 percent more displacement than it actually does. In fact, the Sorento hybrid's combined output—227 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque—nearly matches that of the 2020 Volkswagen GTI. Like a GTI, the front-wheel-drive Sorento torments its front tires with torque. Unlike the compact GTI, though, it has three rows of seats and an EPA combined estimate of 37 mpg. Thus concludes our references to the Volkswagen GTI, but we hope the comparisons helped you subliminally internalize the idea that the Sorento hybrid is actually kind of fun.

2021 kia sorento ex hybrid
HIGHS: More power than the nonhybrid base version, 11-mpg fuel-economy gain, modest price premium.

To get the Sorento hybrid's 227 horses out of a 1.6-liter turbo four, you'd generally have to boost the bejesus out of it. Kia didn't do that. But it did pair the engine with a sizable electric motor and a 1.5-kWh lithium battery that enables some neat tricks. Such as producing an abundance of torque off the line and sailing along at highway speeds with the engine off. And, yes, achieving solid fuel-economy ratings of 39 mpg in the city and 35 on the highway. Our 75-mph highway fuel economy test returned 42 mpg, 13 percent better than the EPA’s estimate, and unleashes the potential for a whopping 740 miles of range from its 17.7-gallon fuel tank.

2021 kia sorento ex hybrid

The 1.6 does sometimes lug at low rpm, particularly when climbing grades, as the transmission holds a tall gear and leans on the electric motor for help. But that's a common hybrid trait. As dealership sales reps like to say: They all do that. And as we often say: At least it's not a CVT (continuously variable automatic transmission). Should you desire a lower gear from the Sorento hybrid's conventional automatic, there are paddle shifters on the back of the steering wheel. We doubt too many Sorento hybrid drivers will be grabbing downshifts on their way into a max-attack run at their favorite off-ramp, but in that unlikely scenario, the Sorento hybrid can generate a respectable 0.81 g of lateral acceleration.

2021 kia sorento ex hybrid

LOWS: Front-wheel drive only, some torque steer, reduced towing capacity.

The Sorento hybrid offers no dedicated electric-only mode, but nonetheless it relies on electric power surprisingly often and at high speeds. Light on the throttle, downhill, you'll see the green EV indicator light come on at 80 mph. While its relatively tiny battery means you won't ever go far on electricity alone, this Sorento is good at seamlessly juggling its propulsion options without calling attention to the machinations happening beyond the firewall.

2021 kia sorento ex hybrid
Priced at $34,765 to start for the base S trim, the hybrid costs $1700 more than a nonhybrid Sorento S, which employs a 191-hp naturally aspirated 2.5-liter four-cylinder and an eight-speed automatic. That model is only rated at 26 mpg combined, and the EPA figures that over five years, the hybrid will save you $2500 in fuel compared to the average new vehicle. Your mileage may vary, of course, but you'll notice that those estimated savings neatly erase the hybrid's price premium. It looks as if a half-decade is your financial break-even point, if that's a motivating factor. But the hybrid also is the significantly more powerful option, and that's a worthy upgrade on its own. It won't outpace a Sorento with the optional 281-hp 2.5-liter turbo four that we've already tested, but giving up 0.9 second to 60 mph seems like a pretty fair trade to earn an additional 11 mpg on the EPA combined cycle. The hybrid S also costs $1400 less than the least expensive 2.5-liter turbo model, the front-wheel-drive EX.

For 2022. the Sorento hybrid will also be offered with all-wheel drive starting at $36,965. Or consider the $46,165 Sorento plug-in hybrid's EPA-rated 32-mile range of electric driving with a combined 261 horses. The hybrid shouldn't be your pick if you expect to tow much with it, as its 2000-pound tow rating lags behind the nonhybrid models' 3500-pound max. But if hauling a load isn't an issue, you may as well spring for the hybrid over the standard Sorento. Think of it as a five-year investment in free horsepower.



New Kia EV6 AWD review

The RWD version of the Kia EV6 impressed us, but can the AWD model do the same? 


The Kia EV6 is a terrific electric car, but we’re not convinced that it’s worth spending the extra money on this dual-motor version. It’s faster in a straight line but not really any more involving or capable on twistier roads – so you’re left with a model that commands a price premium, while offering reduced range compared with the rear-drive edition. That’s the EV6 we’d go for.

There was a time, not too long ago, when the idea of a Kia costing even £30,000 would have been hard to comprehend. But the Korean brand has matured greatly over the past decade, to the point where there is currently a very healthy order book for its Sorento large SUV – a car that could cost you more than £50k.

There’s a sense of quiet confidence about Kia’s new electric flagship, the EV6, breaking the same price barrier. EVs still cost more than their combustion-engined counterparts anyway, and the market is also very “green”, with brand equity and image playing a lesser role. Perfect fodder, really, for a company like Kia, complete with the hi-tech backing of the Hyundai group.

We were pretty impressed with the EV6 when we tried it in rear-wheel-drive form in the UK earlier this autumn. Now it’s time to decide whether it’s worth spending the extra money (not far off £10,000 more, in fact) for more power and performance with the four-wheel-drive variant.

