I recently wrote about how much my partner and I are enjoying our Kia Sorento plug-in hybrid, despite its handful of nitpicky complaints. The car has proven to be quite efficient for how we use it, especially once we got the level 2 charger installed in our garage, and can get a useable re-charge in between trips during the day. We even managed to drive over a thousand miles on a single tank of gas!

Unfortunately, that thousand mile tank of gas has not been able to repeat itself quite yet because it turns out that the Sorento might not be the most efficient cold-weather PHEV on the market. The reason for this is that all the heating for the cabin of the car is reliant on the gas engine. The car is not equipped with a heat pump (which is usually standard on EVs) and has no electric heating at all. If you are running the cabin heater, or the heated seats, the gasoline engine will engage, regardless of how much battery range is remaining, or what your selected drive mode is.

Kia Sorento heater runs exclusively off the gas engine.

This was not something that my partner and I had even bothered to research or consider when deciding which car to purchase. However, it's unlikely to have been a deal-breaker for us, personally. The reason for this is that we live in Las Vegas, Nevada. We only get a few months of "winter" weather, and even those months are still [usually] not terribly cold. Daytime highs usually hover between the low 60's and mid 50's (Fahrenheit), and we go years without seeing any snow in the city.

As such, the Sorento's lack of a heat pump, and its reliance on the gas engine for heating isn't quite as problematic as it might be in Northern Nevada, or in a state like Wisconsin or Maine. If you're in the market for an EV or PHEV, and you live in a cold-weather region, you might want to consider a vehicle other than the Sorento, as you'll be losing a lot of the advantages of the electric motor and battery if you're driving in freezing weather.

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* This should go without saying, but all photos from within the moving vehicle were either taken by me as a passenger, or by a passenger while I was driving. Please do not try taking photos of your dashboard or dials while operating a moving vehicle.

My 20-year old Toyota Echo isn't a "family road trip" car.

Since my partner became pregnant a couple years ago, we've been saving up to buy a larger family car. I've been driving a 4-door Toyota Echo for almost 20 years, and she owned a 4-door Mazda 3. Both cars were sufficient for commuting around town and for taking weekend trips out of state back when it was just the 2 of us and our daughter. But both have also seen a lot of wear and tear over the years. And with a baby, which comes with a car seat, stroller, diaper bag, and so forth, those small coups are just not comfortable for long trips. Even though I love my little Toyota Echo, and am determined to drive it till it won't drive anymore, I recognize that it isn't a very good "family road trip" car.

We both agreed that we wanted a vehicle that is big enough to transport our larger family, and which has 4-wheel-drive so that we can safely drive through snow to ski resorts for snowboarding and skiing. But we each had other priorities that we had to compromise on. I wanted an electric car, and I promised myself a long time ago that I would never buy a gasoline-powered car if I could avoid it. My partner wanted a large, 3-row SUV. Unfortunately, there aren't many options for 3-row, 4-wheel-drive, electric SUVs. At least not in 2022. There's the Tesla Model X, and the upcoming Rivian ESUV, but those both cost well over $100 thousand. We needed a more affordable options. So I had to compromise on my all-electric priority and agree to go with a hybrid gas SUV, with a preference for a plug-in hybrid model.

These concessions reduced our options down to 2 vehicles: the Kia Sorento PHEV and the Toyota Highlander hybrid. The Highlander is a little bigger and has a 7-seat capacity, which my partner preferred. I've been driving a Toyota Echo for almost 20 years, and my mom's only two cars during my lifetime have been Toyotas, so I trust Toyotas to be reliable cars. I would have been fine with the Highlander hybrid. In fact, if the Highlander had a plug-in electric hybrid model (instead of just a traditional hybrid), we probably would have bought the Highlander instead.

We purchased a 2022 Kia Sorento Plug-In Hybrid.

But the Sorento has the plug-in electric capability, and there just so happened to be one in the queue at one of our local Kia dealerships. We reserved it. Its arrival was delayed several times, and it took about 3 months before it was finally there at the dealership, ready to be driven home. We have so far been very happy with the purchase, with the only real regret being that we had to pay a high dealership markup due to the high car prices in 2022 and the limited availability of this model in particular. Love the car; hate the price we had to pay for it.

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Welcome to Mega Bears Fan's blog, and thanks for visiting! This blog is mostly dedicated to game reviews, strategies, and analysis of my favorite games. I also talk about my other interests, like football, science and technology, movies, and so on. Feel free to read more about the blog.

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