Performance & drive
What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is
Engine, 0-60mph and gearbox
The 'self-charging' hybrid (HEV) Kia Sorento is nippy enough, with 0-60mph taking 8.7sec. True, there's a slight delay between you pressing the accelerator pedal and the car surging forwards, but it isn't pronounced enough to become irritating. The HEV can tow up to 1650kg, which is nothing to write home about (the Toyota Highlander can tow 2000kg).
The plug-in hybrid PHEV model has a bigger battery and its more powerful electric motor gives the Sorento slightly quicker acceleration (0-60mph takes 8.4sec). If you want a faster plug-in hybrid, quicker alternatives include the Audi Q5 and the Land Rover Discovery Sport. Officially, the PHEV can run for up to 35 miles on electric power alone, although in the real world you'll be lucky to get more than 25 miles. The maximum towing weight of the PHEV is 1500kg.
If you jump up to 3 or 4 trim, the larger 19in wheels that come as standard cause the Sorento to fidget more over surface imperfections and thud harder over potholes, although the motorway ride is still very good. These higher-spec versions also get self-levelling rear suspension, which is handy if you’re planning to tow or carry heavy loads.
The PHEV is the least agreeable model in the range, but even that's not uncomfortable. It's just a bit more jarring over sharper imperfections. This isn’t helped by 19in alloys being standard whichever trim you choose, while the extra weight of its larger battery pack results in a tendency to rock occupants around a bit more at faster speeds.