Kia Sorento SUV - MPG, running costs & CO2
Hybrid petrol options expand the Sorento's appeal and lower running costs, but there’s no electric version
The old Kia Sorento was previously available with just a diesel engine, and while this is still offered, buyers will now have considerably more choice. For a start, there's a new petrol hybrid, and a frugal plug-in hybrid model that runs on electric power for a range of over 30 miles.
This will be welcome news for anyone seeking an alternative to diesel power, and the plug-in hybrid should broaden the Sorento's audience, particularly to business users put off the regular Sorento by its position in the most expensive Benefit-in-Kind (BiK) band. The PHEV may be more expensive in the first place but its BiK liability is less than a third of the diesel, which will equate to a big saving over the course of a year – or three.
Kia Sorento MPG & CO2
The regular hybrid Sorento uses an interesting new powertrain based around Kia's 1.6-litre turbo petrol engine together with a powerful electric motor and 1.49kWh lithium-ion polymer battery pack.
It’s no surprise diesel demand is falling when you consider the Sorento Hybrid is officially rated to return 40.9mpg (with 158g/km CO2 emissions), and in our hands managed an impressive 38mpg over 300 miles. That included urban, rural and faster motorway driving – proving you don’t necessarily need a diesel, even if you regularly cover long distances in a day. Furthermore, if driven gently, the hybrid Sorento can remain in its EV mode for short periods of time.
Kia does still offer the Sorento with a powerful 2.2-litre CRDi diesel, however, which is a great option if you plan to tow a trailer or caravan. Around 20kg lighter than before, the diesel engine has also been thoroughly redesigned to reduce its internal friction. It's paired with a new eight-speed automatic gearbox that's promised to be more efficient, with fuel economy of 42.2mpg – up from 39.2mpg for the old model. CO2 emissions have been cut from 190g/km to 176g/km, but this still places the diesel Sorento firmly in the top Benefit-in-Kind (BiK) band.
If you mainly do short trips or you’re a company car driver looking to slash your BiK bill, then the plug-in hybrid PHEV is worth a look. Also powered by a 1.6-litre petrol engine and an electric motor, it gets a larger 13.8kWh battery than the standard hybrid. This powertrain makes it the economy star of the Sorento lineup – on paper, at least – with an official fuel economy figure of 176.6mpg. Of course, you’ll need to charge regularly to come anywhere close to this number; once the battery was depleted during our test drive, fuel economy fell to around 35mpg.
With a fully charged battery, the Sorento PHEV promises a pure-electric range of up to 35 miles and we managed to get close to this, covering around 27 miles on electric power. Charging is simple, with a 3kW home wallbox taking under 3.5 hours to fully top up the battery, or around five hours via a three-pin domestic plug socket. The PHEV is also the pick of the range for business drivers, with CO2 emissions of 38g/km placing it into a low BiK banding.
The Sorento diesel is liable for annual VED (tax) at the standard rate, with the hybrid models taxed at the slightly discounted rate. All versions cost over £40,000, meaning they’re subject to the additional VED surcharge in years two to six.
Insurance is also likely to be fairly pricey, given that the Sorento is a big, powerful SUV. The hybrid sits in groups 30-31 depending on trim level, with the diesel placed in group 31 and the plug-in hybrid reaching group 33. These are slightly lower than those of the smaller Land Rover Discovery Sport.
Ever since Kia launched its seven-year/100,000-mile warranty with the Kia Ceed in 2007, it has been a key selling point for buyers. It can also be transferred between owners for no extra cost, helping boost resale values. The mechanical warranty is backed up by a 12-year anti-perforation warranty for the bodywork and a five-year paint warranty.
Servicing is needed once a year or every 10,000 miles for the hybrid and every 20,000 miles for the diesel, whichever arrives first. The Sorento can also be covered by 'Kia Care' service plans, giving buyers the option of paying for maintenance on a monthly basis.