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2021 Kia Sorento embraces hybrid power with new turbo-4 powertrain

With the electrified engine, there's more power than the current Sorento's base powerplant.

2021 Kia Sorento
Hybrid power: check.

The Kia Telluride may have stolen the spotlight from the South Korean brand's Sorento, but the crossover is set to return in a big way at the 2020 Geneva Motor Show. This time, it'll pack hybrid power, too.

Kia on Wednesday announced the first details for the 2021 Sorento's powertrain lineup, and the star of it all is a 1.6-liter turbo-four engine married to a mild-hybrid system. The electrified part of things includes a 1.49 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery and a single electric motor. Thanks to the 2021 Sorento's new architecture, the crossover fits numerous electrified powertrains, the automaker said. Further, smart packaging let engineers stuff the battery beneath passengers, so it doesn't eat up any precious cargo room.

2021 Kia Sorento turbo-hybrid engine

The slow creep of electrification continues with the Sorento's latest powertrain.


Compared to the current Sorento, there are 42 extra ponies onboard, and another 80 lb-ft of torque compared to the 2.4-liter inline-four engine. Here, the electric motor spins out 60 hp on its own. While Kia said the mild-hybrid powertrain is on deck for North America, it's unclear where it will fall in the powertrain hierarchy, or what will handle shifting duties. Kia didn't immediately return a request for comment.

There was no mention of the Sorento's trusty 3.3-liter V6 in today's announcement, either. The optional unit makes 290 hp and 252 lb-ft of torque. However, the brand does have additional powertrains in the pipeline, including a plug-in hybrid version. The automaker will also treat Europe and South Korea to a diesel engine.

The clean-sheet redesign the 2021 Sorento sports certainly looks promising overall. We'll have the full details on Kia's latest breadwinner when we see it in the metal on March 3.

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