We really liked Kia’s latest Sorento when the new model was launched last year. However, for company car purposes, neither the petrol nor diesel variants were ticking any BIK boxes, so the arrival of a plug-in-hybrid Sorento with just 11% BIK, is big news in our sector.
The first thing you’ll notice about the latest Sorento, is it’s aggressive SUV looks. The front features a much larger grille than the previous version, with new vertical tail lamps which wrap around the side of the body. The large D pillars are still there, but it’s at the rear where you’ll notice the biggest changes. The rear tailgate offers twin rear light clusters which look very “Bentayga”. The fourth-generation model follows other recent Kia models, with the Sorento model name displayed centrally across the tailgate. An integrated spoiler also conceals the rear wiper.
KIA has added plenty of on-trend tech, with improved kit across the range. The PHEV Sorento is offered in three specs. Entry level ‘2’ comes with 19″ alloys, seven seats, dual-zone climate control, adaptive cruise control, tinted glass, roof rails, 2 x front, 2 x rear & 1 x third row USB charge port’s, a heated steering wheel & front seats, LED headlights, rear combination lights, daytime running lights, front & rear fog lights, Apple CarPlay & Android Auto, an 8″ touchscreen with DAB & a reversing camera.
Opt for ‘3’ & this adds, ambient interior lighting, electric leather seats with lumbar support, keyless entry, a powered tailgate, a larger 10.25″ touchscreen & wireless phone charging.
Move up to the range topping ‘4’ & you’ll find window blinds for the second row, a head-up display, a panoramic sunroof, a Bose premium sound system with 12 speakers & ventilated front seats. But, with an asking price of £53,495, it’s an expensive way to get into a Sorento.
All models get top-notch active safety, which includes Hill-start Assist Control (HAC), Multi-Collision Brake Assist (MCBA), Intelligent Speed Limit Assist (ISLA), Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) with Downhill Brake Control (DBC), Forward Collision Avoidance Assist (FCA) , Lane Follow Assist (LFA)& Driver Attention Warning (DAW). Plus, you get the reassurance of Terrain Mode Select, choose from Mud, Snow or Sand, for on or off road driving.
Interior & boot space
We spent a week in the range topping Sorento PHEV 4. Unsurprisingly, the cabin is spacious & the dashboard cocoons the driver into a comfortable driving position. Nice design touches include four rhombus shaped air-vents, with smaller vent’s underneath & nice design detail above the glove box.
The centre arm rest, door pockets & glove box door are all solidly made & overall, the interior is finished to a very high quality. Storage comes in the form of large door pockets, space under the arm rest, two centre cup holders & a spot for your keys behind these.
Second seat passengers get acres of head & legroom & three adults will fit in comfortably. The rear twin seats fold flat into the boot floor & in this configuration, the boot space offers customers 604 litres. Fold down all five rear seats & this increases to 1,988 litres, slightly down on the standard Sorento, but still plenty big enough for most.
The Sorento PHEV uses the same engine as the self-charging petrol Sorento, so six-speed automatic gear box with All Wheel Drive. But, it comes with a bit more power, 261 bhp, under the bonnet. In Sport mode you can reach 62mph in 8.4 seconds & go onto a top speed of 119 mph. Electric range is up to 35 miles on a single battery charge.
Using a Type 2 AC Charger up to 3.3kW, it takes five hours to fully charge the battery. Our advice as always is to invest in a home charger & plug in whenever you can. http://www.rolecserv.com/home-charging
We recently signed up to Octopus Go, which reduces the cost of charging to just 5p a kWh between 12.30 am & 04.30 am. Typical daytime rates are 13p a kWh, or on many public charge points over 20p a kWh is not uncommon, so spend some time researching & looking for a specialist electricity provider, as this is great way to keep fuel cost’s down.
For a large car; it measures 4,810 mm long & 1,900 mm wide & weighs in at 2,610kg, it actually feels easy to drive. The steering is light & coupled with the 6-speed auto box, the petrol engine offers very quiet urban driving. The ride does feel firm, perhaps due to the car’s suspension, which has been set up to help control it’s kerb weight & of course that 140kg battery hidden under the floor, means that it weighs in at 2,680 kilos.
The claimed electric range is 35 miles. Even when driving in town & keeping speeds under 40mph locally, we’d caution that 25-27 miles is a more realistic figure. And don’t use the battery on the motorway as the range will disappear instantly.
For those looking at a large SUV that offers some off-road capability the range topper comes with Terrain Mode Select, so choose from Snow, Mud or Sand driving modes, which join the Eco, Sport & Smart options also offered. Keeping tabs on our fuel consumption, we spent most of our 300 mile week in Eco mode, returning a pretty favourable 34.4 mpg. We did of course try out Sport mode, useful when joining the motorway & in this setting, the PHEV Sorento’s good fun to be in & for a large car & as we found out in the Peak District, even offers decent handling on winding country roads. Don’t though, expect it to handle like a MINI.
Company Car Benefits
CO2 emissions are just 38g/km so Sorento PHEV comes with just 11% BIK. This equates to a 20% tax payer forking out £1080 or a 40% tax payer £2160 on the 4 spec per annum, compared to £2713 or £5426 in the 1.6 petrol. That’s a lot of money in your wallet.
The Company car benefits are brilliant with just 11% BIK on offer across the PHEV range. It’s brilliantly equipped & the quality of the car overall is excellent. If you need a seven-seat SUV than it’s hard to beat.
The battery makes a very heavy car, even heavier, so don’t expect sporty handling. The PHEV versions are expensive compared to the self charging petrol versions, so we’d argue that it’s a car to lease & not buy & one predominantly for corporate customers.
If you must have a large seven-seat SUV, packed full of equipment, that’s very safe & extremely capable, then the Sorento could be for you. Even better if you’re a company car driver in this position, as the low BIK will save you an awful lot of money.