The EV6, of course, sits on E-GMP, the same bespoke pure-electric platform as the Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Genesis’s forthcoming GV60. That means 800V electrics, which equates to ultra-fast charging; there’s some debate about the actual speed, but all you really need to know is that when it’s hooked up to a 350kW charger, the EV6 can replenish 80 per cent of its 77.4kWh usable battery in just 18 minutes. We’d struggle to drink a nuclear Costa latte coffee in that amount of time.

The raw stats, of course, are shared with the rear-drive EV6. But this GT-Line S edition has a second electric motor on the front axle, boosting the total power and torque figures from 226bhp and 350Nm to a meaty 321bhp and 605Nm. The top speed remains at 114mph, but the 0-62mph time is now a punchy 5.2 seconds, a gain of more than two seconds over the rear-wheel-drive edition.

You can feel the difference, too; there’s still not the sledgehammer delivery of force that you get in a Porsche Taycan; that will presumably come with a hilarious-sounding, 577bhp version of the EV6 that’s due in 2022. But there is more urgency about the full-size, five-seat crossover in this format; let’s call it genuine shove to match the instant electric torque delivery.


In a straight line, then, the GT-Line S AWD will certainly deliver that all-electric one-upmanship at traffic lights. Around the corners, though, the chassis – while still better tied down than the Ioniq 5’s – is rather less happy with the increased potential. The system struggles to cope with the motors’ responses, giving you an inconsistent delivery that makes it hard to drive smoothly.

 And that’s on wider routes with a perfect surface. Flick the EV6 into Sport mode on a bumpy, twisty back road and despite the decent body control, it becomes altogether unruly, to the point where it’s not really much fun at all. At least the ride quality remains on the acceptable side of firm.

Elsewhere, the cruising experience is similar to that of the two-wheel-drive version, albeit with a teeny bit more electric whine because, well, you’re closer to the front motor than you are to the rear.

And of course, the addition of that extra unit in a car with the same battery capacity means a reduction in range – from 328 miles down to around 300. Our experience suggests you’ll get north of 290 miles without much compromise in your driving style, though, which is solid. Hyundai-Kia’s battery-management algorithms remain among the best in the market.

Inside, there are a few harder plastics but the overall finish is excellent, and the technology fitted is right up there with the best in class. There’s a pair of 12.3-inch curved displays, accommodating digital instruments and then a slick, responsive infotainment system.

The cabin itself has room for five adults, albeit with slightly reduced headroom in the rear compared with the Ioniq 5 – a trade-off, certainly, for the EV6’s more coupe-esque roofline. The boot capacity is 490 litres – more than enough for a family’s everyday needs – and you can alter the floor height. There’s also a “frunk”, a plastic storage box under the bonnet, but the additional motor cuts its capacity on this model to 20 litres, compared with the 50 litres on offer in the rear-drive edition of the Kia EV.

Model: Kia EV6 GT-Line S 77.4kWh AWD
Price: £51,945
Motor/battery: 2 x e-motor, 77.4kWh
Power/torque: 321bhp/605Nm
Transmission: Single-speed automatic, four-wheel drive 
0-62mph: 5.2 seconds
Top speed: 114mph
Range: 300 miles
Max charging: 350kW (0-80% in 18min)
On sale: Now

Kia with new electric models at the IAA showroom

Kia Europe premiered as many as two very advanced electric cars at the IAA Mobility show, which further strengthens its position as a leader and the most advanced brand in sustainable, emission-free mobility.

European premiere of the plug-in hybrid variant of the new Sportage

The main role - along with the global premiere - was played by the completely new plug-in hybrid (PHEV) Sportage, which redefines the SUV as a very economical, dynamic and practical vehicle for every day, and at the same time as a vehicle capable of driving off-road. Another novelty at the IAA Mobility showroom is the EV6, Kia's first dedicated battery electric vehicle (BEV), which, along with its European premiere, represents Kia's new design philosophy and commitment to sustainable mobility.

European Sportage for the first time as a plug-in hybrid

The new European PHEV Sportage, developed on an advanced new platform that incorporates groundbreaking innovations and powertrain electrification technologies, delivers an uncompromising, more environmentally friendly and dynamic SUV package. It combines power and performance with the emission-free power driving capacity that can cover most everyday trips from home to work or transportation for everyday needs.

The PHEV variant is powered by a 1.6-liter T-GDI engine, a 66.9 kW permanent magnet electric motor and a 13.8 kWh lithium-ion polymer battery pack.

The powertrain combination offers a total of 265 hp, with 180 hp from the internal combustion engine. Also new are Kia's latest highly efficient hybrid starter generator (HSG) and hybrid control unit (HPCU). HSG helps improve efficiency and reduce noise and vibration, thanks in part to a high-tech permanent magnet. HPCU achieves improved capabilities, better efficiency and lower overall noise reduction, despite the smaller volume compared to the previous system.

The installation of the battery pack in the Sportage PHEV has been carefully arranged to prevent intrusion into the passenger and luggage compartments. That is why the battery is placed in the middle between the two axles under the body of the SUV, which enables a balanced distribution of weight and brings a cabin that is practical, comfortable and versatile.

