Review: 2014 Kia Sorento
The Kia Sorento underwent a facelift for the 2014 model year with a redesigned exterior, loads of new options, upgraded standard equipment, and one thing we can’t get enough of, more power.
Under the Hood:
The Sorento is Kia’s entry into the mid-size crossover market. Manufactured since 2002, the 2014 Sorento has undergone a major facelift which goes beyond the cosmetic to include several standard and optional features making it a strong competitor in the field.
The standard engine in the LX and EX trim lines got a slight upgrade from the previous 2.4-liter MPI 4-cylinder to the 2.4-liter GDI 4-cylinder which bumps horsepower up from 175 to 191. A second engine, 3.3-liter GDI 6-cylinder, is optional in the LX and EX and standard in the SX and Limited trim levels.
Kia’s 6-Speed Electronically Controlled Sportmatic transmission—an automatic with the option to manually upshift and downshift via the console mounted shifter—is standard for all trim lines and both engine options.
Our only real gripe with our Sorento was with the engine. Our tester was equipped with the 2.4liter 4-cylinder which was adequate at best. Each time we accelerated we were well aware of the almost 3600lbs those 191 horses were pulling. Under demands for quick acceleration, pulling is exactly what we felt. We would have loved the 6-cylinder, especially if we were to drive the vehicle fully loaded with a family and luggage.
With its maneuverability and tight turning radius, the Sorento handles like a car, which is something we’ve all come to expect from mid-size sport-utes. We had no trouble navigating tight city streets or crowded parking decks—some of which seem designed for the subcompact and hybrid crowds. Backing out of parking spaces and parallel parking was a breeze. Handling on the highway was the perfect blend of steering and comfort we are learning to expect from Kia.
Braking was solid as well and we never found ourselves wanting for more stopping power or room.
The Sorento’s facelift includes redesigned front and rear fascias we think give the Sorento a beefier and at the same time more streamlined and modern look. We never guessed square vertically mounted fog lamps, a narrowed air intake, and LED headlight accents would make such a huge difference. They do. The new features including a few new creases in the sheet metal turn a vanilla mid-size sport-ute into an attractive modern contender that has earned its place in Kia’s modern lineup.
The newly redesigned Sorento was marketed with a campaign titled It has an answer for everything. We have to agree. The interior provided plenty of space, but did not leave us feeling like we were miles away from each other as we traveled. Each switch and knob and control was intuitive and right where we expected it to be which is what, in our opinion, makes for a well-designed interior.
Both front row and second row passengers have access to conveniently located cup holders, power outlets and seat movement controls. Adults and children all comfortably fit in seats on both rows.
Moving the seats to get to the third row seating is easy and straightforward. Getting in and out of the third row seating was easy for adults and children alike. Leg room was adequate in each row.
We’re not sure we’ll purchase a vehicle in the future without integrated second row window shades. The easy to use shades replace those annoying suction cup screens sold in discount stores. The shades are also easily maneuverable for children though complex enough and fitted tight enough to the window that they aren’t easily played with by your littler family members.
On the backs of the front seats, you’ll find a plastic cover allowing the kicks of little feet from the second row to not dirty or puncture the seat coverings. Also on those seat backs are rope pockets designed to allow crayons to escape while still holding coloring books, iPads and magazines.
Kia offers just about all of the features a modern luxury vehicle should have as either standard or optional features in the Sorento. With sticker prices ranging from just under $24,000 for ma front-wheel drive LX to just over $43,000 for the AWD SXL/Limited, there is a wide range of equipping options to suit just about every customer. Our tester fell in the lower part of that price range and was very well equipped—we were quite happy with our list of options.
Important Numbers for Families:
- 7.3- inches of ground clearance make the Sorento not so high off the ground that you’ll have to wait until your child is 8 or 9 before they can reach the door handle and climb in on their own
- 10- number of years your new Kia Sorento is covered as part of Kia’s limited powertrain warranty (or 100,000 miles)
- 40/20/40 & 50/50- second row seating splits 40/20/40 to provide easy maneuverability and third row seating splits 50/50 for ease in being raised and being stored
Family 5 Test:
- Car Seats– Both convertible and booster car seats fit comfortably in the Sorento and getting them in and out of the vehicle was easy with wide opening rear passenger doors.
- Coffee Cups– Like in the 2014 Cadenza, cup holders in the Sorento were placed in intuitive areas that did not interfere with other driving functions. Third row passengers will have to fight over who uses the one cup holder on the right side of the Sorento.
- Golf Clubs– With third road seating stored, the Sorento offers abundant space for several sets of clubs. With the seating raised, you’ll have to remove your clubs from the back and stack them individually on top of each other in order to get them to fit. The bag would have to be stored on one of the seats like a passenger.
- Luggage– Using the 2 row configuration, space for luggage in the Sorento is abundant. With third row seating erect, there’s not even enough room for the standard sized carry-on suitcase in the trunk space of the vehicle.
- Groceries– The compartment in the back of the Sorento is just deep and wide enough to store fragile groceries during a ride home. The smooth ride of the Sorento made it hard for groceries to scoot across the floor of the second row even without gallons of milk standing guard on either side.
The Bottom Line:
With the popularity of mid-size crossovers it seems every manufacturer has an entry in the class. The features that make these practical, easy to drive vehicles so popular are shared by most of the field. While the similarities among models make it difficult to stand out, the Sorento is certainly near the front of the pack with its masculine, modern look and list of available features.
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Special thanks to Howell Lary at North Fulton Kia in Roswell, Georgia for all his help with this post. If you’d like to learn more about the Kia Cadenza or to schedule a test drive, you can reach Howell at (404) 996-0100.