Why Brittany Bought a Kia Sorento Plug-in Hybrid Electric SUV

Her heart was set on a Toyota Highlander Hybrid, but after a year of waiting, she switched her search to a Kia Sorento. The plug-in hybrid electric was a welcome bonus.

Why Brittany Bought A Kia Sorento Phev

She Needed a  3-row SUV and Wanted a Hybrid 

Brittany was in a pickle. With a toddler, a second child on the way and two large dogs, her Nissan Rogue just wasn’t cutting it any more. She needed something larger and had her heart set on a Toyota Highlander Hybrid Platinum edition. So how did she end up in a Kia Sorento?

Time To Upgrade to a 3-Row SUV

Brittany had her Rogue for more than 8 years and expected that her next car would be with her for that long or longer, so she wanted top-of-the-line features that would go the distance.

She needed a 3rd row that could double as a large space for her dogs, could accommodate two rear-facing kids car seats and wanted something that was more efficient and future-leaning; the Highlander Hybrid seemed perfect. So, she went to the local Toyota dealer and put down a deposit. That was 2021.

For months, she called the dealer to find out when her Highlander Hybrid Platinum would arrive. The dealership couldn’t tell her. A truck would arrive with a load of Highlanders, but not hers.

[The dealership would not order a Highlander for her, even though she should have been able to order the car she wanted; they insisted they would only sell her a car from their allocation of Highlanders; other Toyota dealerships told her the same thing.]

She waited and waited… for nearly a year. At that point she was 6 months pregnant and starting to feel anxious. She would need a new car soon to accommodate her growing family.

Related: 5 things I love about the 2022 Kia Sorento Plug-in Hybrid Electric 3 Row SUV

Kia Sorento Hybrid Suv

The center row captains chairs in the Kia Sorento Hybrid SUV are gold for families. Photo: Scotty Reiss

Time to Shop Around

So, Brittany started to shop around. She looked at other hybrids, but the choices were slim and pricey: Volvo XC90, Lincoln Aviator, Ford Explorer, BMW X5, Kia Sorento. The Sorento was closest to the Highlander in features, interior space and price, and it came with a distinct advantage: it was also available in a plug-in hybrid that generates 32 miles of all electric driving. The hybrid engine gets about 36 MPG, so without plugging it in, it’s still very efficient.

Settling on the Kia, she compared it with the Highlander in back-to-back test drives to be sure it was the one she wanted. She test drove conventional gas-powered models, which are nearly identical to their hybrid and PHEV siblings, to compare interior space and features.

After the two drives, she was convinced: The Sorento was her her. She loved the multimedia system, the light gray interior, the center row captains chairs and the panoramic sunroof. The 45 cubic feet of cargo space was the right fit for her dogs, and when she needs it, she has a third row for two more passengers.

Related: Stylish Sophistication: 2024 Mazda CX-90 PHEV Premium Plus Review

Kia Sorento Hybrid Suv

The elegant design of the front cabin in the Kia Sorento Hybrid SUV has everything you need. Photo: Scotty Reiss

Buying Her Sorento… Not So Easy

Settled on her new choice, she started calling dealers to find one who had one in stock. Narrowing down her choices on TrueCar, she quickly found that there weren’t any dealers in central Texas with a Kia Sorento PHEV in stock and similarly to the Toyota dealers, none wanted to place an order for her; they told her she could wait for one to come in. None were expecting a PHEV but they might get a hybrid.

So, she expanded her search and found a dealer in Rochester, NY with a white Sorento PHEV on the lot. Through phone calls and emails she purchased the car and for an additional $1,000 the dealer shipped it to her. Five days later, she had her Kia Sorento.

Related: The World’s Best-Selling Plug-In Hybrid SUV: The 2023 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV

We Love The Sleek Look Of The Kia Sorento Phev.

We love the sleek look of the Kia Sorento PHEV. Photo: Kia Motors

Having a Plug is a Unexpected Bonus

Brittany is learning the bonus of electric driving: she plugs her Sorento in every day and does her errands, grocery runs, dog park runs and playdates on electric driving, bypassing the gas station every week.

She set up a simple extension cord in her garage to plug in her Sorento and, with a smaller battery and the 32 mile range, it can completely recharge over night. When her plans take her further, the hybrid engine takes over and is still very efficient, getting about 36 MPG.

Brittany loves her Kia Sorento. With one exception: it has a rather loud back-up sound to alert pedestrians. It feels conspicuous to her; it is louder than other electric cars and seems to draw attention to itself.

But, it’s the one drawback. She loves the space, the features and the beautiful interior. And, that she was able to get the car she wanted in spite of dealers who didn’t want to sell it to her.

Car Shopping

Need a new car? Whether shopping for a new car or a used car we recommend using our car shopping service

Tire Shopping

Need new tires? We recommend Tire Rack

Car Repair

Need to get your car repaired? We recommend Repair Pal. Exclusively just for Girls Guide to Cars readers, call (877) 323-1708 to speak to RepairPal Car Genius for FREE automotive repair advice and if needed to find the right shop for you!

Journalist, entrepreneur and mom. Expertise includes new cars, family cars, 3-row SUVs, child passenger car seats and automotive careers... More about Scotty Reiss