The state-of-the-art battery pack has a high-tech battery management unit that constantly monitors the condition of the battery, including factors such as current, voltage, insulation and fault diagnosis. The package also has an advanced cell control unit that measures and monitors cell voltage and temperature.

The Sportage PHEV charges with a power of 7.2 kW, which gives it a high power density of 1.53 kW / ℓ and an efficiency of 95%. The PHEV Sportage is equipped with an advanced 6-speed automatic transmission.

European premiere of Kia's first all-electric vehicle, the innovative EV6

The pioneering EV6 crossover is an exclusively battery-powered electric vehicle created in accordance with Kia's new design philosophy (Opposites United) and also the first vehicle built on Kia's new E-GMP platform (Electric-Global Modular Platform).

The EV6, which is powered solely by electricity, offers a long range (2 variants) and zero emissions. It is Kia's first electric vehicle available with 2-wheel drive (2WD) or 4-wheel drive (4WD). The EV6 in the 2WD version with a capacity of 77.4 kWh can travel up to 528 kilometers on a single charge in WLTP * combined driving mode. With a maximum torque of 605 Nm available on the AWD variant, the EV6 can accelerate from 0 to 100 km / h in just 5.2 seconds.

All EV6 variants have the ability to charge 800 and 400 volts without the need for additional components or adapters. Thanks to the advanced 800-volt fast charging mode, the new Kia EV6 can be charged from 10% to 80% of the battery capacity in just 18 minutes. For outdoor adventures, the EV6 has been given the V2L (vehicle-to-load) function, which thanks to the integrated charging control unit (ICCU) enables up to 3.6 kW of charging power from the vehicle battery via a simple converter that converts the external charging port into an electrical outlet.

The carelessness of the EV6 driver is taken care of by the equipment in which e.g. include the latest suite of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS), which includes a new generation of Highway Driving Assist (HDA) lane departure warning systems, Blind Spot View Monitor ), the Forward Collision Avoidance Assist system, which includes the function of turning at the intersection and passing through the intersection, as well as the new technology of intelligent headlights.

Very comfortable and relaxing seats, two 12.3-inch curved screens, multifunction control switches, the largest space in the class and impressive storage spaces take care of all needs. The flat-bottomed E-GMP platform provides a very comfortable cabin interior that includes ample legroom in the first (1,078 mm) and second redu seat (990 mm). Add to that the practicality and functionality of a family-friendly trunk (520 liters, VDA). Remote unlocking and locking with automatic pull-out of the door handle from the body, various driving modes that improve driving and handling, and a head-up augmented reality screen and ergonomic design provide an experience that always puts drivers first.

Visitors to the salon got to know the new Sportage and EV6 up close

Until September 12, visitors to the IAA Mobility showroom could see Kia's showroom at the Odeonsplatz, where, thanks to virtual reality (VR), they could try out the EV6 in more detail and, of course, get to know the new Sportage PHEV and the new EV6.

* Note regarding range:

The range was measured according to the standardized EU measurement procedure (WLTP). The EV6 can achieve a maximum range of up to 528 kilometers with a 77.4 kWh battery pack, rear-wheel drive and 19-inch wheels. The real range can be influenced by the individual driving style and other factors, such as e.g. vehicle speed, outside temperature, topography and use of electrical devices / units and may reduce it. An 800-volt connection for electric vehicles with a power of at least 250 kW of electricity is required to reach the maximum charging speed. Actual charging speed and charging time may be affected by battery temperature and external weather conditions.

2021 Kia K5 GT First Test: Front-Wheel-Drive Burnout Machine

"Power is nothing without control." That's not a quote from a notable historical figure or philosopher; it's part of Pirelli's marketing message, with the slogan plastered across billboards during Formula 1 races. The point is well taken, but Kia apparently didn't get the memo while it worked on the 2021 Kia K5 GT.

 Funny enough, the Korean manufacturer ships the 2021 Kia K5 GT on Pirelli P Zero All-Season tires rather than the outright performance rubber it begs for. And those tires stick out like pimples on a teenager's face—you just want to pop 'em. However, an excellent and darn quick family sedan sits atop those four hunks of rubber.

Did Somebody Say Power?

2021 Kia K5 GT Line AWD 16

Much like the 2021 Hyundai Sonata N Line we tested earlier this year, the 2021 Kia K5 GT's immense grunt comes courtesy of a 2.5-liter turbocharged I-4 that kicks out 290 hp and 311 lb-ft of torque. Those types of figures tend to be too much for the front wheels of most cars, and the Kia is no different.

Should you manage to avoid undue wheel hop and execute a clean launch, the K5 GT sprints from 0 to 60 mph in 5.4 seconds, just a tenth shy of the Sonata N Line. The 0.1 second advantage holds true all the way to the quarter-mile mark as the Kia crosses the line in 14.0 seconds at 101.8 mph. Although the all-season tires might not have limited the GT significantly during its acceleration runs, the rubber made a huge difference in braking and around our figure-eight course.

