The 2014 Kia Sorento SUV Crossover may look about the same as last year, but it gets a little sprucing up under the hood. The model year brings a retuned suspension and a new V6 engine, which could be all Kia needs to be a front runner in this segment. The base 2.4-liter four-cylinder gets revised to work with a six-speed automatic. It offers 191 horsepower and 181 pound-feet of torque, but fuel economy ratings have not yet been revealed. That being said, last year’s model already returned respectable numbers at 24 mpg combined, so any improvement with the revamped engine will be a bonus. Next is a new 3.3-liter V6 that also gets mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. It produces 290 horsepower and 252 pound-feet of torque, and can tow 3,500 pounds. EPA estimates on this new engine are right around 18 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the highway. The revised front suspension improves the ride from last year while a new stiffer chassis allows Sorento to be more responsive when it comes to handling. Plus, it has a very polite turning circle of only 35.8 feet, so parking and maneuvering won’t be a problem.
• Audio - An Infinity® sound system is available with 10 premium speakers, a subwoofer and external amplifier. It includes a CD player, USB/iPod port and SiriusXM® radio.
• Navigation - There are essentially two navigation systems available. The first is fairly basic, using a nice large 8-inch display and boasting voice command. There is also a UVO eServices Infotainment System available that includes a rearview camera, real-time traffic and exceptional rerouting capabilities
• Smart Key - When you have your key fob in your pocket or purse, you can start or stop the vehicle with the push of a button.
• Bluetooth - Steering wheel-mounted controls allow o to send, end and receive calls without taking your eyes off the road or hands-off the wheel.
Sorento is designed with safety in mind, from top to bottom. Crash test results have not been revealed yet, but the 2013 model received the highest scores from Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in roof, front and side-impact crash tests. Braking capabilities are a little longer than average though, taking 131 feet to stop from 60 mph. Safety features to offer peace-of-mind include:
• Emergency service
• Airbag deployment notification
• Tire pressure monitoring
• Child seat anchors
• Dusk sensing headlamps
• Traction control
• Self-leveling headlights
• Rear door safety locks
• Remote anti-theft alarm
• Stability control
• Engine immobilizer
• Turn signal mirrors
• Post collision safety system
• Electronic brakeforce distribution
Sorento is a good-looking vehicle. It is classy without looking like it is trying too hard, yet the rear spoiler and roof rails add a sporty appeal. It boasts plenty of small details to capture your attention, like body-colored heated mirrors with turn signal indicators and illuminated door handle pockets. There are also five wheel designs to choose from.
The interior gets refreshing for 2014, mainly in the technology department. The layout is nice and surprisingly upscale for the price. Although there are a lot of controls, everything is within reach and fairly self-explanatory. Materials seem to be a better quality as well. There is more than enough space in the first and second rows but the optional third row is really better suited for children. One thing that you will appreciate as the driver is that the seat really provides a nice commanding view of the road.
Cargo space is more than generous in the 2014 Sorento. With all seats in place, there are 36.9 cubic feet and overall cargo capacity is 72.5 cubes.