By Jason Allan
KBB Expert Rating: 7.8
Having undergone a more extensive update than its mildly refreshed exterior would suggest, the 2014 Kia Sorento is now an even more appealing package for tech-minded shoppers who want 3-row flexibility but not the bulk of a typical midsize SUV. But the Sorento is also available in a 2-row configuration, making it a viable alternative to 5-seat SUVs like the Ford Edge, too. In either case, the 2014 Kia Sorento offers more features for the money – including a leading-edge infotainment offering – with little to no compromise in overall refinement. Similarly sized competitors include the Dodge Journey and Mitsubishi Outlander, but the Sorento is the clear winner in that race. That's why we named it one of the 10 Best SUVs Under $25,000 for 2014.
If you like the idea of maximizing your infotainment and seating capabilities while keeping vehicle size and price in check, you're going to like the more refined, mostly new 2014 Kia Sorento.
If you need three rows on a regular basis, or need room enough for six or seven people and more than a couple duffel bags at the same time, you'll probably be better served by a more traditionally sized 3-row vehicle.
Kia says more than 80 percent of the parts in the 2014 Sorento are either all-new or redesigned. The net result is an SUV that looks a little different but feels significantly more refined, and offers an impressive set of convenience and infotainment technologies, including the new UVO eServices system.
What the 2014 Kia Sorento gives up in interior volume to its larger competitors, it gains in everyday maneuverability. The Sorento is seven inches shorter than a Honda Pilot, with a shorter wheelbase and tighter turning radius, making the Kia easier to navigate into and out of the many parking spaces it's likely to visit on a daily basis. Out on the road, the Sorento's new 290-horsepower V6 and smooth-shifting 6-speed automatic transmission combine to deliver responsive, seamless acceleration. Our very first taste of the revised Sorento included a 6-hour drive from Arizona to California, and at no point did highway ride or seat comfort elicit a second thought. Powertrain and structural enhancements were a big part of the Sorento's upgrade for 2014, and the result is a crossover SUV that drives with a sense of refinement comparable to some of its best competitors.
In addition to a bunch of other cool infotainment capabilities – many of them voice-activated – Kia's next-gen UVO system leverages your smartphone to automatically call 911 in the event of an airbag deployment, and lets you send a navigation destination from your computer to the car.
As part of its new electric power steering system, the 2014 Sorento includes a FlexSteer feature that lets the driver select between Comfort, Normal and Sport steering modes. Comfort mode feels the least artificial, making small corrections easier and mitigating some of the compromise of efficiency-enhancing electric steering.
Interior highlights from the well-equipped 2014 Kia Sorento models we've driven include small touches like a leather transmission selector boot, unexpected features like an LCD speedometer, retractable 2nd-row window shades, and a huge panoramic moonroof. Combined with a next-gen level of refinement for Kia, you'll have a hard time finding a nicer interior for the money. The Sorento definitely gives up some passenger and cargo room to just about every other 3-row SUV worth considering, but a rear seat that slides, reclines and folds down in 40/20/40 sections adds valuable flexibility. The optional third row is best reserved for little ones.
If not for the new taillights, it'd be hard to distinguish the 2014 Sorento from its 2013 predecessor. But the front end has been redesigned, too, and there are a number of neat upgrades all around. The headlights now offer an LED design element, the exterior mirrors will fold in at the push of a button, and the exterior door pockets light up to welcome you back at night. Stepping all the way up to the SX Limited nets xenon HID headlights, unique 19-inch wheels and red brake calipers, but even the base models have a finished look that includes 17-inch aluminum wheels.
A base model 2014 Kia Sorento LX starts at $24,950, including destination, with a 4-cylinder engine, front-wheel drive and two rows of cloth seats. Standard feature highlights include Bluetooth and USB phone/audio connectivity, air conditioning, cruise control, and steering wheel-mounted controls. Outside, alloy wheels, body-color side mirrors and LED taillights help the entry-priced Sorento present about as well as pricier trims. The full complement of electronic and inflatable safety equipment is also standard.
A 2014 Kia Sorento SX stickers at $38,550 with a V6 engine and all-wheel drive, leather seats (heated and cooled in front), three rows of seating, a panoramic moonroof, keyless entry and touch-start, blind-spot monitoring, and the full UVO eServices infotainment setup including an 8-inch touch-screen display, navigation and a 10-speaker Infinity audio system. For another $3,000 you can step up to the SX Limited, with softer Nappa leather, a heated steering wheel, heated rear seats, and a handful of exterior touches.
Because the 4-cylinder engine isn't markedly cheaper or more efficient than the V6, and because the V6's 290 horsepower is a lot to feed through only the front wheels, we recommend the 2014 Kia Sorento with its new V6 engine and all-wheel drive. The all-wheel-drive system features a locking center differential for especially difficult conditions, and incorporates a new Torque Vectoring Cornering Control system that further enhances drivability. All Sorento configurations offer the same 6-speed, manually selectable automatic transmission.