Handling And Braking

The 2021 Kia K5 GT needed 127 feet to stop from 60 mph, an unimpressive result for what is supposed to be a somewhat sporty sedan. The Rolls-Royce Cullinan, a yacht-sized SUV that weighs 2,715 pounds more than the K5 GT, stopped 20 feet shorter. Out of every 2021 model-year sedan we've tested to date, just one stopped in a longer distance: the Honda Accord EX-L, which needed 129 feet.

The Sonata N Line also stopped in a considerably shorter distance, just 110 feet, and the difference between the two sedans is even more apparent around our figure-eight test. The 2021 Kia K5 GT's time of 26.3 seconds at an average of 0.69 g was both slower and less grippy than the Sonata N Line's 25.8-second time at 0.72 g. Of course, the Hyundai we tested wore stickier rubber.

How Does It Feel?

2021 Kia K5 GT Line AWD 29
 Without available options for all-wheel drive or a limited-slip differential, the 2021 Kia K5 GT sells itself a bit short. After a riotous first five minutes behind its wheel, the charm of an absurdly powerful four-banger and an equally absurd lack of grip at the driven wheels tends to bleed into frustration. You'd like to stop screeching your way through every intersection and away from every stoplight, but at anything more than 50 percent throttle, the GT is either abusing its front tires or being suffocated by traction control—all the way into third gear.

But perhaps the most telling number regarding just how quick the K5 GT could be is how it accelerates at speed. It needs just 2.5 seconds to get from 45 to 65 mph; that's 0.2 second quicker than a Mercedes-AMG GLA35 and right on par with the 2022 VW Golf GTI. It's also quicker than the Honda Accord Sport 2.0, the midsize family sedan everyone wants to steal the gold medal from. The instant the K5 GT is no longer traction limited, its persona changes from a knuckle-dragging burnout machine into something resembling a legitimate sport sedan.

What About Comfort?

What's more, the rest of the 2021 Kia K5 GT doesn't lose any of what makes the K5 one of the better sedans in its class. The eight-speed double-clutch transmission is surprisingly snappy, and it rips shifts without hesitation whenever the driver beckons. It's nearly as alert as the DSG in the new Golf GTI, a standard-setter for mass-market twin-clutch transmissions. The car's overly light steering doesn't provide much in the way of feedback, but that hardly matters when there's so little grip to begin with.

However, the all-season tires might provide one advantage over a sportier tire: comfort. Despite sharing a platform with the Sonata N Line, the Kia K5 GT's ride is markedly better than the Hyundai's. Around town, the supple suspension tune and squishy tires deliver a sort of calm that contradicts the beastly character lurking under the hood. The ride quality isn't what you'd call serene all the time, and a fair amount of wind noise can creep into the cabin by way of the driver-side mirror. But the K5 GT's poise and the way it handles bumpy ruts make it easy to believe you're driving something much more expensive.

2021 Kia K5 GT Line AWD 11


The K5 GT's interior features a lot of plastic, but it doesn't cheapen the car's appeal. Kia uses some nice materials for the cabin's touchpoints, and it breaks up the plastics used everywhere else. The dash is handsome and boasts a nice screen that integrates with the instrument cluster cowl instead of sticking out like a tacked-on tablet. The cabin is spacious for both front and rear passengers, and the trunk offers a handy 16.0 cubic feet and a wide aperture.

With all of Kia's excellent driver aids, a supportive pair of front seats, and easygoing road manners, the 2021 Kia K5 GT is certainly worth considering if you want a sedan with some hot sauce under its hood. Set your budget for some proper summer tires on top of the car's $35,705 base price, and you'll unlock its potential.



2022 Kia Carnival First Drive Review: So Long, Sedona

No Ferris wheels or fried dough, but the Carnival is good fun.

Drop the fantasy for a moment. As much as we'd all love to project the rough-and-tumble, outdoorsy ruggedness associated with the deep-voiced sales pitches in SUV ads, how often are you really tackling anything more challenging than a gravel parking lot or a dusty fire road?

Buyers in need of three-row seating but who won't capitalize on the off-road Sporting aspect of a sport utility vehicle can get loads more utility out of a less ostentatious, less understood class of vehicle. The clever buyer shops for a minivan—or as Kia is calling it, a multipurpose vehicle (MPV). As much as we love the SUV of the year-winning Kia Telluride, the new 2022 Kia Carnival MPV could be a smarter fit for most families.

If you haven't heard of the Carnival, you're not alone. Kia introduced it as a new nameplate for 2022 to replace its Sedona minivan, which Kia has sold in the U.S. since the 2002 model year.

The Carnival rides on a lighter, stronger platform than the outgoing Sedona and features boxy, SUV-inspired sheetmetal reminiscent of newer Kia designs, including the Telluride, Seltos, and Sorento. (A neighbor even asked if it was an SUV or a minivan, which surely would thrill Kia's designers.) This is also the first model to don the newly redesigned Kia badge.

Cavernous Cargo Carrying

The Carnival is more spacious than the van it replaces, too. With 40.2 cubic feet of cargo space behind the third-row bench, it has 6.3 cubic feet more cargo volume than the old Sedona and at least 6.7 cubes more than any other current minivan. Stowing the third-row seats is easily doable with one hand via a chunky handle on the back of the seat, and with the seats folded, the load floor is completely flat.

