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Driving Comparison: Kia EV6 Wind e-AWD vs Kia Sorento Plug-In Hybrid

I don’t know if you’re like me when it comes to choosing a new vehicle, but I make purchasing decisions based on my values. What is most important to me when it comes to purchasing a car is that I choose one with significantly lower environmental impacts (because owning and driving vehicles is one of the most environmentally impactful things we do). Also important: the total cost of ownership (including purchase, fueling and maintenance of the vehicle), utility or functionality, and feature set.

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I own a 2022 Kia Sorento plug-in hybrid (PHEV) and recently had the opportunity to drive my friend’s Kia EV6 Wind e-AWD. I considered buying another fully electric vehicle (EV) when I was last shopping for a car (my other car is a Tesla Model 3), but for various reasons decided to go with a PHEV instead. I’m not a walking contradiction, I swear! I very seriously considered purchasing a 3 row Tesla Model Y or 3 row Model X. I looked at mid-sized electrified SUVs from other brands, too. I knew that the EV6 was coming, but the reason I never considered it an option is the same reason I didn’t consider the Toyota Rav 4 Prime - not big enough and no 3rd row. The reasons I did not buy one of those other 3 row SUVS were: purchase price and, in terms of the MPGe, their differences (or lack thereof) in performance because efficiency and energy consumption guided my decision. I would also say that I like to do a lot of camping and outdoor activities and the EVs I considered would have been slightly less convenient and or capable, in some of those scenarios where I typically would do them. In any case, my Sorento PHEV has a 79 MPGe rating, it is more spacious, and much lower priced than the Tesla or other brands I considered. In fact, the MPGe rating for my Sorento is better than at least one of the all electric options I considered (the Rivian R1S), and is the highest rated of all 3 row Plug-in hybrids in the U.S.

Let’s compare the driving experience and some of the features of these two vehicles. The EV6 Wind e-AWD has much more horsepower and torque than my Sorento PHEV; driving the EV6 is a blast and it handles like it’s on rails for relatively normal to enthusiastic driving on city roads, country roads and the highway (I didn’t take it on the track or anything like that). There was minimal body lean. With its significantly greater horsepower and torque, and with the EV6 being much lower to the ground and smaller, I am not at all surprised that it handles a lot more like a sporty car than the Sorento does. The Sorento PHEV by contrast has enough power for acceleration and passing, but it drives like a typical SUV of its size. There is noticeable (but not overly so) body lean in corners, steering feel is on the lighter side (it seems relatively easy for a vehicle of its size) and the track seems accurate and precise. The Sorento is about 2 seconds slower to 60 MPH than the EV6, and that’s significant. There’s nothing particularly exciting or visceral about the power in the Sorento, it is just perfectly adequate. While the EV6 is certainly more fun to drive, they are both very comfortable and the Sorento may have a slight edge due to its superior head and leg room. I would be happy to take either on a long drive, but the Sorento will handle more people and or stuff but at a more leisurely pace with a less sharp and punchy response.

Both Kia’s have similar safety and convenience features, very similar in fact. My Sorento PHEV does have the dual side view mirrors (great for blind spot views) that this iteration of the EV6 lacks though, in case that matters. Another big difference between the two are the controls for HVAC and entertainment. My Sorento has both physical and capacitive buttons, knobs and a touch screen. The EV6 has an innovative, if perhaps initially confusing, touch screen interface that toggles between HVAC and entertainment controls that switches what the physical knobs do (either change volume or other inputs in the entertainment screen or adjust temperature in the HVAC screen). The EV6’s driver display has a little bit more going on in it than the Sorento’s, and it also looks less like a traditional dashboard, and more high tech than the Sorento’s does (though both are fully digital as I have the Sorento SX-P trim).
Overall, the EV6 is going to better satisfy the driving enthusiasts cravings and the Sorento will better meet the needs of the practical, family hauler adventure vehicle. Which would you choose?

Please leave any questions or comments below.

Images courtesy of Justin Hart.

Justin Hart has owned and driven electric vehicles for over 14 years, including a first generation Nissan LEAF, second generation Chevy Volt, Tesla Model 3, an electric bicycle and most recently a Kia Sorento PHEV. He is also an avid SUP rider, poet, photographer and wine lover. He enjoys taking long EV and PHEV road trips to beautiful and serene places with the people he loves. Follow Justin on Twitter for daily KIA EV news coverage.

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