2014 Kia Sorento EX Rocky Mountain Review By Dan Poler


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2014 Kia Sorento EX

By Dan Poler
Rocky Mountain Bureau
The Auto Channel

The crossover market is hotter – and more competitive – than ever. In order to succeed, manufacturers are bringing their “A” game in a host of updates and refreshes. Included in that mix is Kia’s successful Sorento – Kia stops short of calling it “all-new”, but it’s been more than simply refreshed – the nicely-executed update brings this midsize crossover to the top of the class for looks, features, and amenities.

Although the exterior retains its same overall dimensions, it’s graced by a new, more modern look. Although most of the sheet metal is the same, the bumpers taillights, and headlights are new, and the previous grille, which looked awkwardly large, has been made smaller. Numerous structural changes abound too, including updated steering and a redesigned and strengthened unibody which provides for a much more comfortable ride over the prior Sorento – and with a lot less body roll, too.

Inside is where we find most of the upgrades. Gauges have been redesigned with an electronic display for the speedometer – although don’t expect a greatly configurable setup like the Dodge Dart, here it just mimics an analog speedometer – and HVAC and infotainment controls are new and vastly improved – much easier to use. The interior is rounded out with updated comfortable seats and an enormous panoramic sunroof.

New under the hood is 3.3-liter V6 good for 290 horsepower, replacing the 3.5-liter V6, which made 276 horsepower. The new powerplant is mated to a six-speed shiftable automatic transmission. The additional ponies are appreciated – there’s a fair bit of weight to haul around here. We found the new Sorento generally pleasant to drive – well mannered, predictable, a little on the firm side, but not jarringly so. That is to say, boring. Not necessarily in a bad way, mind you – we’ll take a predictable comfortable crossover for long highway drives any day. The only exception involved traversing hills on the interstates – the Sorento seems to just not have a great deal of power over 70 MPH, and the transmission frequently seemed to become confused in trying to pick the right gear.

Perhaps best of all is the value presented by the updated Sorento. Although about a third of our tester’s price was options, pushing the as-tested price to $36,550 from a base of $24,100, that included an impressive list of additions, including that panoramic sunroof, heated and cooled front seats, navigation, satellite radio tied to an Infinity audio system, blind spot detection, a power lift gate… The list goes on, and this was a mid-level EX vehicle, not even the range-topping SX, which would have netted us even more features like a wood-trimmed steering wheel, heated rear seats, and xenon headlights. It’s worth noting as well that if you need a 3rd row but don’t want an enormous vehicle, the Sorento is one of the smaller vehicles on the market to include this feature.

All told, Kia’s upped their game in the competitive crossover market. We find the new Sorento to be a strong competitor and expect it to continue its excellent record.

Specifications

2014 Kia Sorento EX
Base Price: $24,100.00
Price as Tested: $36,550.00
Engine Type: DOHC GDI CVVT V6
Engine Size: 3.3-liter
Horsepower: 290 @ 6,400 rpm
Torque (lb-ft): 252 @ 5,200 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed shiftable automatic
Wheelbase / Length (in): 106.3 / 184.4
Curb Weight: 3,894 lb
Pounds per HP: 13.43
Fuel Capacity (gal): 17.4
Fuel Requirement: Regular unleaded
Tires: Kumho City Venture; P235/60HR18
Brakes, front/rear: Ventilated disc / solid disc
Suspension, front/rear: MacPherson Strut / multi-link
Ground clearance (in): 7.3
Drivetrain: All wheel drive with locking center differential
EPA Fuel Economy - MPG
city / highway / observed: 18 / 25 / 21
Towing capacity (lb): 3,500
Base Trim Price: $31,700.00

Options and Charges

Touring Package: $4,000.00 (Navigation system with 8” display, Infinity surround sound system, ventilated driver/front passenger's seat, blind spot detection, 4-way power passenger's seat, panoramic roof with power sunshade, memory driver's seat and mirrors, power folding outside mirrors, power liftgate)
Delivery: $850.00
Price as tested: $36,550.00

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