Kia has detailed the plug-in hybrid version of its new Sorento seven-seat SUV, available from early next year.

The powertrain comprises a 177bhp turbocharged 1.6-litre petrol engine mated to a 90bhp electric motor, fed energy by a 13.8kWh battery, for a combined system output of 261bhp and 258lb ft.

As standard, drive is sent to all four wheels through a six-speed automatic gearbox. it can transfer full power of both the engine and electric motor in parallel, which Kia claims results in “immediate acceleration response at any speeds, and direct access to available battery power at higher speeds.

Kia also claims the powertrain is the first of its kind to use an independent water cooling system for the battery pack to ensure optimal efficiency. The electric motor itself is also coated in a two-stage lamination process to boost refinement. 

Kia is yet to homologate the model, so fuel economy, CO2 emissions and electric-only range can’t be provided. However, it’s claimed to be the Korean brand’s most advanced and efficient PHEV to date, and its battery requires almost no compromise in boot capacity. The Sorento PHEV also retains the seven-seat capacity of the diesel and parallel hybrid models. 

Prices have also yet to be detailed, but we’d expect the Sorento PHEV to command a premium over the standard car, which starts from £38,845. It is likely to be the most expensive option of the trio of powertrain choices. 

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