2014 Kia Sorento: Up Close

Sorento1

Although Kia says more than 80% of the Sorento's parts are new or updated, including the SUV's chassis and both engines, the visual updates are modest.

More 2012 L.A. Auto Show Coverage

Like the brand's bestselling Optima sedan, the Sorento now has an SX-Limited model, which I checked out at the L.A. Auto Show. The small changes include a split grille and reshaped fog lights. Interior changes include richer center controls and redesigned gauges, but the cabin still has too much cheap, shiny plastic at eye level. I'm still at a loss why automakers put better materials in cars but not in SUVs.

Sorentoconsole

Kia officials said the new Sorento's platform affords more legroom in the second and optional third row, but I'm not convinced. The second row has adjustments to recline and slide, and if you slide it all the way back, there's decent legroom and a comfortable sitting position for the second row. But anyone in the third row will likely need those same seats to move a few clicks forward, though — it's very tight back there.

Sorentobackseats

A walk-in feature on the passenger-side second row helps squeeze you into the third, but the driver's side had no such provision for the Sorento on display. You have to fold the seats down, and they lock in place, so getting them back up is a two-handed process at best.

There's no word on whether the 2014 Sorento improves upon the 2013's EPA mileage (18/24 mpg city/highway to 21/30 mpg, depending on drivetrain) but a new, direct-injection engine and a downsized V-6 will help, as should new electric power steering. Kia says the new chassis delivers better ride quality and steering feel, so the Sorento's real test will come in mileage and drivability.

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Comments 

Randy

My wife and I recently traded in our 2013 Kia Sorento SX for a 2014 Kia Sorento SX Limited. The difference between the two is night and day, especially on the inside. The ride is much improved, even though the wheels are larger, growing from 18 to 19 inches.

The ride seems to have improved immensely, is much quiter, and the napa leather seats are far more comfortable than last years', which felt like you were sitting on a bar about mid thigh.

The differences on the inside are huge, and they all add up to a completely different experience than last year's. For example, last year, only the driver had the only ventilated seat, wheress, this year, both front seats in the limited are ventilated. Also, the panoramic sunroof in last year's model had two seperate shades, which had to be manually operated by hand, whereas this year, it is one mechanically operated shade which goes all the way back at the push of a button. The steering has 3 settings, sport, normal, and comfort, and it really does alter the driving experience, depending on your mood. The shift lever is much easier to operate, moving in a straight line, instead of a zigzag pattern like last year's. Also, the new UVO 2 display and radio is immensely easier to use than last years. The speedometer cluster is now an LED screen, and allows for much more information than last years model. Well worth the trade, even if our old one only had three thousand miles on it when we traded in.

Dave

Just purchased a 2014 Sorento LX-AWD, 4 cyl.. With about 1000 miles on the odometer, I got 25 mpg driving at 70-75 mph for 2.5 hours and 27 mpg at 55-60 mph for 2 hours. These figures were determined by dividing the actual gallons used into the miles driven on the trip odometer, not using the vehicle's own computer estimates (which is consistently off by 10%). I am very happy with the numbers, the ride, and the features. Though not as peppy as the 6 cyl., it has surprising amount of power to pass at 60 mph. I particularly happy to get heated seats without having to buy leather. So far so good.

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