2014 Kia Sorento Review
Is that enough to convince you to join their ranks? CarSoup.com drove a 2014 Kia Sorento to see why it yields a huge amount of loyal customers.
For 2014, the front end became bolder, with its “Tiger” grille reformed and flanked with new LED headlamp clusters. Below it is a deeper lower bumper, upright LED fog lamps and integrated air dam. The tailgate now emulates the Audi-esque scallop dividing the tail lamps and license plate area first seen on the Optima sedan. Even the tire/wheel combination is larger – thanks to eighteen-inch alloys fitted with Kumho tires.
There is a trick to the overall look – though it seems bolder, you still have one of the lowest step-ups in the mid-sized crossover game. This is still remarkable even with an all-wheel drive setup. More remarkable is the fact that you get that fondly remembered thud when you close each door. Something that recalls the car you first drove in – a nostalgic feeling, indeed!
For a luxury touch, the outside mirrors are power retractable. That is a common feature on some luxury crossovers and SUV, but there is a twist in this Sorento. If you unlock the vehicle twice, the mirrors flip out to its normal position. Lock the Sorento twice, and the mirrors retract back. Pretty nifty feature for sure!
Once you unlock those solid closing doors, watch the mirrors unfold and step through the low threshold, you will notice more of the changes created from the work of Peter Schreyer’s team. The instrument panel, center stack and console have been gussied up a bit. More chrome and woodgrain trim add to the level of luxury expected in the EX trim. Inside the instrument binnacle is a TFT speedometer screen with an interchangeable center display. The readouts vary from trip information, fuel economy, audio system readouts and a compass. There are other personalized vehicle settings that can be done within the center screen, as well.
The center stack has improved to accommodate switches that are better to the touch and a huge UVO eServices-driven screen housing the navigation screen, audio settings, reversing camera screen and climate control readouts. The good news is that every switch is within reach of the steering wheel, though some basic audio and phone controls are right on the steering wheel.
In case you have not been paying attention to the infotainment world, UVO eServices is a Microsoft-driven system that connects your devices and integrates them either through the USB port or Bluetooth connection. There is also a lot more available through UVO eServices that could be driven from a smart phone application or further into the infotainment screen. If you wish to just listen to the radio, you have plenty choices including HD Radio and SiriusXM. Sound is piped through ten Infinity Surround Sound speakers throughout the cabin. This could be the best speaker arrangement on a vehicle from a mainstream brand.
The EX accommodates you with leather seating for five adults. The driver and front passenger have enough bolstering to keep you planted. The driver gets power adjustments, including lumbar support. The front passenger can have power seating operation as part of the Touring Package for the EX. Rear seat room is great – the best way to describe the second row space. Third row seating is an option, but it is not a requirement, especially for families of four to five or the active person who rarely plays sober cab. Without the third row, Sorento owners will enjoy a huge 39.6 cubic foot cargo hold. Lastly, the Touring Package offers up a panoramic sunroof with a power shade that covers the entire interior ceiling – a nice touch on clear days and evenings.
The Sorento offers the choice of a four-cylinder or V6 engine. This EX enjoyed the power of the latter engine – a new 3.3litre V6 with direct injection. With 290 horsepower and 252 pound-feet of torque on tap, throttle response is strong and the V6 responds with plenty of thrust for acceleration. Once it settles down onto cruising speed, the V6 is quiet and smooth. A six-speed automatic transmission facilitates the V6’s power onto an all-wheel drive system that features a locking differential. Shifts are very fluid and matches well with engine speed and the final drive wheels.
Early models of this generation were agile, soft and light on its feet. To match its largess on the outside, the Sorento felt a bit more solid all around. This was not an issue of weight gain as it is fine tuning the Sorento towards being more durable along with expanding its capabilities. For riding a bit “large,” the Sorento felt more down to Earth in its feel on the road. Road imperfections, cracks and bumps were absorbed with minimal feedback and road noise. It is softly sprung, which makes things more comfortable for anyone on board.
When you take the curves, the Sorento leans and rolls a bit, but not enough to cause fear of losing control. It is kept quite tidy through most roads. Grip is quite good for those Kumho tires, though they are more designed for in-town and highway use than going onto less stable surfaces. Steering action is a bit light and response could be a tad slow. Feedback is not bad from the wheel. Brakes are very good, however. The Sorento stops well in both normal and panic situations.
The Sorento has a reputation for turning in fuel economy figures above its completion. The V6 Sorento CarSoup.com drove turned an average of 20.7MPG. In itself, this is remarkable considering most mid-sized crossovers and SUV find it hard to break 20.0MPG.
When it comes to the bottom line, the Sorento starts at just under $25,000 for a front-wheel drive, four-cylinder LX model. The EX actually starts at $30,850 with our AWD tester with the Touring Package will set you back to $37,050. If you really want that third row, it will cost you an extra $1,200. The most you will spend on a Sorento is $41,850 on the AWD version of the Limited model.
What is the price of happiness? The Kia Sorento shows that you can have it all at a solid price and space for seven. It will also stand out in a parking lot – even if the lot is full of other Kia Sorentos. Then again, this is a solid performer and great vehicle to have around for any occasion.
**If you are interested in a Kia Sorento, log onto CarSoup.com to find out what is available on sale. **
Photos © Kia Motor America