Having had the 2014 Kia Sorento SX as a long term test vehicle for over a year now our staff has grown fond of its fuel economy, comfortable ride and ample cargo space. With 20,000-plus miles on the odometer the Sorento has proven to be both a reliable and consummate road vehicle. As reported before, there was an issue with the rear glass panel breaking during a return trip from Phoenix, but after a visit to the Kia dealership the panel was replaced with the cause deemed an anomaly. So far, so good. 

The Obligatory Road Trip

After all the miles and all the trips it seemed only appropriate to drive the Sorento to Las Vegas as we have done with a number of our other test vehicles. And what is more quintessential than the obligatory road trip to Las Vegas?  So, off I went on a 500+ mile trip from Kelley Blue Book's home base in Irvine, California during a weekend in July. With average temperatures hovering around 105 degrees during the summer we picked the hottest time of year to visit Sin City.  

Now while Las Vegas can get hot during the summer months, Baker, California -- a small, high desert town that is on the way to Las Vegas and also home to the World's Largest Thermometer - checked in at 112 degrees the day we drove through it. You wouldn't know it was that hot sitting in the cool comfort of the Sorento. We had the climate set at 68 degrees, the ventilated seats turned on and the fan cranked up high, and the Sorento did not miss a beat. The 290-horespower 3.3-liter V6 engine made the trek through the desert and the hills effortless and comfortable.

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During the first leg of our trip there had been a tractor-trailer accident on the highway that forced all vehicles to come to a complete stop.  Keep in mind that it was already a toasty 101 degrees outside and sitting with the windows open and the engine off was not an option. So, there we sat for about 25 minutes with the engine running, the AC on and listening to music from our iPhone via Kia's infotainment system. We were able to wait patiently for traffic to start moving again due to the cooling comfort and musical entertainment provided by our Sorento. 

That's Infotainment

The Sorento's infotainment system is worth mentioning because it is very easy to operate and opens up a world of wireless possibilities to the user. Pairing a smart phone is a breeze plus you can store up to five phones. There are a variety of hands-free features to use from the basic making and receiving calls to downloading recent call history lists to having a text read back to you while driving. The system even allows you to respond to incoming messages from your smart phone through a voice command. 

And while the phone features are very useful, the infotainment system also allows you to utilize other types of media such as an audio CD, USB device, or music from your smart phone via Bluetooth wireless streaming. This driver especially liked being able to pick up from where the last song stopped playing after exiting and then returning to the vehicle. Plus, as another editor pointed out, the Kia Sorento is equipped with a total of five power ports which include a USB port and a 115-volt plug. These are all highly valuable features for any road trip, particularly the really long ones with multiple passengers. 

Heading Home

After a enjoying our brief visit to fabulous Las Vegas, which consisted of  taking in Cirque de Soleil's "The Beatles LOVE" at the Mirage, dinner at Joe's Seafood, Prime Steak and Stone Crab located within Caesars Palace and a one night stay at the Aria, it was time to hit the road again and head home. With all that we experienced from our drive in with the Sorento we looked forward to a smooth return trip. But, again we encountered heavy traffic going through some road construction and through the hilly portion of the highway - all in the summer heat. Fortunately, it was made all the more tolerable thanks to all amenities offered in the 2014 Kia Sorento.

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