Kia Sorento adds hybrid, plug-in for U.S.

LOS ANGELES — Kia’s fourth-generation Sorento, unveiled in Euro-spec trim in March, is coming to the U.S. with new hybrid and plug-in hybrid options.

The hybrids use a new turbocharged four-cylinder engine for greater power and efficiency.

All of the midsize crossover’s powertrain choices are updated with the latest generation, and the highest-output engine gets a new wet dual-clutch automatic transmission. The dual-clutch eight-speed unit adds quicker shifts compared with the outgoing conventional eight-speed automatic.

While the base engine on the redesigned 2021 Sorento remains a non-turbo four-cylinder, it’s bigger at 2.5 liters vs. the outgoing 2.4-liter base. It gets a 6-hp power bump to 191 hp, Kia said.

IMG-01The base Sorento offers optional all-wheel drive. It comes standard with a conventional automatic transmission with eight gears — a gain of two gears over the outgoing base automatic.

The numbers start to get more interesting with the standard hybrid, which is new to the lineup. It uses a 1.6-liter turbo engine and a 44-kilowatt electric motor mated to a 1.5 kilowatt-hour battery for 227 hp.

The standard hybrid, offered only with front-wheel drive, is expected to deliver 37 mpg in combined city and highway driving, Kia said.

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