Think hybrid and words such as fuel-efficient, green, economical, environmentally-friendly, good for the earth, and so on come to mind. Rarely do the words fast and quick fit in the same train of thought. 

Despite hybrid vehicles being known to sip fuel compared to traditional automobiles, there are hybrids that combine fuel efficiency with power. With the help of a turbocharged engine, a powerful electric motor, and a high-capacity battery, hybrids can in fact be quicker off the line.

Kia wants to prove just that with the 2021 Sorento plug-in hybrid (PHEV). Serving as the latest variant of the next-generation crossover, Kia claims the new Sorento PHEV is now the most powerful electrified Sorento, beating out the standard Sorento Hybrid revealed several months ago.

Kia wants to prove plug-in hybrids can be fast in 2021 Sorento PHEV image

At the heart of the Sorento PHEV is a 1.6-liter turbocharged gasoline engine that puts out 180 PS and 265 Nm of torque. While already impressive on its own, the engine gets a helping hand from a 13.8-kWh lithium-ion battery pack and an electric motor that doles out an extra 66.9 kW (91 PS) and 304 Nm of torque. With it, the crossover has a combined output of 265 PS and 350 Nm of torque. This makes the PHEV have 35 PS more than the standard hybrid.

Power is then sent to all four wheels via a six-speed automatic transmission that, according to Kia, allows the full power of the engine and motor to be transferred immediately to the pavement. 

Kia wants to prove plug-in hybrids can be fast in 2021 Sorento PHEV image

With that kind of power, the Sorento PHEV is available with seating for five or seven passengers. That means the plug-in hybrid version can carry more people, as well as additional cargo much like the hybrid- and diesel-powered Sorentos. And despite having a battery pack present, Kia says the Sorento can still carry 809 liters worth of luggage (seven-seater) or 898 liters (five-seater) when the third-row seats are folded down. Should the third row be deployed, the hybrid Sorentos can still lug 179 liters of cargo (175 liters for non-hybrid).

With the help of electrification and turbocharging, hybrids are not only becoming more fuel-efficient, but they are now also becoming faster and capable of carrying more loads despite having smaller-capacity engines. But with the Philippine-spec Sorento typically getting the diesel-powered versions, could Kia Philippines offer the hybrid versions as well?