Kia Sorento PHEV: seven-seat plug-in hybrid priced from £44,995

The new plug-in hybrid version of the fourth-generation Kia Sorento SUV is now available to pre-order in a choice of three trim levels and with prices starting from £44,995 – roughly £6000 more than the standard car.

Arriving in showrooms at the beginning of 2021, the PHEV is described as the “most environmentally and powerful Sorento” yet produced. With an electric-only range of 35 miles and CO2 emissions of just 38g/km, the Sorento PHEV will be eligible for a 11% business-in-kind tax rate when it launches.

As with the standard car, the line-up begins with 2 trim, which features LED lights at both ends, 19in alloy wheels, black body trim with contrasting silver skid plates and USB ports in all three rows of seating as standard.

Mid-range 3 trim bumps the price up to £48,895 and gains a gloss black front grille, chrome door handles, privacy glass, black leather upholstery, eight-way adjustable front seats and ambient lighting.

The line-up tops out at £53,095 for 4 trim, which brings a head-up display, ventilated front seats, a panoramic sunroof and an upgraded sound system.

All models get seven seats, smartphone mirroring functionality, a reversing camera and front and rear parking sensors.

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, which 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.