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Car Review: 2014 KIA Sorento EX AWD

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The redesigned Sorento that is built in Georgia has come out of the gate with fanfare and strong sales. The Sorento delivers an impressive roster of premium features and amenities that impressed us throughout our week of testing.

EXTERIOR

In a segment more often known for bland utility, the new 2014 Sorento sports dynamic and sophisticated design elements, inside and out. Redesigned front and rear fascias enhance the Sorento’s road presence with a lower, broader appearance up front and a visually wider stance at the rear. The ubiquitous Kia tiger-nose grille is enhanced with an anodized silver metal or black mesh appearance, and the lower valance has been opened to expose an aggressive cross-hatched maw. Front LED positioning lamps create dramatic eyebrows, while projector-style headlights peer from behind tapered clear lenses. Available fog lights on all trim models have been upended and pushed to the far corners of the front bumper for better forward and side visibility. Horizontally positioned rear LED combination lamps embrace the turn signal and back-up lights, emitting a warm corona that makes the 2014 Sorento instantly recognizable from behind. Our Sorento EX AWD sported 18-inch alloy wheels, but there are also 17-inch and, a first for Kia’s best-selling CUV, larger 19-inch wheels. The look of the 2014 KIA Sorento EX AWD resembles some higher end CUVs, but still establishes her own presence with a sophisticated and modern design.

INTERIOR

There is elegance everywhere in the 2014 KIA Sorento EX AWD, and we took notice from the time we stepped in the cabin. A redesigned instrument panel deftly combines technology with proven ergonomics. Standard on EX and optionally available on the LX trim, the large center gauge cluster features a 7-inch TFT LCD that projects a digital speedometer flanked by easy-to-read analog instruments for the tachometer, fuel level and engine temp. The TFT LCD readout also displays trip and vehicle information, along with navigation updates. The center stack’s appearance and layout has been modernized and button positions have been rearranged for a more user-friendly experience.

The new design also provides room for Kia’s new, larger touch screen. Diagonally spanning eight inches, the optional screen on our test model integrates navigation, SiriusXM Traffic with real-time road information updates, a premium Infinity audio system, SiruisXM Satellite Radio, Bluetooth hands-free connectivity, vehicle settings and UVO eServices, Kia’s next generation of infotainment and telematics. Other new available features in the 2014 Sorento include Kia’s first-ever programmable power liftgate, a redesigned and enormous panoramic sunroof with a one piece power-operated shade, integrated second row sliding sunshades, available dual ventilated air-cooled front seats, a 115-volt power inverter and illuminated door handle pockets. Our beige leather seats were first class and provided heated seats that you could not place a dollar value on in zero degree Ohio temperatures!

Using advanced sonar sensors, the 2014 Sorento is also the first of many Kia vehicles to begin offering a blind spot detection system. The system continually monitors traffic around the Sorento, and if another vehicle is detected within a set distance, audio and visual elements alert the driver to the issue.

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PERFORMANCE

The looks of the 2014 KIA Sorento EX AWD can best be described as “smooth,” and that pretty much sums up the overall performance of this vehicle as well. The all-aluminum 3.3-liter GDI V6 produces a smooth 290 horsepower at 6,400 rpm and a stout 252 lb.-ft. of torque at 5,200 rpm. Power is routed to either the front wheels or, optionally, to all four using an enhanced Torque On Demand all-wheel drive system that seamlessly directs power to the tire with the most traction. It also now includes the benefit of Torque Vectoring Cornering Control (TVCC) that aids stability under certain driving conditions. We experienced challenging winter roads with snow and ice everywhere, and there is no doubt the AWD system kept us on the road and forging ahead. The Sorento comes standard with a smooth shifting six-speed automatic transmission. Also standard in the new 2014 Sorento, Electric Motor Driven Power Steering replaces the hydraulic unit from the 2013 model for improved efficiency and is quicker with 2.95 turns of the steering wheel, lock-to-lock. The new steering also features an available Flex Steer system that offers drivers a choice of three steering modes: Comfort, Normal and Sport. Fuel efficiency was average, coming in at 18mpg in the city and 24mpg in highway driving.

OVERVIEW

Before the 2014 redesign, the Kia Sorento was already a major player in the CUV market, and this giant leap forward with the 2014 Kia Sorento EX AWD will only boost sales figures for Kia. Our media test vehicle as tested came in with a sticker price of $36,550, which we found to be a real value. When one considers the design, interior cabin and smooth performance, there is no doubt that the folks at Kia have a winner on their hands with the new 2014 Sorento. Kia continues to move upscale with new products like the Sorento while keeping value a priority, and that is a tough balancing act they have achieved.

  

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