Kia’s first plug-in hybrid SUV has been delayed slightly for Australia… but it’ll be wearing a new badge when it touches down in the third quarter of 2021.

The new Sorento Hybrid and Plug-in Hybrid are due to launch during the third quarter of 2021 as part of the MY22 line-up, a spokesperson has confirmed, with pricing and specifications to be revealed closer to launch.

The introduction of the electrified SUVs will coincide with the debut of the new Kia logo on the Sorento, with no other major changes expected.

The Sorento PHEV was previously pencilled in for a second-quarter 2021 launch in Australia, with the slight delay due to the rollout of the new Kia logo.

With pricing and specs still to be revealed, it’s unclear whether the electrified drivetrains will be offered across the range or restricted to certain trim levels.

Our guess is that the PHEV will be offered solely in top-grade GT-Line guise as the flagship variant, likely priced between $70,000 and $75,000.

The Sorento Hybrid, meanwhile, will likely have to be more affordably priced to compete with the Toyota Kluger Hybrid. Using UK pricing as a guide, the Hybrid AWD should be around $1500-2000 more than the equivalent diesel.

Earlier this week Kia confirmed new details about the new Sorento Plug-in Hybrid, including claimed driving range.

The brand has confirmed the PHEV’s 13.8kWh lithium-ion battery can power it for up to 57 kilometres on the combined WLTP cycle, and up to 70km in pure urban conditions.

Additionally, the European press kit says the Sorento Plug-in Hybrid will emit just 38g/km of CO2.

Both the Sorento Hybrid and Plug-in Hybrid feature a 132kW/265Nm 1.6-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol engine, with the main differences being the electric motor and battery packs.

The regular Hybrid gets a 44kW/265Nm e-motor with a 1.49kWh lithium battery, making for combined outputs of 169kW and 350Nm.

Kia UK quotes combined fuel economy of between 6.9L and 7.4L/100km combined (WLTP) for the Sorento Hybrid (0.6L/100km more than the diesel).

The Hybrid completes the 0-100 benchmark in 8.7 seconds – 0.4 seconds quicker than the oiler.

Meanwhile, the Plug-in Hybrid ups that to 67kW/304Nm from the electric motor and the battery capacity increases to 13.8kWh as mentioned earlier. System outputs for the PHEV are a more substantial 195kW and 350Nm.

The Sorento PHEV claims to hit 100km/h from a standstill in 8.4 seconds.

Key rivals for the Sorento Hybrid will include the aforementioned Toyota Kluger Hybrid, and the related Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid due before the end of 2021.

While the Sorento Plug-in Hybrid doesn’t have any direct mainstream rivals at this stage, it will serve as a more affordable alternative to plug-in hybrid versions of the BMW X5, Mercedes-Benz GLE and Volvo XC90 – though the premium competitors are more powerful.

Stay tuned to CarExpert for all the latest, and let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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James Wong

James Wong is the Production Editor at CarExpert based in Melbourne, Australia. With experience on both media and manufacturer sides of the industry, James has a specialty for product knowledge which stems from a life-long obsession with cars. James is a Monash University journalism graduate, an avid tennis player, and the proud charity ambassador for Drive Against Depression – an organisation that supports mental wellness through the freedom of driving and the love of cars. He's also the proud father of Freddy, a 2019 Volkswagen Golf GTI .

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