Space behind the second row is class-competitive but a few cubes behind a comparable Honda Odyssey or Chrysler Pacifica. The Carnival's second-row seats are removable (in all models save the range-topping SX Prestige), a feature the Sedona didn't offer. To do so, lift a lever under the back side of the seat and fold the seat forward; removal requires no more than average adult strength, but the awkward shape means it may be wise to enlist the help of a partner.

Those planning to frequently swap between using the maximum space behind the first row and using the second-row seats may be better off with Chrysler Pacifica's Stow 'n Go solution rather than wrangling the second-row seats into and out of the Carnival. Once they're removed, however, not only does the Kia have more space behind the first row than any other minivan, but its cargo volume also measures larger than that of the colossal Chevrolet Suburban (145.1 versus 144.7 cubic feet).

Three Roomy Rows Of Seating

But don't go thinking the Carnival is just a cargo van stand-in. The new MPV can be ordered in seven- and eight-passenger configurations, both with ample legroom in all three rows. Third-row access is near effortless with a one-hand pull of a handle beneath the second-row armrest that folds and slides the seat forward; older kids will have no problem operating it themselves. Third-row legroom matches the Pacifica and is a couple inches behind the Sienna and the Odyssey. A 6-foot-1 passenger has just enough legroom in the way back, but their head likely will be brushing the ceiling. Also, the rearmost windows border on claustrophobia-inducingly small.

The second row is really where it's at. Beyond the 40.5 inches of legroom, its neat aspect comes with the SX Prestige and its "VIP" second-row seat. The Prestige swaps out the standard second-row bench for two leather-lined, heated, and cooled lounges that are more comfortable than the furniture in most living rooms. You can slide them way back, to make room for the Prestige's party trick: full recline with power-extendable legrests. Friends compared them to the plush recliners in upscale movie theaters. At $47,275, the Carnival SX Prestige is pricey, but it's less than other top-spec minivans. And it easily represents the most luxurious rear seating experience in any car under $50,000.

Up front, there's an 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system featuring Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard, but that's only on the base model. All other trims showcase a huge 12.3-inch display that's set high on the dash to keep your eyes near the road. Through the infotainment screen, the driver or front passenger can access the cabin camera and the intercom (standard on EX and above), which allow parents up front to talk to and keep an eye on kids in the back without turning around.

Living With The Kia Carnival

For the most part, it all comes together as a well-executed people mover.

There are six USB charging ports in the car (eight with the rear seat entertainment displays) plus two three-prong household outlets and two 12-volt power outlets. Including the wireless charging pad that's standard on EX trims and higher, it's possible to charge as many as 13 devices at once. The Carnival has 11 cupholders, too—no matter how many people you pack into this thing, no phone need go uncharged and no cup or juicebox unheld.

The interior design is just as handsome as the bodywork. Kia integrates metal-look trim throughout the cabin, and leatherette upholstery is standard on the EX and SX. Especially with the Prestige trim's dual 12.3-inch front displays, the cabin gives off real Mercedes-Benz vibes. That said, the metallic trim can cause dangerous glare for the driver in the wrong light. What's more, Kia's overreliance on capacitive-touch buttons for HVAC and infotainment controls can be frustrating, as they lack tactile feedback and can be tough to find without taking your eyes off the road.

SX trims and above include dual 10.1-inch displays as part of a rear entertainment system. The displays feature preinstalled apps for streaming Netflix, Youtube, and Twitch, and there's a kids mode with graphics by Pinkfong, the South Korean children's educational empire behind last year's Baby Shark phenomenon. Factor in the HDMI, USB, and wireless device-mirroring capabilities, and the entertainment prospects are vast.

The rear entertainment displays are not perfect, however. Streaming content through any of the preinstalled apps requires connecting the system to a paired smartphone's Wi-Fi hot spot because unlike its competitors, the Carnival does not include one. In an effort to treat the Carnival as a mobile office for an afternoon, we were also frustrated to find the HDMI input produced a fuzzy, low-res image and too much lag to accurately use a cursor, though Kia insists the examples we drove were pre-production units and this could change.

Kia Carnival Driving Impressions

The biggest surprise from our time with the Carnival? How well it drives.

Kia has developed a new 3.5-liter naturally aspirated V-6 for the Carnival. With 290 hp and 262 lb-ft, it's the most powerful engine in the segment and is tied for the most torque. Paired with a smooth-shifting eight-speed automatic that is rarely caught in the wrong gear, the engine provides ample acceleration. The Carnival is also rated to tow 3,500 pounds, which is typical for this class.

Vans like this need to ride well, too, and this Kia achieves that. The combination of relatively soft springs and tires with plenty of sidewall delivers a plushness that won't wake the baby in the back seat if you hit a pothole. More impressive, though, the Carnival exhibits next to no body roll and minimal secondary ride motions. It's genuinely fun to drive. And when you're just on a highway slog, Kia's lane centering and adaptive cruise control systems are among the best in the business.

That Highway Driving Assist is part of a generous collection of driver assist active safety tech. Automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, lane centering, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, driver attention warning, and rear occupant alert are all standard, even on the base model. The EX trim adds front parking sensors and Highway Driving Assist adaptive cruise control; the SX gains auto rear braking and an (invaluable) high-res 360-degree camera system; and the SX Prestige boasts a blind-spot camera feed in its 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster.

