It was only three years ago that Kia brought out its first mid-size crossover utility vehicle, the Sorento, and now Kia has made significant changes such as new refined styling, a new V6 engine, an improved chassis/suspension, comfort and convenience upgrades that make the all-new Sorento more enjoyable to drive and to be a passenger(s).
The new engine is a 3.3 liter all-aluminum DOHC V6 with dual CVVT and gasoline direct injection (GDI). It pumps out a healthy 290hp at 6,400rpm and 252lb.ft. of torque at 5,200rpm. Power is routed to either the front wheels or, optionally, to all four wheels using an enhanced Torque On Demand and all-wheel drive system that seamlessly directs power to the tire with the most traction and now includes the benefit of Torque Vectoring Cornering Control (TVCC) that aids stability under several driving conditions. The smooth shifting six-speed automatic OD transmission is standard and comes with Kia’s Sportmatic Sequential shifting capability that enabled me to keep the transmission in a gear all the up to redline for a more spirited driving experience. Power delivery is strong and steady, especially when I was merging onto fast moving highway traffic. Also standard in the 2014 edition is an Electric Motor Driven Power Steering system that replaces the hydraulic unit from last year’s model. It has improved efficiency and is quicker with 2.95 turns of the steering wheel, lock-to-lock. This new system also features an optional Flex Steer system that offers a choice of three steering modes: Comfort, Normal and Sport. It is a terrific system that lets me choose how fast I want my steering inputs to play with the current driving situation. I choose normal for everyday driving or Sport when I wanted to take on some steep curving roads.
Just three years into its product lifecycle, Kia’s engineers saw fit to bring the new 2014 Sorento to market on an all-new chassis that increases torsional rigidity by 18%. A major focal point in designing the new chassis was to improve ride and handling. Within the engine bay, strut-tower bracing increases chassis strength and provides a solid platform for the redesigned independent MacPherson strut setup with coil springs, new dual-flow gas-charged shocks and a stabilizer bar, that is mounted to a stiffer H-shaped subframe cradle for improved ride comfort, handling prowess and NVH (Noise, Vibration, Harshness). In the rear a reinforced multi-link setup includes coil springs, dual-path gas-charged shocks and a stabilizer bar. It also includes new, larger bushings and mounts to improve road noise, vibration and straight line stability at high speeds while its compact design allows for more interior space. The new front and rear suspension geometry really can be felt by how well the 19X7.5 inch alloy wheels wrapped with new larger 235/55R19 inch tires that grip the road for a more solid feel, stability and quiet aboard with the enhanced NVH inhibitors.
Slowing the all-new Sorento SX down from speed are new, larger four-wheel, power-assisted steel disc brakes. Up front are 11.9 inch vented discs clamped with dual-piston calipers and 11.9 inch solid discs in the rear clamped with single-piston calipers. Standard ABS, EBD, BA, Hill Start Assist and Electronic Stability Control are work together to help me maintain control during severe braking maneuvers and when braking hard on wet or slick surfaces.
Powertrain, steering, suspension and brake dynamics have all been improved to increase my feel of security when at the wheel plus giving me a more fun-to-drive feeling when driving in slow city traffic and at speed on the highway.
The exterior styling has been refined for a more dynamic and sophisticated look. Redesigned front and rear fascias enhance the Sorento’s road presence with a more substantial and round front bumper with a lower, broader appearance and a visually wider stance in the rear. The ubiquitous Kia tiger-nose grille is enhanced with an anodized silver metal mesh appearance and the lower valance has been opened to expose and aggressive cross-hatched opening. Front LED positioning lamps create dramatic eyebrows while new HID headlights peer from behind tapered clear lenses. The new foglamps on the SX have been upended and pushed to the far corners of the front bumper for better forward and side visibility. A front aluminum skid plate helps with airflow. Horizontally positioned rear LED combination lamps embrace the turn signal and back-up lamps, emitting a warm corona that makes the 2014 Sorento instantly recognizable from behind. A rear spoiler sits on top of the new programmable power liftgate. Down below is an aluminum diffuser and a wide exhaust tip on the right side. From the sideview you’ll see little space between the tires and the molded wheel-wells, steeply raked windshield A-pillars, pull-out door handles, aero-styled power-remote, power-folding, heated sideview mirrors, a chrome strip running along the bottom of the greenhouse and deep lower side extensions. The new refined look is taut and athletic, a welcome change from the bland designs of many mid-size CUVs.
The new interior features a new level of sophisticated elegance. A redesigned instrument panel is soft to the touch and combines technology with proven ergonomics. The large center gauge cluster features a 7-inch TFT LCD screen that projects a digital speedometer flanked by easy-to-read analog instruments for the tachometer, fuel level and engine coolant temperature. 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. I also noted the dressed-up aluminum trim surrounding all of the vents, center stack, audio system control panel and buttons/switches. The new design also provides room for Kia’s new larger touch screen. Diagonally spanning 8-inches, the SX comes with navigation, SiriusXM Traffic with real-time road information updates, a premium Infinity audio system, SiriusXM satellite radio, Bluetooth hands-free connectivity, vehicle settings and UVO eServices, Kia’s next generation of infotainment and telematics.
Other standard features in the SX model are Kia’s first-ever programmable power liftgate, a redesigned panoramic double sunroof with a one-piece power-operated shade, integrated 2nd. row sliding sunshades, comfortable and supportive 10-way power adjustable front driver seat and 4-way power adjustable passenger seat with heated/ventilated air-cooled functions, a 115-volt inverter and illuminated door handle pockets. More standard equipment inside the SX trimmed Sorento not mentioned above includes dual zone automatic climate control, rear A/C system, push button start/stop, quality faux dark wood trim on the dashboard and doors, cruise control, variable speed wipers/washers, rear wiper/washer, leather seats trim 1st. and 2nd row, 60/40 3rd row seats, with tilt/slide 2nd. row seats, tilt/telescopic leather-wrapped steering wheel, leather-wrapped shift knob, front center console with dual cupholders, storage bin with padded armrest, an open storage bin up front, storage in each door, aluminum door kick plates front/second doors, grab handles above each passenger door, auto-dimming rearview mirror, aluminum roof rails, dual map lamps, 2nd. row and 3rd row reading lamps, pull-down 2nd. row armrest with dual cupholders/tilt back/slide fore and aft, cargo net, 1st., 2nd. and 3rd row and cargo area carpeted mats.
Standard safety features include front/side impact airbags, 3-point seatbelts for all seats with front pretensioners/load limiters, Blind Spot Metering, front/rear parking sensors, 1st. and 2nd. row side curtain airbags, front active headrests, height adjustable front seatbelt anchors, front/rear crush zones, steel beams in each door, LATCH system for child seats and child prove rear doors.
It’s good to see that Kia is serious about improving the all-around characteristics of their crossover sport utility vehicles making them drive with higher levels of performance, safety, ergonomics, comfort, luxury, connectivity and infotainment. It’s another winner from Kia.
COPYRIGHT: 2013: HARVEY SCHWARTZ