Thankfully, most manufacturers have rolled out a number of large hybrid seven-seat SUVs to help reduce your fuel costs without sacrificing size, performance or equipment.
In the interest of the best-possible comparison, we’ll be taking a look at the closest-matched variants on price, which pits the Kluger GXL Hybrid and the Kia Sorento GT-Line head-to-head; let’s find out which is the better option.
How Much Do They Cost?
The cheapest Toyota Kluger hybrid is priced at $54,150 for the GX Hybrid, whereas our test mule here, the mid-range Kluger GXL Hybrid AWD is priced at $63,350.
The cheapest Kia Sorento Hybrid comes in the form of the GT-Line HEV which is priced at $66,750, while the all-wheel drive Sorento GT-Line Hybrid receives a price tag of $69,750.
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Toyota Kluger (GXL HYBRID AWD) Specifications
|Variant||GXL HYBRID AWD|
|Fuel type||PREMIUM UNLEADED/ELECTRIC|
|Engine configuration||VARIABLE DOUBLE OVERHEAD CAM / 16 valves|
|Engine RPM||6000 / 4400|
|Fuel tank size||65.0|
|Fuel usage specs||5.6 / 0|
|ANCAP security rating||5|
For more details and other variants, check Toyota Kluger car page.
Kia Sorento (GT-LINE 7 SEAT HEV AWD) Specifications
|Variant||GT-LINE 7 SEAT HEV AWD|
|Fuel type||UNLEADED PETROL/ELECTRIC|
|Transmission||6 SP AUTO SPORTS-MAT|
|Engine configuration||VARIABLE DOUBLE OVERHEAD CAM / 16 valves|
|Engine RPM||5500 / 1500|
|Fuel tank size||67.0|
|Fuel usage specs||5.8 / 0|
|ANCAP security rating||5|
For more details and other variants, check Kia Sorento car page.
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What Features Does the Toyota Kluger GXL Hybrid Have?
The Kluger GXL comes riding on 18-inch alloys and receives LED head & tail lights, leatherette upholstery with heated front seats, a powered boot lift, tri-zone climate control, keyless entry & start, a reversing camera with front and rear parking sensors, adaptive cruise control and an 8.0-inch infotainment system with DAB+, Apple CarPlay & Android Auto.
Toyota Kluger Colours
The Toyota Kluger range is available in a choice of Frosted White, Atomic Rush, Graphite, Liquorice Brown, Saturn Blue, Galena Blue, Silver Storm, and Eclipse Black.
Kia Sorento Features
Kia’s hybrid Sorento is available in range-topping GT-line specs only, which receives 19-inch alloys, LED head & tail lights, quilted Nappa leather upholstery with heated and ventilated front seats, a panoramic sunroof, surround-view camera with parking sensors, wireless smartphone charging, adaptive cruise control, a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, head-up display and a 10.25-inch infotainment system with Apple CarPlay & Android Auto.
Kia Sorento Colours
The Sorento Hybrid is available in Clear White, Silky Silver, Steel Grey, Gravity Blue, Aurora Black, Mineral Blue and Snow White Pearl colour finishes.
Which is the Best to Drive?
Let’s start off by stating something important: while they both utilise hybrid engines for power, drivers can, thankfully, expect to make no major sacrifices in terms of everyday driving power and comfort in both the Kluger and Sorento Hybrid.
They might lack the immediate punch of their V6 siblings, but they claw back when it comes to the fuel savings we’ll cover later.
We’ll start off with the Toyota, which comes powered by a 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol powering a pair of e-motors up front, and one over the rear axle that produces a combined 184kW of power, which is paired with a CVT automatic.
The driving experience is smooth, with adequate acceleration and a stable ride quality thanks to the all-wheel drive platform that makes the Kluger a more refined package overall.
The Kluger’s ride quality is comfortable for everyone in the cabin, and while it’s prone to swash around on some rougher surfaces, overall it offers a nice platform that feels at home on daily drives and long holiday road trips.
Moving to the Kia Sorento, it’s immediate that while Toyota has enjoyed a huge head-start in terms of hybrid drivetrains, the Sorento has closed the gap in a very short period of time.
The Sorento comes packing a 1.6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder paired with a single electric motor that produces a combined 169kW of power and 350Nm of torque paired with a six-speed automatic transmission.
This puts it slightly down on power compared to the Kluger, although the difference on the road feels negligible.
Overall, the driving comfort in the Sorento is fabulous thanks to Kia taking the time to test and tune its vehicles specifically for Australian roads, with the platform performing slightly better than the Kluger on a variety of surfaces.
