The Kia Sorento is a good-sized, highly versatile, extremely capable, SUV. It is actually classified as a Mid-Size Crossover SUV, otherwise known as a CUV. In fact, the 2014 model Kia Sorento was entered into the competition at this year's Truck Rodeo conducted annually by the Texas Auto Writers Association.
Although the Kia Sorento did not win the category, it did very well against the competition. The entries in the mid-size CUV group were the Hyundai Santa Fe, the Dodge Journey AWD, Mitsubishi Outlander AWD, Chevrolet Equinox, and the Kia Sorento AWD.
The 2014 Kia Sorento was accompanied to the Texas Truck Rodeo by Emily Grannis. Emily is an Account Executive with the Zeno Group, PR agents for the Kia brand. Emily was quite knowledgeable about the Sorento and accompanied the journalists on their test drives over the course. The Truck Rodeo was held at the historic Knibbe Ranch in Bulverde, Texas, in the famed Hill Country north of San Antonio. The on-road driving took asphalt roads for part of the way, then rock and dirt roads over fairly severe ranch road driving conditions. The off-road driving followed much more challenging rock roads across the back side of the ranch, past deer stand locations, down to the gravel beds of the Guadalupe River, up slippery steep slopes, through small flowing spring-fed creeks, and up some very tough rock climbing areas. The All-Wheel-Drive Kia Sorento was up to the challenge, except for the most severe and steepest climb.
The entry at the Truck Rodeo was an EX trim level which is considered the mid-level of the line-up. It certainly was not entry-level nor was it the top-of-the-line. It was a deep blue called Wave Blue with a Beige interior. It was powered by a 3.3 liter V6 engine, although a 2.4-liter inline four-cylinder is available. The 6-speed automatic transmission is standard. It had All-Wheel Drive with Locking Center Differential and 18-inch alloy wheels. It has a towing capacity of up to 3,500 pounds.
Inside the new Kia Sorento is an array of technology and creature comforts. The cabin feels very 'open', mostly due to the huge panoramic sunroof. The sunroof includes a powered sunshade and is part of an extra-expense Touring Package. The Touring Package, which costs $4000, added a navigation system with an 8 inch display, an Infinity Surround-Sound system, ventilated front seats, blind spot detection, 4-way power passenger seat, memory driver's seat and mirrors, power folding outside mirrors, a power liftgate in the rear, as well as the panoramic sunroof.
The Sorento offers an abundance of cargo room, especially with the third row seats folded flat. With the second and third row seats down, there is over 72 cubic inches of cargo space. Although this is called a 7-passenger vehicle with the optional third row, those third row seats are much more adaptable to young children than to adults. This is especially true for older adults attempting to climb in or out of that third row.
The MSRP was not an inexpensive as I had anticipated for a Kia. It was listed at $31,700. With the Touring Package and delivery charges, the bottom sticker price came to $36,550. It is EPA rated at 20 mpg overall with 24 mpg for the highway.
Bottom line: The 2014 Kia Sorento EX AWD is a good vehicle, especially for a family. It is highly versatile and practical. It seats up to seven with that optional third row. The panoramic sunroof opens up the cabin for light and a roomy appearance. The price may not necessarily be a bargain, but with the good looks and capabilities, the Kia Sorento just might be what you are looking to get for your next vehicle.