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7 Passenger 2014 Kia Sorento SX Limited AWD Review

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2014 Kia Sorento SX

By John Heilig

Model: 2014 Kia Sorento SX Limited AWD – 7 Passenger

Engine: 3.3-liter DOHC V6

Horsepower/Torque: 290 hp @ 6,400 rpm/252 lb.-ft. @ 5,200 rpm

Transmission: 6-speed automatic with Sportmatic

Wheelbase: 106.3 in.

Length x Width x Height: 184.4 x 74.2 x 68.3 in.

Tires: P235/55R19

Cargo: 9.1/36.9/72.5 cu. ft. (behind 3rd row/behind 2nd row/total)

Economy: 18 mpg city/24 mpg highway/19.8 mpg test

Fuel capacity: 17.4 gal.

Curb Weight: 3,894 lbs.

Sticker: $41,600 (includes $850 inland freight, $1,050 in options (3rd row seat, cargo net)

The Bottom Line: The Sorento is a very good small crossover SUV that can stand up with the rest of them (and there are many). There are no serious complaints, except for the engine which could be quieter.

In a crowded small SUV segment (also called the crossover segment), the Sonata fares well. Size-wise, for example, it’s almost identical to the Ford Escape. With three rows of seating, it is slightly more practical, even though that third row is best used by the height challenged. And with the third row up, cargo capacity is miniscule (SUVs are supposed to be for utility, remember?).

There’s good power from the 3.3-liter V6 under the hood, although the engine could be quieter. In the Sorento’s defense, the car I drove the week prior to it was extremely quiet. The engine transmits power to all the wheels through a s-speed automatic transmission that has Sportmatic, Kia’s version of sequential manual shifting. Even with AWD, there’s little real need for a manual in a small SUV, and we didn’t use it.

I’m a believer that one of a sport ute’s main attributes should be a cargo hauler. The Sorento is good and bad in this respect. On the bad side, the third row seating, while semi-practical if you have short people to transport, really cuts into the cargo carrying capacity. With the third row up, there are only 9 cubic feet of cargo, and it seems like a tight nine feet. With the third row folded, however, cargo capacity grows to nearly 37 cubic feet, which is very practical. If I was going to buy a Sorento, I would opt out of the third row seat, but get the $50 cargo net, cutting $1,000 off the sticker price.

From the driver’s seat, there is good 360-degree visibility. Even so, the blind spot monitor is necessary and works well. If there is something in the blind spot area and you turn on the turn signal, there is an audible beep and the blind spot warning light flashes.

Front seats are comfortable, even if they have minimal side support. The rear seats have good leg room. There’s also a flat floor in the second row. Third row seating has decent leg room for small passengers. Access to the cargo area is via a power hatch.

As with many vehicles these days, Kia has a pushbutton start/stop for the Sorento. As a convenience, there’s a small cubby aft of the shifter to store the keys when you’re driving. When you stop and exit the Sorento, the key fob has an indent at the top for the “lock” function. With the indent, there’s no need to fumble around among lock, unlock and alarm, which can be embarrassing.

Facing the driver is a clear instrument panel with a central speedometer, tachometer on the left and a combined fuel and water temperature gauge on the right. Inside the speedometer are fuel range, economy, odometers and outside temperature. Surprisingly, all this information doesn’t intrude on the speedometer’s main purpose.

In the center of the dash is a clear navigation/audio screen. The rearview camera has a very clear picture on this screen as well. It’s very easy to program a destination in the navi screen. The audio is also very good for my type of music. There’s a USB input at the base of the center stack with a small cubby to hold your iPod, or whatever.

The Sorento has a huge double sunroof that offers extra light to the rear passengers as well as the front. Only the front section opens up for fresh air, though.

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