It retains all the hallmarks of a user-friendly SUV thanks to its lightweight steering rack and a heap of technology that takes the guesswork out of navigating a large SUV in tight spaces.
In terms of all-around driving, though, the Kluger still reigns supreme, primarily thanks to the slightly more sophisticated hybrid system offering a small power advantage, combined with the stability of an all-wheel drive platform as standard that you’ll need to pay extra for in the Sorento Hybrid.
Which has Better Towing Stats?
If you’re looking to get out and about in your hybrid SUV, the Toyota Kluger Hybrid is a better option than the Kia Sorento Hybrid thanks to its superior 2,000kg braked towing capacity, over the Sorento’s 1,650kg limit.
Which is More Practical and Spacious?
The gap between the two gets even finer when you step inside their massive cabins and take a look at the amount of space and practical elements that have been incorporated into the design.
Starting with the Toyota Kluger, you’ll find a more restrained cabin design that treats the driver and front passenger to a heap of head and shoulder room.
The Kluger receives a large centre tunnel with a pair of cupholders, a huge folding armrest with storage inside, and tiers of storage in the dashboard and in front of the front passenger that round out the family-friendly nature in the front of the cabin.
Meanwhile, the second row is capable of swallowing up even the tallest of adults, with the addition of ISOFIX anchors in the second and third row for transporting an army of young toddlers.
Third-row space in the Kluger isn’t groundbreaking, but it makes for a true seven-seat SUV experience that offers a 241L boot with the third-row standing, expanding to 552L and 1,150L with the third and second rows folded flat.
Move to the Kia Sorento Hybrid and you’ll find a more modern interior design that is stacked with storage options for growing families.
Kia’s designers have come up with a stack of practical elements that give the Sorento a more family-focused nature, with a large centre tunnel, a tonne of room inside the folding armrest, huge door bins on either side and three tiers of storage for loose items.
The two are evenly matched when it comes to space and comfort up front, although the Kia offers some clever storage options that the Kluger can’t match, while the second row gains its own climate settings and a trio of USB ports.
The second row of the Sorento Hybrid offers acres of head and legroom, making for a great place for tall adults to sit comfortably for long journeys, while the addition of leather upholstery feels more premium, but could be risky depending on the age of your kids.
The clever seats can recline, and slide forward at the touch of a button to open access to the third row, which offers a similar amount of space as the Kluger in that it’s primarily for young children.
All things considered, the Kia Sorento takes the cake when it comes to interior detailing and clever, practical packaging designs that will make a huge difference for large families, all while offering more boot space with the third-row folded.
It feels slightly more curated for families and takes the overall win for space and practicality.
What is the Safest Option?
Both the Toyota Kluger and Kia Sorento have been awarded five-star ANCAP safety ratings, and come feature-packed with active safety tech.
The Toyota Kluger Hybrid offers autonomous emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alerts, adaptive cruise control, reversing camera with parking sensors, emergency steering assist and seven airbags as standard.
The Sorento GT-Line comes fully equipped with more active safety tech than the Kluger, with a surround-view monitor, blind-spot view monitor and parking collision avoidance sitting atop the Kluger’s safety equipment, making it the better option when it comes to safety equipment for the money.
Which has the Most Fuel Efficient Hybrid Engine?
The Kia Sorento in a front-wheel drive format offers the best fuel economy figures at 5.6L per 100km, although head-to-head in AWD formats, the Kluger is the better option for fuel efficiency.
The Kluger Hybrid AWD consumes 5.6L per 100km on a combined cycle compared to the 5.8L/100km of the Sorento HEV AWD, making it the winner by a very narrow margin.
Our Verdict: Toyota Kluger Hybrid vs Kia Sorento Hybrid
With an extremely narrow margin between the two, the winner of our head-to-head goes to the Toyota Kluger.
With a more sophisticated hybrid engine, better fuel economy figures, a spacious and practical interior and more competitive pricing, the Kluger range offers buyers slightly more variety within the range than the current Sorento hybrid lineup.
That said, the latest Sorento Hybrid is an extremely family-friendly seven-seat SUV that offers more practical elements than the Kluger, as well as more safety equipment as standard.
As a result, we’d recommend you add both the Kluger and Sorento to your shortlist of the best hybrid seven-seat SUVs on the market.
Toyota Kluger & Kia Sorento Competition
Toyota Kluger Hybrid and Kia Sorento Hybrid