2014 Kia Sorento | Heels on Wheels Review


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2014 Kia Sorento


HEELS ON WHEELS
By Katrina Ramser
San Francisco Bureau
The Auto Channel

INTRO TO THE SORENTO VEHICLE
Having improved the build and adding more interior refinement just a few models back, the Kia Sorento continues to evolve into an attractive three-row crossover choice with an all-new stylish exterior design and bigger engine for 2014.

I drove a 2014 Kia Sorento with the all-new 3.3-liter GDI V6 engine producing 209 horsepower and 252 pound-feet of torque coupled with a standard six-speed automatic transmission with Sportmatic and a new Electric Motor Driven Power Steering system. Available in four trims – the base LX, EX, SX and a new top-of-the-line SX Limited, my SX trim came with the following standard features: dual-zone climate control; Infinity audio system; UVO eServices telematics system; XM Radio; Bluetooth; power and heated front seats; leather upholstery; push-button start; leather-wrapped steering wheel; Blind Spot Detection; fog lights; panoramic sunroof; power liftgate; rear spoiler; nineteen-inch wheels. Total price as described without options came to $35,000.

Aside of the all-new available 3.3-liter V6 gasoline direct injection engine, the Sorento features a luxury oriented trim distinguished by a leather- and wood-trimmed heated steering wheel, premium Nappa leather seat trim, second-row heated seats, nineteen-inch wheels with chrome finish, self-leveling Xenon headlights and exclusive badges. Main competitors are the more affordable three-row crossovers like the Mazda CX-9 and Mitsubishi Outlander.

HEELS ON WHEELS REVIEW CRITERIA

Stylish But Comfortable Results: A broader front appearance and wider rear stance enhance the Sorento’s rugged looks. Inside, the instrument panel features a more intuitive layout and room for a larger eight-inch touchscreen. The panoramic sunroof has been cleverly offered as a standard features for the more mid-level trims and not priced out as an option. The cargo space has depth, discovered as I packed the vehicle the ceiling for a week-long camping trip – and I was able to fit a large cooler lengthwise with the second row employed. The third row is best for kids, while the CX-9 was cited as comfortable with two adults packed in.

Reliability & Safety Factor: The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) rates the Kia Sorento as a Top Safety Pick for a mid-size SUV. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has not yet rated the vehicle. Standard safety equipment includes an advanced airbag system, traction control, electronic stability control, hill-start assist, and a revised independent front and rear suspension.

Cost Issues: A third row will cost an additional $1,000 for a final test drive price of $36,050. A similarly equipped Mitsubishi Outlander (now with a standard pop-up third row) comes in at $33,895, but does not offer as plush of an interior environment or the kind of vivid graphics the UVO connectivity system does.

Activity & Performance Ability: Improved suspension components highlight this crossover’s all-new platform, followed closely by the newfound power from the bigger 3.3-liter V6 engine. Torque On Demand all-wheel drive system shifts power to the tire with the most traction while Torque Vectoring Cornering Control further increases stability. The only downfall is the vehicle remains on the boutique forefront: Afterschool carpooling is the only towing the Sorento can take part in.

The Green Concern: With two-wheel drive, the 3.3-liter V6 gets 18-city and 25-highway for a combined 21 miles-per-gallon. All-wheel drive takes the stats to 20 combined. The Mazda CX-9 gets 18 miles-per-gallon combined with its 273-horsepower 3.7-liter engine and all-wheel drive.

FINAL PARTING WORDS
Benchmark changes expand value, class and power for the 2014 Kia Sorento that gains an edge in the affordable three-row crossover market for achieving 20 miles-per-gallon combined under all-wheel drive control.

2013 Katrina Ramser

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