Our only complaint about the mechanicals is the lack of choice. With the new Sienna debuting with a hybrid-only powertrain and Chrysler offering a plug-in hybrid Pacifica, some buyers will be dismayed by the Carnival's 22 mpg combined fuel economy rating. (Queried about the lack of a hybrid offering for the Carnival, a Kia representative said, "Be on the lookout for what's in store. ") Drivers in colder climates may also be lured away by Chrysler and Toyota's available AWD—the Carnival is FWD only.

The Verdict

We mentioned earlier that Kia is marketing the Carnival as an MPV, a multipurpose vehicle. Nothing wrong with that; it can manage stand-in duty as a comfortable road tripper, an executive luxury limo, or even a full-blown cargo hauler.

But consider the Carnival's strengths: smooth ride; thoughtful, family-friendly features; intuitive tech; and a vast, high-quality cabin. Lean in to the stereotype, Kia. The Carnival is an excellent modern minivan.


Kia Rio hatchback review

"The Kia Rio is a competent supermini, but because it doesn't excel in any one area, it's difficult to recommend over the competition"

The Kia Rio has matured rather impressively since the first, rather mundane and budget-focused version arrived over a decade ago. While still good value, the updated Rio is now more sensible than penny-pinching, and a worthy competitor in the hard-fought supermini class.

Best reliable small cars
While it may not be as stylish as some, its strengths are practicality, fuel efficiency and generous standard equipment, not to mention the seven-year warranty that makes any Kia a trouble-free ownership proposition. It's a competent all-rounder and deserves to be weighed up against European rivals such as the Ford Fiesta, Renault Clio, Vauxhall Corsa, SEAT Ibiza, Hyundai i10 and Skoda Fabia, as well as the Nissan Micra and Toyota Yaris.

Compared to the Ford and SEAT, the Kia feels pretty average from behind the wheel. Its steering responses are dull and it doesn't feel as poised or agile as the Ford Fiesta, yet it doesn't have the comfortable ride of the Renault Clio, either.

There are three engines to choose from, our favourite of which is a 1.0-litre petrol with either 99 or 118bhp. This is a relatively modern three-cylinder and it's quite peppy – which suits its position near the top of the price list. The range-topper also gets 48-volt mild-hybrid tech and a clever manual gearbox, helping to make its running costs more competitive. The two versions can reach 62mph from rest in 10 and 9.8 seconds respectively, but aren't quite as quiet or smooth as the equivalent rival engines.

There's also the less expensive 83bhp 1.25-litre engine, capable of returning up to 49.6mpg. Meanwhile, for those who still want fuel-efficiency but whose driving is mainly urban, the 99bhp petrol engine still returns up to 52.3mpg.

Further adding to the Rio's common-sense credentials is its spacious interior. It's now available as a five-door only, so access to the front and rear seats is easy and nobody on board is likely to feel claustrophobic. Nor is your luggage likely to complain of being cooped up – there's 325 litres of boot capacity, which is about 10% more than a Fiesta.

Even the Rio's trim levels are sensibly named, dubbed simply 1, 2, and 3, although the range-topping model is known as GT-Line S. Even the entry-level 1 trim includes air-conditioning, which hasn’t always been standard on the most basic cars in this class, and 2 versions onwards get a new eight-inch touchscreen. It should be noted that you can only choose the most powerful petrol engine in the 3 trim and above. We recommend the mid-range 2 in 99bhp 1.0-litre form as a good all-rounder.

It's clear, then, that while the Rio has plenty going for it, it's no class leader in this tough segment. While many will appreciate its no-nonsense character, it doesn’t really excel in any one area and its rather sedate looks and driving experience mean it won’t be a car you buy with your heart. However, if you're more interested in hassle-free and affordable transportation, there's no ignoring that long warranty, nor the fact that the Kia Rio finished in 23rd place out of the top 75 cars in our 2020 Driver Power owner satisfaction survey.

The Kia Rio engine range has been overhauled for the latest model and all of the engines offer decent efficiency. There's no full-hybrid version to rival the Renault Clio E-Tense, Honda Jazz or Toyota Yaris, but the top 1.0-litre petrol engine now gets an innovative gearbox and mild-hybrid setup to help boost efficiency.

Kia Rio MPG & CO2

The most efficient engine is the 1.0-litre turbocharged petrol. With a manual, it can return up to 52.3mpg on the WLTP cycle, and it's both more economical and more powerful than the naturally aspirated 1.2-litre engine. It's the engine we recommend due to its reasonable mix of performance and economy, and it's a good choice for company car drivers too, as it falls into a low Benefit-in-Kind (BiK) band.

The more powerful version of the same 1.0-litre engine is the strongest performer in the line-up, but owing to its small size and mild-hybrid technology, it still manages 52.3mpg and emits 122-126g/km of CO2. A small battery and generator can add torque to help the engine pull away, while an innovative manual gearbox can automatically disconnect drive while coasting to allow the engine to switch off briefly.