191 horsepower @ 6,300 rpm
181 lb-ft of torque @ 4,250 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/26 mpg (FWD), 19/24 mpg (AWD)
290 horsepower @ 6,400 rpm
252 lb-ft of torque @ 5,200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/25 mpg (FWD), 18/24 mpg (AWD)
The 2014 Kia Sorento starts at a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $24,950, and climbs to just shy of $42,000 for the Nappa-leather-clad SX Limited specialty trim. That upper end sounds like a lot of money for a Kia, but the 2014 Sorento is a lot of car, both in features and refinement. Kia's dramatically improved resale values only bolster the Sorento's already impressive value proposition.
By kiaforever on Friday, April 18, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 8,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Very spacious. great value. safe. stylish"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Kia has really stepped up their game! This is very comparable to more luxury SUV's like it! Great handling, drives wonderful in the snow. Huge capacity for cargo! Love this vehicle so much!"
By pook on Wednesday, April 16, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 14,000overall rating 2 of 10rating details
Pros: "handling, power, styling"
Cons: "unreliable, tailgate rattle,ride could be smoother"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"bought my 2013 lx v6 awd sorento brand new in september 12, i like the looks of the car an it handles well and the v6 gives plenty of gusto, however two months into ownership i started experiencing trouble. the car would not crank over, turn key and nothing, it was in shop about five or six times, twice on a tow truck, finally in march 13 they seeed to get it fixed, today however april 16 2014, it wouldn't start and had to drive my other vehicle to work, back to dealer on a tow truck, i have also had a vibration at highway speeds that will make my hands go numb after awhile, even after many complaints, the dealer can't duplicate problem, i have had a lemon law case brought against kia, so far no resolution."
By IIBEACH on Sunday, April 06, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 64,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Lots of space, handles well, great MPG, visibility"
Cons: "Not as quiet on the highway as I'd like"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I bought my 2012 Sorento EX in August 2011. I selected it because Kia gave so much more for the money vs. others I liked. I already have 65K on it, and while I expected it to be competent, I guess I'm surprised that it has been much more than that. It gives me loads of space, it's quite comfortable, exceptional MPG (23/29), great acceleration for a 4 cyl, and with the exception of a seam in the driver's seat that opened (which Kia replaced), I have had no issues whatsoever. I don't keep most cars very long, due to my high miles driven, but when I replace this one (soon), I will give Kia another look. They earned it."
4 people out of 6 found this review helpful
By SC on Friday, March 28, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 11,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Plenty of interior space for a long drive"
Cons: "4 cylinder does not have enough push"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"I love my Sorento! It is great for highway driving and meets my needs of having to park in downtown. Fuel efficiency is wonderful, fill up once every 2 weeks, as I have the 4 cylinder. If I were to buy again, I would definitely get a Sorento, but would choose the 6 cylinder, as it lacks a little in power when getting onto the highway."
6 people out of 9 found this review helpful
By Douglas on Monday, March 10, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 20,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Dependable, fun to drive, great value"
Cons: "Gas mileage lower than advertised, naviation so-so"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"This is my 2nd Sorento. Love the heated/ cooled leather seats, auto climate control, UVO system, etc. This car has nearly every feature you can get, including a glass roof. The only things that aren't perfect are the navigation system, the gas mileage, and cargo space. The navigation maps are not very accurate. (says my home and work addresses don't exist!) Gas mileage is close to posted ratings, but not quite. I knew about the cargo space when I bought the car, so I'm not saying I am disappointed, just wish it had a little more."
8 people out of 11 found this review helpful
By Drew on Tuesday, February 11, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 17,899overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "We love it is all I can say, can't say otherwise.."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"We started out with a Kia Sportage in 2009 with a 4 cyl, & shifted up to Sorrento w/V-6 So we can better tow our 1650 Crestliner Aluminum Bass boat back & forth to Pleasant & Havasu lake, the Sportage was underpowered & now the Sorrento is powered great at 276HP! We love it as did the older Sportage, this just fits the bill better. A little pricey at 37,750. for the Sorrento FWD SX But it's fully loaded with everything you could imagine except all wheel drive & we like it that way, better mileage & less maintenance, we could have spent WAY LESS ON THE BASE MODEL BUT WE LIKE THE LOADED ONE!!! We decided because it has front twin traction drive, it's plenty of control on surfaces we drive & gets better mileage than the All Wheel Drive by around 2 MPG & is much less maintenance without another Differential, transfer case & other 4wd components! We get around 26mpg loaded on the highway & have lots of room. Very happy & Kia & sister company Hyundai have the best warranty..."
12 people out of 15 found this review helpful