Kia last redesigned the Sorento for 2011, but the two- or three-row crossover has a slew of updates for 2014. The styling changes are modest, but Kia says more than 80 percent of the Sorento is new or redesigned, including a new chassis, two new engines and a revamped dashboard multimedia system.
Closer in size to smaller, two-row crossovers like the Ford Escape and Honda CR-V than to larger, three-row models like the Ford Explorer and Honda Pilot, the Kia Sorento's competitors include either group as well as a few in-between models like the Dodge Journey and Ford Edge. Trim levels carry over and include the LX, EX and SX. A top-of-the-line SX Limited is new for 2014. Front-wheel drive is standard, with all-wheel drive optional.
Visual changes for 2014 include restyled front and rear bumpers with vertical fog-light slats. LED accents top the headlights, while the redesigned taillights trade last year's squared look for an inward arch. The side mirrors integrate turn signals. Seventeen-inch wheels are standard, with 18s optional. The SX Limited gets 19-inch wheels with red brake calipers, as well as xenon headlights.
The redesigned Sorento has room for five passengers in two rows; a third row is still optional. Interior changes include a revised instrument panel and gauge-cluster layout, making room for a larger, 8-inch touch-screen. It's used with the next generation of Kia's UVO multimedia system. Other newly available features include a programmable power liftgate, panoramic sunroof, second-row sunshades, cooled front seats and a driver-selectable steering system that adjusts power assist to alter steering feedback to three steering settings: Comfort, Normal and Sport.
SX Limited-specific standard features include high- intensity-discharge headlights, 19-inch chrome wheels, Nappa leather-trimmed seats, a heated wood steering wheel and heated rear seats.
Under the Hood
LX and EX models adopt a standard 2.4-liter four-cylinder with 191-horsepower and direct injection,; it was optional in last year's Sorento. Standard on the SX is a new 290-hp, 3.3-liter V-6 with direct injection. It replaces a 276-hp, port-injected 3.5-liter V-6 and is optional on the LX and EX. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard.
Kia says the new chassis is 18 percent stiffer, with updated front and rear suspensions that aim to improve steering tracking and cabin isolation over bumps. The optional all-wheel-drive system uses Torque Vectoring Cornering Control; similar to high-end systems from several luxury automakers, it directs additional power to certain wheels during corners to aid handling.
Six airbags are standard, but the side-curtain airbags don't extend to the optional third row. All-disc antilock brakes and an electronic stability system are also standard. A blind-spot warning system is optional.
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