The 83bhp 1.25-litre petrol is the cheapest engine in the Rio range, returning up to 49.6mpg and emitting 130g/km of CO2. In late 2018, Kia ended production of the diesel version of the Rio hatchback. All Rios are liable for road tax of £150 a year.

Insurance group
The Kia Rio occupies insurance groups four to nine (out of 50), with the 83bhp 1.25-litre petrol costing least to insure and the range-topping 118bhp 1.0-litre 3 and GT-Line S trims sitting in group nine.

One area in which the Rio excels, like all Kias, is warranty cover. Lasting for seven years or 100,000 miles, the brand’s warranty offers fantastic peace of mind and should give owners confidence in the reliability of their cars. It's fully transferable to subsequent owners of the car, too.

Kia servicing costs are generally competitive. Petrol models need a service every 10,000 miles or once a year, with diesels needing attention every 20,000 miles or once a year. Kia offers a ‘Care-3’ service pack that costs £299 and covers you for the first three services. For an extra £30, you can get the car’s first MOT included, and for £599 you can cover the cost of the car’s first five services.


Kia Sorento Is Compelling in Hybrid Form

The front-wheel-drive hybrid version of Kia's redesigned Sorento mid-size three-row crossover packs a solid 227 horsepower and a 37-mpg EPA combined estimate.

The new 2021 Kia Sorento hybrid doesn't make a big deal of itself, despite being the first electrically assisted version of Kia's mid-size crossover. It's got a 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder mated to a six-speed automatic transmission, and it drives like you'd expect—except that the little four feels like it has about 25 percent more displacement than it actually does. In fact, the Sorento hybrid's combined output—227 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque—nearly matches that of the 2020 Volkswagen GTI. Like a GTI, the front-wheel-drive-only Sorento torments its front tires with torque. Unlike the compact GTI, though, it has three rows of seats and an EPA combined estimate of 37 mpg. Thus concludes our references to the Volkswagen GTI, but we hope the comparisons helped you subliminally internalize the idea that the Sorento hybrid is actually kind of fun.

To get the Sorento hybrid's 227 horses out of a 1.6-liter turbo-four, you'd generally have to boost the bejesus out of it. Kia didn't do that. But it did pair the engine with a sizable electric motor and a 1.5-kWh lithium battery that enables some neat tricks. Such as producing an abundance of torque off the line and sailing along at highway speeds with the engine off. And yes, achieving solid fuel-economy ratings of 39 mpg in the city and 35 on the highway.

Kia's highly specific spec sheet lists the 1.6-liter as making 177.2 horsepower and 195.4 pound-feet of torque from 1500 to 4500 rpm. The electric motor generates a claimed 60.1 horses and 194.7 pound-feet from zero up to 1600 revs. Notice that those two torque figures are both almost the same and happen at low revs, which helps explain why the hybrid's low-end grunt feels diesel-like in strength. It's simply a smooth, prodigious shove that's out of proportion to the gas engine's displacement.

The 1.6 does sometimes lug at low rpm, particularly when climbing grades, as the transmission holds a tall gear and leans on the electric motor for help. But that's a common hybrid trait. As dealership sales reps like to say: They all do that. And, as we tend we say: At least it's not a CVT (continuously variable automatic transmission). Should you desire a lower gear from the Sorento hybrid's conventional automatic, there are paddle shifters on the back of the steering wheel.

The Sorento hybrid offers no dedicated electric-only mode, but nonetheless it relies on electric power surprisingly often and at high speeds. Light on the throttle, downhill, you'll see the green EV indicator light come on at 80 mph. While its relatively tiny battery means you won't ever go far on electricity alone, this Sorento is good at seamlessly juggling its propulsion options without calling attention to the machinations happening beyond the firewall.

Priced at $34,760 to start for the base S trim, the hybrid costs $1700 more than a non-hybrid Sorento S, which employs a 191-hp naturally aspirated 2.5-liter four-cylinder and an eight-speed automatic. That model is only rated for 26 mpg combined, and the EPA figures that over five years, the hybrid will save you $1750 in fuel. Your mileage may vary, of course, but you'll notice that those estimated savings neatly erase the hybrid's price premium. It looks as if a half-decade is your financial break-even point, if that's a motivating factor. But the hybrid also is the significantly more powerful option, and that's a worthy upgrade on its own. Just don't expect it to outpace the nonhybrid Sorento's optional 281-hp 2.5-liter turbo-four that we've already driven.

In terms of drawbacks, the Sorento hybrid has a couple. It's only available as a front-driver, so if all-wheel drive is nonnegotiable you'll need to look elsewhere—or wait for the upcoming plug-in hybrid variant that drives all four of its wheels with a combined 261 horses and a significantly larger battery. The hybrid also shouldn't be your pick if you expect to tow much with it, as its 2000-pound tow rating lags behind the nonhybrid models' 3500-pound max. But if neither of those factors is an issue, you may as well spring for the hybrid over the standard Sorento. Think of it as a five-year investment in free horsepower.



Kia Forte GT Review: Basically Fun

The verdict: Compact cars are often purchased as basic transit, and the 2020 Kia Forte answers that call, but if you splurge for a GT trim you’ll get a bit of inexpensive fun without sacrificing everyday drivability.

