KIA’S 2014 SORENTO SMALL SUV IS BRAND’S BEST SELLER

2014 Kia Sorento

By Tom Crosby

Kia’s Sorento replaced or upgraded over 80 percent of the vehicle’s parts in upgrading its popular 2014 compact utility vehicle (CUV) and significantly added engine muscle by offering a direct-injection 290-horsepower 3.3-liter engine standard on four of its six trims.

EX and LX have last year’s standard 2.4-liter engine with 191-horsepower with the new, bigger engine now on LX V6 and EX V6 trims and the top-models SX and SX Limited.

Our test drive was the EX V6 all-wheel-drive, powered by a 6-speed automatic transmission with manual shift built by Hyundai and used in all Sorrento’s.

With anew chassis shared with the Hyundai Santa Fe Sport, Sorento’s ride is cordial, supported by a new H-shaped sub-frame cradle for the independent front suspension and a reinforced independent multi-link rear suspension.

Handling for a nearly two-ton vehicle is more agile than expected, aided by new electric power steering that is satisfyingly responsive. Uni-body rigidity increased 18% this year.

With two-rows or three-rows offered, buyers can decide on cargo or occupant space. The third row is tight for adults; our five-seater provided generous space for occupants and 72.5 cubic feet of cargo space with the second row folded flat.

Visibility’s excellent due to high seat positions and the interior has a redesigned instrument panel and an eight-inch navigation screen that came with a $4,000 Touring Package that also upgraded audio to Infinity speakers, ventilated cooling/heating front seats, blind spot detection, power liftgate and folding side mirrors – a highly recommended add-on for safety and information.

Information comes only after driver agreement it is dangerous to use while driving but it is allowed underway.

UVO (short for Your Voice) is Kia’s voice-activated telematics system and includes Bluetooth and iPod and iPhone connections. It can help plan a trip, play uploaded music, locate points of interest and show vehicle diagnostics – all via voice-command.

The Navigation system isn’t truly intuitive and requires experience to manipulate. Voice recognition was spotty. On one trip, it would not show the shortest and most direct route and Kia warns some data may be incorrect. Gauges are easy to read and the speedometer includes several pieces of info, like temperature and miles to empty.

Control buttons are easy to reach and control. At night illuminated door handles are a nice feature, as are the chimes and “Goodbye” on the dashboard screen when you push-button the engine off.

Kia offers a dozen vehicle choices and is owned by Hyundai. Kia means “to arise, come up out of Asia” in Chinese.

LIKES: Handling, ride, cargo space, visibility, interior
DISLIKES: Navigation anomalies
BOTTOM LINE: Sorento improvements keep pushing it up SUV food chain.

FACT FILE: SORENTO EX V6 AWD 2014

  • Base price w/destination fee $32,550
  • Vehicle curb weight 3,894 lbs
  • Wheelbase 106.3 inches
  • Length 184.4 inches
  • Width 74.2 inches
  • Engine specs 3.3-liter, DOHC, 24-valve, V-6
  • Horsepower 290 hp at 6,400 rpm
  • Torque 252 ft.-lbs. at 5,200 rpm
  • Transmission 6-speed automatic w/Sportmatic
  • EPA Rating 18 mpg city and 24 mpg highway
  • Range 17.4-gallon tank, regular
  • Performance 0 to 60 in 7.6 seconds