For 2014, Kia's top-selling Sorento sport utility vehicle is all about "more." The restyled Sorento with attractive new face has a more upscale interior, a more powerful V-6, a more comfortable ride and more available features and safety equipment than its predecessor.
The 2014 Sorento also is one of the few crossover SUVs that lets buyers decide whether to add more seats, so Sorentos can be equipped with five or seven seats.
In contrast, the Toyota RAV4 dropped its third-seat offering and now is sold solely with five seats, while Honda's CR-V has never offered third-row seats.
2014 Kia Sorento SX FWD
- Base price: $24,100 for LX FWD; $25,700 for LX V-6 FWD; $25,900 for LX AWD; $27,500 for LX V-6 AWD; $30,000 for EX FWD; $31,800 for EX AWD; $35,000 for SX FWD
- Price as tested: $37,100
- Type: Front-engine, front-wheel drive, seven-passenger, mid-size, crossover, sport utility vehicle
- Engine: 3.3-liter, double overhead cam, gasoline direct injection V-6 with CVVT
- Mileage: 18 mpg (city), 25 mpg (highway)
- Top speed: 120 mph
- Length: 184.6 inches
- Wheelbase: 106.3 inches
- Curb weight: 3,772 pounds
- Built at: West Point, Ga.
- Options: Third-row seating with 50/50 split backs and rear air conditioning $1,200; cargo net $50.
- Destination charge: $850
Buyers who need six or seven seats only intermittently will find the 2014 Sorento is nicely sized for this occasional use.
At 15.4 feet long from bumper to bumper, the 2014 Sorento is like a slightly larger compact SUV or smaller mid-size SUV. It's just 4.7 inches longer than the 2013 RAV4 and 6.3 inches longer than a 2014 CR-V.
And it has the appealing ride of a crossover SUV that's built on a car-like, rather than truck-based, platform.
To add more ride refinement for 2014, Kia revamped the Sorento's rear suspension and added strut tower bracing under the hood as well as a revised front suspension attached to a new subframe.
Better yet, the Sorento comes with Kia's generous warranty that includes 10-year/100,000-mile coverage of the powertrain and a full five years/60,000 miles of limited basic coverage plus roadside assistance.
In contrast, the 2014 Honda CR-V has a limited basic warranty lasting three years or 36,000 miles and powertrain coverage for five years/60,000 miles.
But the Sorento's starting retail price for 2014 is a bit more, too.
Starting manufacturer's suggested retail price, including destination charge, is $24,950 for the base, front-wheel drive 2014 Sorento LX with 191-horsepower, four-cylinder engine and six-speed automatic transmission.
This is $1,000 more than the starting retail price for a 2013 Sorento, which had a lower-powered, 175-horsepower four cylinder that no longer is in the Sorento lineup.
The price increase makes the base, 2014 Sorento LX pricier than the competing 2013 RAV4, which has a starting MSRP, including destination charge, of $24,160 for a front-wheel drive model with 176-horsepower four cylinder and six-speed automatic.
The base 2014 Sorento LX also is pricier than the $23,775 starting retail price for the base, 2014 Honda CR-V with 185-horsepower four cylinder, five-speed automatic and front-wheel drive.
In fact, prices for the upper level 2014 Sorentos reach into the $30,000s, and the new, top-of-the-line Sorento SX-L has a starting MSRP, including destination charge, of $40,950.
The SX-L includes all-wheel drive, the new 290-horsepower V-6, and luxury features such as leather-trimmed seats, panoramic sunroof, Xenon high-intensity discharge headlamps, heated front and rear seats and heated steering wheel as well as navigation system, power liftgate, side blind-spot detection system and rearview camera.
Too bad that a rearview camera is optional on the base, 2014 Sorento LX; it's standard on upper trim levels. But both the 2014 CR-V and 2013 RAV4 have a rearview camera as standard equipment on all models.
The lowest starting price for a 2014 Sorento with all-wheel drive is $26,750, and this includes the four-cylinder engine. The V-6 is available on all trim levels and the lowest starting price for a 2014 Sorento with the new V-6 is $26,550.
With 119,597 U.S. sales last year, the Sorento ranks as the top-selling Kia SUV and the second best-selling Kia vehicle overall in the United States, after the Kia Optima sedan.
Buyers get a pleasant-looking SUV that sets riders up above the pavement for decent views out.
But seat cushions also are positioned so most passengers can set themselves on the outer seats without having to climb or scramble aboard.
The test Sorento SX AWD included an impressive, new panoramic roof that made the interior feel open and airy.
And the Sorento's first two rows of seats, in particular, were comfortable and supportive.
Since second-row seats slide forward and back on their tracks, it was easy to arrange legroom in these two rows to accommodate seat occupants.
But two third-row seats are best for children and small-stature adults, as the seats rest close to the raised floor back there.
A thoughtful touch: Kia adds rear air conditioning, with vents at the sides of the third-row seats, to every Sorento with third-row seats. This can help alleviate car sickness tendencies for these rearmost riders.
The test vehicle had the 3.3-liter, double overhead cam, direct injection gasoline V-6 that was well-suited to most driving conditions. The only time the V-6 seemed taxed was in hard acceleration going uphill on a mountain road when the Sorento carried five adults.
Engine sounds were strong and confident, and most of the time, power came on smoothly. Shifts in the automatic transmission were noticeable at times, but even with uplevel, 19-inch tires, the test Sorento had less road noise than earlier Sorentos.
The new interior has a well-arranged dashboard that doesn't look cheap or weird, and fit and finish on the tester was excellent.
The power liftgate is programmable now, and maximum cargo room is a competitive 72.5 cubic feet.
Blind-spot monitoring is a new safety feature.
But the Sorento has six air bags, less than the RAV4 has.
Fuel economy was lackluster at 19.4 mpg in combined city/highway travel. This is less than the 21-mpg rating reported by the federal government for the V-6-powered, 2014 Sorento.
Kia is part of the automaker that owns Hyundai, and the Sorento handily outsold its Hyundai sibling, the Santa Fe, last year in the United States.