Versus the competition: Some compact sedans offer versions with sporty appearance packages that fail to deliver on the fun mechanics, but the Forte GT is not guilty of that. Its performance and cabin upgrades deliver enough action to help the car stand out yet keep costs reasonable.

The Forte competes in the compact sedan class against the likes of the Honda Civic, Hyundai Elantra and Toyota Corolla; see them compared. Each of those cars offers an enthusiast version: the Civic Si, Elantra N Line and Corolla Apex.

Kia’s compact sedan was redesigned for 2019 and has seen few changes since. The biggest was 2020’s addition of a sport-oriented GT trim level with a new turbocharged engine and sport suspension.

Peppy and Playful

The Forte GT is pleasantly peppy. Its upgraded engine — a 201-horsepower, turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder — hustles fairly quickly off the line, and you’ll hear it; the throaty exhaust note comes on strong and is a nice complement to the engine’s added oomph. The four-cylinder is paired with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission that behaves nicely, with well-timed, smooth shifts; a six-speed manual is also available. Other Forte trim levels make do with the standard 147-hp, 2.0-liter four-cylinder and continuously variable automatic transmission.

Regardless of whether you choose the manual or automatic transmission, the GT’s added fun will cost you 3 mpg combined versus the standard engine: The regular Forte 2.0-liter is EPA-rated 31 or 33 mpg combined with the manual and CVT, respectively, while the GT is rated 28 or 30 mpg, respectively. The Forte GT and Elantra N Line are a bit thirstier with a manual than is the Civic Si, which is rated 30 mpg combined, but they offer more efficient automatics, which the Honda lacks. The Corolla Apex tops them all at 32 mpg with a stick shift and 34 mpg with an automatic, but it comes with trade-offs I’ll address below.

The Forte’s selectable driving modes alter its character quite a bit — for better and for worse. For extra responsiveness, pop it into Sport mode for more aggressive acceleration response and shift timing. Smart mode is designed to save gas, and it dulls acceleration and overall responsiveness.

Besides its unique drivetrain, the GT also gets a sport-tuned suspension. It handles nicely; the firm suspension deftly navigates curves with little lean, and there’s adequate shock absorption over bumps. Its steering has a quickness that further helps deliver a playful, connected-to-the-road feel.

The Forte GT is fairly well matched in terms of power against the Honda Civic Si and Hyundai Elantra N Line, which shares its engine with the Forte GT. (This comparison is most relevant because their weights are relatively similar.) Toyota’s sport-oriented version of the Corolla disappoints; like the others, the Corolla Apex has the added visual flair of a sport model and some suspension upgrades, but not enough performance goodies to make it much more entertaining to drive than a regular Corolla — which is to say, about as fun as attending a condo board meeting.

Clean, Sporty Cabin

The Forte’s clean, horizontal dashboard design appeals for its simplicity; elsewhere, the cabin strikes a jazzy tone with sport seats with red contrast stitching, a flat-bottom steering wheel, and pops of glossy black trim on the dash and doors. There’s some hard plastic on the door panels and at knee level, but most surfaces feel decently padded.

The sedan’s multimedia system is also well-done. The standard tabletlike 8-inch touchscreen sits high on the dash for good visibility. It’s responsive, and the system’s clear graphics and straightforward menu structure simplify operation.

Under the screen are several physical climate controls, which are also located within easy reach. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone integration are standard, and a wireless charging tray for compatible phones is optional. Other available features include heated and ventilated front seats and a 320-watt Harman Kardon premium audio system.

The Forte is mid-pack in both backseat headroom and legroom, but it loses points for child-safety seat accommodations. Front legroom is tight when rear-facing car seats are in place, and installation isn’t easy; the lower Latch anchors are buried in stiff upholstery and require some muscle to access. Other compact sedans have similar legroom issues but easier-to-access Latch anchors.

According to manufacturer specifications, the Forte’s trunk space is slightly larger than its competitors’ at 15.3 cubic feet. In practice, though, it’s disappointing. The trunk is deep, but the opening isn’t very tall, so fitting anything other than small items inside is tough. Its hinges also intrude into the space, potentially crushing cargo. Its cargo net, however, is a nice way to keep smaller items from rolling around (and getting crushed).

Safety and Value

The 2020 Kia Forte is well-equipped with a lot of standard safety features. All models get a forward collision warning system with automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, lane keep assist and a driver attention warning system.

Upper trim levels get even more standard safety equipment: a blind spot warning system with lane change assist and rear cross-traffic alert is standard on EX, GT-Line and GT trims. On the GT, adaptive cruise control and a reverse parking distance warning system are optional; they’re unavailable on other trims.

Competitors offer similar levels of standard and available safety features, but the Forte GT costs a lot less. With the automatic, it starts at $23,655 — lower than automatic versions of the Elantra N Line ($26,195) and Corolla Apex ($26,065). The Civic Si — which comes only with a manual transmission — starts at $26,155 in sedan trim. All prices include destination charges.

Budget is usually top-of-mind for compact sedan shoppers, but those willing to spend a little extra for fun will get just that with the Kia Forte GT.


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