Kia Motors has released a new sectional image showing the layout of its plug-in hybrid technology and the passenger and luggage space of the Sorento PHEV. In early 2021, when commercialization begins in Europe, the Sorento will be one of the most practical plug-in hybrid SUVs on the market.
This new image reveals how the large battery, fuel tank, heat engine, and electric engine are integrated into the vehicle’s structure, allowing maximum space for luggage and the seven occupants.
Intelligent powertrain format for maximum interior space
Under the hood of the Sorento, Plug-in Hybrid is a powerful 1.6-liter T-GDi (Turbocharged Petrol Direct Injection) engine, producing up to 180 PS (132 kW) of power and 265 Nm of torque. It is complemented by an electric motor, 91 hp (67 kW), and 304 Nm. Altogether, this unit of power arrives until 265 CV and 350 Nm of pair; therefore, it is the most powerful Sorento ever sold in Europe.
The electric motor is located between the thermal and the gearbox, thanks to the small size and intelligent proportions of the thermal engine. This arrangement allows the Sorento Plug-in Hybrid to operate in an all-electric mode or to use a combination of electrical and combustion power. It sends that power to the front wheels or all four wheels, depending on the vehicle configuration and road conditions.
The high-capacity (13.8 kWh) lithium-ion polymer battery is located under the driver and front passenger seats, housed between the cab floor and the floor of the Sorento. In the four-wheel-drive configuration, the battery is saddle-shaped and sits above the driveshaft. With this arrangement, the battery does not limit the space in the passenger compartment or cargo area of the Sorento, as is the case in many other plug-in hybrid models, where the battery does subtract valuable boot space.
To achieve optimal heat management and efficiency, the battery is equipped with an independent water cooling system that allows the temperature of the battery to be regulated efficiently within its housing.
In addition, by placing the battery in the center of the frame, between the two axles, it also keeps the center of gravity low and improves mass distribution. The location of the battery closer to the center of the vehicle contributes to the balanced dynamic character of the Sorento, both on and off-road, and improves responsiveness.
The Sorento PHEV’s 67-liter fuel tank is located under the floor under the second row of seats, while the installed 3.3 kW charger is located under the loading platform. Due to the placement of these items, third-row passengers continue to enjoy plenty of legroom and a comfortable seating position, while cargo space remains generous.
Space for seven more luggage
The ingenious format of the Sorento’s powertrain creates generous space for up to seven passengers. It also offers one of the largest luggage capacities in its class: up to 809 liters in the seven-seat versions (with the third row of seats cluttered).
The trunk is sized and shaped for a pram plus a couple of suitcases or weekend bags, or up to four large “flight” suitcases. With the seven seats unfolded, the 175-liter trunk can hold the accessories needed for a family day out, like a picnic basket, outdoor gear, or a couple of weekend bags.
The third row seats are split 50:50. They are easy to fold down independently using levers that sit next to the tailgate opening and, in doing so, leave a completely flat boot floor. The second row of 60:40 seats can also be folded easily and create even more space for longer and larger loads, such as sports equipment or, if the buyer is more interested in the home, for flat-pack furniture.
When the Sorento Plug-in Hybrid goes on sale in early 2021, it will be one of the few seven-seat plug-in hybrid vehicles available on the market and certainly one of the most practical. Sales in Europe will begin in several markets during the first quarter of 2021, while in other global markets Kia will be available by the end of 2020. In Europe, it will come standard with Kia’s exclusive seven-year or 150,000-kilometer warranty.