Hybrid or Gas: Which Kia Sorento Powertrain Is Right for You?

Published: 04/12/2024

A grey 2024 Kia Sorento driving through a river.

Drivers searching for a Kia Sorento for sale near Rainbow City, AL, have multiple powertrain options to get the most from their SUV. The Kia Sorento already is one of the more unique vehicles in the midsize crossover segment, being smaller than the Kia Telluride but still having third-row seating to fit the whole family or crew. By offering the Sorento in gas-powered and hybrid options, there are two ways to experience the thrills of cruising down I-59, navigating the backroads of Bristow Cove, or exploring the Forest Service roads of the Talladega National Forest.

Though they share the Sorento name, the two vehicles have some big differences, including how they drive, how far you can go, and what goodies come along for the ride. Which Kia Sorento powertrain should you look at to fulfill your daily driving needs and sense of adventure? This Kia Sorento guide from the Kia Store Rainbow City team has what you need to know before you decide.

Sorento Gas: Maximum Power and Tech

For more than 20 years, the Kia Sorento gas engine has been a tried and true powerplant. Now on the fourth generation introduced for the 2021 model year, this vehicle has an impressive setup for rolling through Southside, wandering down Crane Motorway, and everything in between.

You can choose between two engines: the base 2.5L I-4 or a more powerful turbocharged version of this engine. The standard engine has 191 hp and 181 lb-ft of torque, enough for daily commuting and some mild off-road action. If you want to get serious on the streets and the gravel, the turbocharged I-4 has 281 hp and 311 lb-ft of torque. That’s more powerful than many competitors, such as the Subaru Outback and Jeep Grand Cherokee, giving you plenty of pep to ramble over rougher terrain or simply get ahead quickly at traffic lights.

Both engines are connected to eight-speed transmissions, but the turbo engine uses a dual-clutch transmission instead of a traditional automatic. This enables faster shifting, less power interruption, and better fuel economy. Front-wheel drive (FWD) is standard, with the option on most trims to upgrade to torque-vectoring all-wheel drive (AWD) for better traction in bad weather or soft surfaces. Towing capacity is 2,000 lbs for the standard engine and 4,500 lbs for the turbo, meaning people who want to haul their boats to the Coosa River will find a Sorento that can do it.

The 2024 Sorento has also received a major technology overhaul. Each trim now sports a 12.3-inch infotainment touchscreen, up from eight and 10.3 inches in 2023 models. All trims have wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, satellite radio, and USB-C charging ports for all three rows. The exterior has been updated with a larger grille, bigger LED projector headlights, and a swank new hood. There are also new controls and upholstery color options for the interior.

Another thing to like about the 2024 Kia Sorento is the variety of trim levels to accommodate Rainbow City drivers. The LX, S, EX, SX, and SX Prestige trims offer increasing levels of driving capability and technology. You can add the X-Line or X-Pro off-road packages on higher trims for even more power and style. The X-Line package includes a center-locking differential to evenly split power between the front and rear wheels for better traction on loose surfaces. It also adds large 20-inch wheels and roof rails for attaching equipment. The X-Pro goes two steps further with increased ground clearance for clearing obstacles, all-terrain tires for better off-road grip, a panoramic sunroof to enjoy the sunny Alabama sky, and other add-ons.

A grey 2024 Kia Sorento Hybrid for sale parked with a mountain view.

Sorento Hybrid: Extraordinary Range and Efficiency

It’s easy to lose yourself in an adventure and drive for hours without stopping. If you don’t want that bliss to be interrupted by the gas tank running dry, then the Kia Sorento Hybrid is for you. Combining the gas powertrain with a hybrid electric drive system significantly increases fuel economy, extending the distance between fill-ups. Since the battery recharges as you drive, you never need to find a place to plug it in.

How big is the jump? Depending on the configuration, EPA estimates for the Kia Sorento gas powertrain range from 23 to 26 combined MPG, with a max of 31 MPG on the highway for the FWD non-turbo model. On the other hand, the Kia Sorento Hybrid gets an EPA-estimated 37 combined MPG in FWD and 34 MPG in AWD. Not only that, but it also gets slightly better fuel mileage in city driving. Electric motors excel in slow stop-and-go driving and don’t use fuel while sitting still like gas engines do. The Sorento Hybrid can go up to 655 miles on a single tank of gas. That’s enough to drive to Mobile and back without stopping for fuel.

On the other hand, the Sorento Hybrid doesn’t have as much potential power as the gas-powered Kia Sorento. The Hybrid only has a single engine option, a 1.6L turbocharged I-4 that works with the hybrid electric motor. Together, they generate 227 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque, better than the standard gas engine but well below the turbocharged 2.5L. There is also a Sorento Plug-In Hybrid model. This is functionally similar to the standard Sorento Hybrid but allows you to plug it into a standard EV charger to top off the hybrid battery. This can be handy if you want to extend your range while relying solely on the electric drive system. It also bumps performance to 261 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque, but the total range drops to 430 miles. The Sorento Plug-In Hybrid is best for short commutes in the city, where range is less of a factor.

Sorento Hybrid buyers are limited to two trim options, the EX and the SX Prestige, with no off-road packages available. Towing capacity is limited to the standard 2,000 lbs. The Hybrid also trails the regular Kia Sorento in terms of technology and styling. Many of the updates to the gas-powered 2024 Sorento, including the larger infotainment screen and exterior styling, are absent from the 2024 Sorento Hybrid. These features are expected to be added to the 2025 Hybrid model. Still, this delay is worth considering if you’re in the market for a Kia Sorento right now.

A grey 2024 Kia Sorento is parked overlooking a forest view on gravel.

The Verdict

Whether you’re more of an over-the-road or off-the-road adventurer, there is a Kia Sorento you and your crew will love. The gas and hybrid versions have a lot going for them, including a full suite of driver assistance features, excellent cargo room, solid legroom, and all-important third-row seating. Which vehicle you should buy depends on your driving preferences and which fits your needs better.

If you’re a more serious off-roader, a diehard technophile, or someone who wants to easily tow toys and small campers, get the gas-powered Sorento. Those who want to drive all day, get excellent fuel economy, and don’t necessarily need the extra power or more advanced off-roading features should make the Sorento Hybrid their next ride. Do you want fuel efficiency and the latest infotainment and style in one package? The forthcoming 2025 Kia Sorento Hybrid may be the right vehicle for you.

Get Your Kia Sorento in Rainbow City

You will find the perfect vehicle at Kia Store Rainbow City regardless of your powertrain. We’ve served the region since 2009 with excellent value and a great buying experience. As a full-service dealership, we are here to get you started on your automotive journey with the right new or certified pre-owned midsize crossover. Call us at (256) 442-3232 or use our online form to schedule a test drive. Our showroom is open Monday through Saturday, so you can try out a Kia Sorento at a time that works for you.

Posted in: Kia Sorento For Sale