Kia’s Sorento plug-in hybrid is racing in the 1,500-mile Rebelle Rally

The automaker didn’t have to make many tweaks to prepare the SUV for the race.

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This week, the 2021 Rebelle Rally kicked off with participants in the all-female race embarking on a 1,500-mile trek across the deserts of Nevada and California. Hyundai’s Kia is fielding two modified Sorento plug-in hybrids as part of the event. In the spirit of the rally, the automaker asked LGE-CTS Motorsports, a female-owned shop in Southern California, to make the two vehicles race-ready.

Each one features underbody armor to protect its vulnerable internal components. Additionally, the shop fitted both Sorentos with bumper guards, skid plates and 1-inch spacers to elevate them just a bit higher off the ground. They’re riding on 17-inch KMC matte black wheels fitted with Hankook Dynapro AT2 tires. For carrying equipment, LGE-CTS removed the rear seats to make room for an interior cargo mounting system and added roof racks. Notably, the shop didn’t modify the powertrain of either PHEV.

We’re starting to see more and more electric vehicles take part in endurance races like the Rebelle Rally. At the end of April, Volkswagen’s ID.4 SUV took part in the Mexican 1000 Rally. The company’s Audi division is also getting ready to race a custom-built PHEV at the Dakar Rally at the start of next year. At this rate, it feels like it's only a matter of time before they become a more common sight at endurance races.