2014 Kia Sorento Crossover

2014 Kia Forte Sorento Event1 560x224Last week we were invited out to Scottsdale Arizona, to get a first hand look at two of Kia’s new models for 2014, the Sorento and Forte. You can see both above, looking all sexy while they pose under the pool at the W Scottsdale. I was paired up with Cory Gunther of Slashgear, for a full day of diving primarily in the fabulous Tonto National Forest.

Tonto National Forest 1 560x224Today we’re going to focus on a review of the 2014 Kia Sorento, and we’ll follow-up next week with our full review of the Kia Forte. Slashgear has already posted their review of the Sorento, which you’ll notice has some similar photographs. As you can see, we enjoyed taking the Sorento off the main drag to find some stunning backdrops.

You may remember the 2014 Kia Sorento from its awesome Super Bowl ad that we featured last week. Their concept for the ad campaign is that the Sorento has an answer for everything :

You could probably tell from the ad, the Sorento is being marketed to young families with kids, but it still appealed to this married guy who has yet to produce offspring who ask annoying questions.

Exterior

2014 Kia Sorento Exterior 1 560x223What can we say, we’re a sucker for the design aesthetics that Peter Schreyer has brought to Kia and Hyundai over the past several years. The front and back ends of the Sorento are among the major changes, and we consider the front of any Kia vehicle among the most attractive in the business right now. That being said, when comparing the updated front and back-end of the 2014 model to the 2013 version, I actually prefer the styling of the previous Sorento. The fascia updates would probably be considered upgrades and desirable to most, they just  didn’t appeal to me personally overall as much as the old version.

Our surroundings in Arizona had us on the lookout for Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner while driving, and rattle snakes whenever we got out of the car to take photos. However we still found plenty of time to take some Glamour Shots of the Sorento, with the mountains reflecting off its shiny surfaces:

Some of the notable new external features available on the 2014 Sorento include a programmable power liftgate, illuminated door handle pockets, self-leveling Xenon HID head lights, and 19-inch chrome wheels.

We drove the “Wave Blue” colored version which isn’t my favorite color for an SUV. In fact, much like many vehicles we’ve driven recently, the color selections are fairly tame across the line. Perhaps the more conservative color choices appeal to family drivers, but we long for the bright color choices that were popular a decade ago.

Interior

The video above demonstrates how much the panoramic sunroof can effect how roomy the Sorento feels from the rear seats. That is one of the great interior selling features, but the highlights certainly don’t end there.

Much like other Kias we’ve driven, we found the 2014 Sorento spacious and comfortable, and offered nearly all of the features we could ask for in a modern vehicle. That includes the push-button start, navigation, bluetooth, heated and cooled seats, dual climate control, blind spot detection system, and a backup camera.

The star of the interior was clearly the new 8″ TFT LCD touch screen which integrates:

  • Navigation
  • SiriusXM Traffic™ with real-time road information updates
  • Premium Infinity® audio system
  • SiruisXM™ Satellite Radio
  • Bluetooth® hands-free connectivity
  • Vehicle settings
  • UVO eServices

We’ve driven several new vehicles over the past few years, and they pretty much all show us a modern touch screen head unit, but this one was the best we’ve seen to date. The screen was vibrant and sharp, had minimal glare issues, and the interface was clean and intuitive. While we weren’t able to explore every single feature of this center console, everything we tried delighted us with its functionality and ease. This is how modern technology in a vehicle should work.

Of particular note is UVO eServices, which is Kia’s next generation of infotainment and telematics. Unlike many brands on the market, Kia is leveraging your existing Smartphone, and its ability to provide updated apps and functionality. The vehicle connects to that, and utilizes your existing phone connection to provide its services, which means you do not have to pay for a separate service. Largely for that reason, they’re able to provide that service to car buyers free for 10 years or 100,000 miles.

Performance

2014 Kia Sorento Performance 560x223The model we drove included a new 3.3-liter GDi V6 engine rated at 290 horsepower, which offered a nice balance between gas mileage and performance that we’ve noted in other GDi Kia Models. Personally I don’t drive with an eye on the gas gauge though, and this engine did not disappoint as we whipped up and down the mountains of Arizona.

The 2014 Kia Sorento also features Electric Motor Driven Power Steering with FlexSteer like we saw on the 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport. It offers drivers a choice of three steering modes: Comfort, Normal and Sport. This particular feature doesn’t really appeal to me, but might be a nice added bonus for some buyers.

The all-new chassis increases torsional rigidity by 18-percent and a new independent front suspension incorporates a stiffer H-shaped sub-frame cradle. This is the brother of the Santa Fe, and honestly the ride felt similar. We did take the Sorento off of the road briefly a few times (how could you not, considering the setting) and while it wasn’t really a good test of the AWD, we had no complaints.

Overview

2014 Kia Sorento Exterior 2 560x224While it’s still a sharp looking vehicle, overall we prefer the exterior design of the 2013 model over this year’s upgraded re-design. The interior was a very strong point to this CUV, especially the 8″ TFT LCD screen and UVO eServices. The Sorento is a prime example of technology done right in a modern vehicle. Everything you need is right where you need it, and is a joy to use.

The 2014 Kia Sorento starts at $24,100 and maxes out at nearly $40,000 if you like it extra special. Like most vehicles, we don’t really recommend you go for the lowest equipped trim, but you should be able to get most of the goodies you want in the Sorento for around $35,000.

When you figure in the ability to seat 5 kids in the back (honestly, who is shoving 5 full-sized adults into the back of a vehicle like this?) the Sorento is a compelling alternative to larger SUVs or Minivans, while still providing the power and technology that you crave.

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