2014 Kia Sorento CUV
More than simply a facelift
The 2014 Kia Sorento goes on sale in Kia showrooms as much more than simply a freshened vehicle. Kia Motors America, which is based in West Point, Georgia, began U.S. production of their capable CUV, the Sorento in 2009. A short three years later, KMA bowed with a significantly redesigned example of the highly popular Crossover at the 2012 Los Angeles International Auto Show. Enter the 2014 Kia Sorento CUV, which made its debut at this year’s North American International Auto Show in Detroit, MI.
Admittedly, the exterior changes made to the 2014 Kia Sorento are modest to be sure, with the restyling of the front and rear fascias and new lighting treatments. Beneath what appears to be basically a familiar package from the outside though, is an all-new chassis, a new 3.3-liter Gasoline Direct Injected (GDI) V6 engine, a significantly restyled interior, a next-generation infotainment system and first-ever blind spot detection system for Kia. Essentially, more than 80 percent of the parts in the new Sorento are either all-new or significantly redesigned. Also new for the 2014 Kia Sorento lineup is a top-of-the-line trim level – the SX Limited, which comes with an extensive inventory of premium features and amenities.
Trim levels for the 2014 Kia Sorento will include a base model LX; an LX V6; an EX V6, the well-equipped SX; and new flagship mode, the SX Limited. The 2.4-liter GDI four-cylinder engine will return as standard propulsion for the LX and EX models, replacing the previously standard 2.4-liter MPI 4-cylinder. The GDI four-banger generates191 horsepower at 6,300 rpm along with 181 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,250 rpm.
This year’s new, all-aluminum 3.3-liter GDI V6 makes 290 horses at 6,400 rpm while developing 252 lb.-ft. of torque at 5,200 rpm. It’s optionally available in LX and EX models, but is standard fare in the LX V6, EX V6, SX and SX Limited models. Motive force may be routed to either the front wheels or, optionally, to all four utilizing an enhanced Torque On Demand all-wheel drive system that directs power to the wheel with the most traction. Now included, is the benefit of Torque Vectoring Cornering Control (TVCC) that aids in vehicle stability in certain driving scenarios. Both 5 and 7 passenger versions are available, depending upon trim level.
Regardless of engine or driveline choice, the 2014 Kia Sorento comes standard with a six-speed automatic overdrive transmission with Kia’s Sportshift feature. Also standard in the new 2014 Kia Sorento is Electric Motor Driven Power Steering, which replaces the hydraulic unit from the 2013 model Sorentos, improving steering feel and reducing weight to aid efficiency. New available FlexSteer provides drivers with a choice of three steering modes: Comfort, Normal and Sport.
In terms of the new Sorento’s exterior visual appeal, the redesigned front and rear fascias tend to enhance the Sorento’s road presence with a lower, broader look up front and a wider stance aft. Kia’s familial tiger-nose grille is enhanced with an anodized silver metal or black mesh appearance, with the lower valance opened up to expose an aggressive cross-hatched maw. Front LED positioning lamps create dramatic eyebrows, while projector style headlights feature tapered clear lenses. Available fog lights on all trim models have been upended and pushed to the far corners of the front bumper, improving forward and side visibility. Horizontally positioned rear LED combination lamps encompass turn signals and back up lights, emitting an instantly recognizable corona from behind. The new Sorento rides on redesigned 17-, 18- and, a first for Kia’s best-selling CUV, larger 19-inch wheels.
Moving to the inside, the new 2014 Sorento displays a new level of sophisticated interior elegance. A redesigned instrument panel blends technology with proven ergonomics. On EX trims and above, the large center gauge cluster features a 7-inch TFT LCD that projects a digital speedometer flanked by easy-to-read analog instruments for the tachometer, fuel level and engine temp. The TFT LCD readout also displays trip and vehicle information, along with optional navigation updates. The appearance and layout of the center stack has been modernized with button positions rearranged for a more user-friendly experience. The new design provides room for Kia’s new optionally larger touch screen, which diagonally spans eight inches, integrating navigation, Sirius /XM Traffic with real-time road information updates, a premium Infinity audio system, Sirius/XM™ Satellite Radio, Bluetooth® hands-free connectivity, vehicle settings and UVO eServices, Kia’s next generation of infotainment and telematics. Other new available features in the 2014 Sorento include Kia’s first-ever programmable power liftgate, a redesigned panoramic sunroof with a one piece power-operated shade, integrated 2nd row sliding sunshades, available dual ventilated air-cooled front seats, a 115-volt power inverter, and illuminated door handle pockets.
The 2014 Kia Sorento is the first of many Kia vehicles to offer a blind spot detection system, utilizing advanced sonar sensors.
During the national press launch, I was afforded the opportunity to drive a 2014 Kia Sorento in both EX and SX trim in AWD configurations. Both were finished with Wave Blue metallic exteriors and Beige and Charcoal interiors with faux polished wood trim accents. I later enjoyed a longer-term experience on the home front in an SX FWD 2014 Kia Sorento 7- passenger version, which sported a Remington Red metallic exterior and Black interior. The base price was set at $35,000 while the final sticker totaled after adding the 50/50 split folding third row seat, rear cargo net and Inland Freight and Handling charges. AWD incurs an additional $1,700.
SUMMARY: The 2014 Kia Sorento SX is both an attractive and affordable CUV, with its new 3.3-liter GDI V-6 delivering more than ample power in virtually every driving scenario – it is certainly superior to the 2.4-liter powerplant. The 6-speed transmission shifts smoothly in either fully automatic or manual setting, and in the handling department, the selectable steering modes provide a definite distinction in steering effort.
The ride quality serves up a comfortable experience, with a stable road holding capability. Torsional rigidity has been improved by 18 percent.
Connectivity and entertainment are key elements in the 2014 Kia Sorento with the UVO e-services and Logic 7 Premium Sound System by Harman.
Safety issues are covered by the impressive list of available equipment and features, which add significantly to vehicle occupant’s sense of well-being.
All in all, for consumers in the market for a visually appealing and well-equipped CUV, the 2014 Kia Sorento in any of its trim levels or with either powertrain offers a myriad of sensible choices.
SPECIFICATIONS: 2014 Kia Sorento SX FWD
|Price as Tested:||$38,900.|
|Engine Type and Size:||3.3-liter, DOHC, 24-valve, Gasoline Direct Injection V6 with dual CVVT.|
|Horsepower (bhp):||290 @ 6,400 rpm|
|Torque (ft./ lbs.):||252 @ 5,200 rpm|
|Transmission:||Electronically controlled 6-speed automatic overdrive with Sportmatic®.|
|Drive Train:||Transversely mounted front engine / Front Wheel Drive.|
|Suspension:||Front – Independent, MacPherson struts, coil springs, stabilizer bar.
Rear – Independent, Multi-link, stabilizer bar, DFD (Dual Flow Dampers).
Brakes: Power-assisted four-wheel discs (vented front), ABS, ESC, EBD and HAC.
Tires: Kumho 7 Venture P235/55 R19 107H mounted on 5 stylized “V”-spoke painted / machined finish alloy wheels.
Length Overall:184.4 inches
Height:68.3 inches with sunroof and roof rails.
Curb Weight:3,722 lbs.
Fuel Capacity:17.43 gallons
EPA Mileage Estimates:18-mpg city / 25-mpg highway
Drag Coefficient:Not listed.
0 – 60 mph: Not tested.