2014 Kia Sorento
By G.R. Whale
On Sale: First quarter 2013
Expected Pricing: $24,000 to $39,000
The 2014 Kia Sorento may appear as merely new ends and wheels but Kia maintains more than 80 percent of the parts are new or substantially revised and the platform is all new. This is reasonable since sister-division Hyundai launched a new, similar-size Santa Fe crossover this year.
Styling's been updated without wholesale change, the most obvious difference now-vertical lower front light elements. LED lamps figure more prominently and wheels run from 17 to new 19-inch sizes. Following the 2012 Optima sedan, there is also a new Sorento SX Limited model and the cabin redesign includes Kia's next generation infotainment system.
Sorento offers two direct-injection engines, a 191-hp 2.4-liter four-cylinder and a 290-hp 3.3-liter V6, both connected to a 6-speed automatic transmission. Front- or all-wheel drive, the latter with new torque vectoring cornering control are offered for every version, the only limitation is no four-cylinder SX. Full independent suspension and all-disc brakes are complemented by new electric-assist steering.
The 2014 Sorento will offer the choice of five or seven seats on each model; the former, with two rows of seats, has underfloor storage in back, the latter with three rows of seats and room for two kids on child-appropriate upholstery.
Kia has a reputation for heavy feature count for the money and the 2014 Sorento will continue. Even the base Sorento LX model comes with 17-inch alloy wheels, LED running and tail lamps, heated power mirrors with signal repeaters, USB/aux inputs, Bluetooth, XM satellite radio, a 40/20/40 split second-row seat and tilt/telescoping steering column.
The mid-line Sorento EX steps up with leather upholstery, dual-zone climate control, rear spoiler, 18-inch wheels, and a rearview camera. Taking a cue from BMW and Mercedes flagships, the center display is a 7-inch TFT screen that shows a common analog-style speedometer but also does trip, vehicle and navigation information. With optional navigation the new center screen is up to 8 inches and includees XM Traffic, an Infinity audio system and UVO eServices.
UVOe is Kia's new telematics system, one that runs an app-based approach. Many functions run through your smartphone and since that data plan delivers the info there is no secondary subscription cost like many other telematics links. UVOe offers hands-free control of music sources, voice-command of navigation, 911 Connect, roadside assistance, maintenance and diagnostics, and the parking minder that will, among other things, tell you where you left your car or when it's time to put more money in the parking meter. Kia says it will work with Apple systems to begin with and Android by the second quarter of 2013.
The Sorento SX model is V6 engine only and builds on an EX with items like 19-inch wheels, blind-spot warning, power passenger seat, illuminated door sills, three-zone air conditioning, HomeLink and adjustable steering effort.
Newly minted top-line Sorento SX Limited (aka SX-L) models dive head-long into the luxury fray with Nappa leather upholstery, heated wood/leather steering wheel and second-row seats, driver memory system, chrome wheels and bi-xenon headlamps. The only options are all-wheel drive, third-row seats and power-folding outside mirrors.