If the recent snowy winter hasn’t convinced you to trade in the family sedan for an SUV, then check out Kia’s 2014 Sorento SX AWD. It’s a value laden SUV at a modest price point that could convince you to trade, especially when considering Kia’s excellent 10 year, 100K Limited powertrain warranty.
Offered in LX, EX, SX and SX-L, we tested the SX that came generously equipped with no extra cost options. The SX-L version, in case you’re interested, adds to the SXs wealth of niceties with chromed wheels, xenon headlights, wooden heated steering wheel and higher quality leather interior.
If opting for the LX, the standard engine is a 191-hp, 2.4L four-cylinder, or, an optional 3.3L, 290-hp (252 lb/ft of torque) V6 that comes standard on the EX, SX and SX-L.
The V6 couples to a 6-speed automatic transmission that provides EPA mileage estimates of 18 city, 24-highway mpg and incorporates an “Eco” mode that’s activated by a dash switch. The combination, in this 4,235-pound vehicle, offers lively acceleration from a standing stop to highway passing maneuvers. It’s been 0-60 tested at 7.4 seconds, which is relatively spirited for a vehicle in this segment. Sorento also carries a tow rating of 3,500 pounds, enough for a utility, small boat or ATV trailer.
While it’s related to Hyundai’s (its parent company) Santa Fe, Sorento has a sporty look as opposed to Santa Fe’s luxury styling traits. Sorento’s sportiness flows to the interior where a low 19-inch step-in puts you in semi-supportive perforated leather seats that blend nicely with glossy plastic trim panels on doors, dash and console. A large and centered speedometer makes speed checks a quick glance as does a 7x4-inch LCD display for GPS nav (that displays designated speed limit signs on the left side of the screen), rearview camera, audio functions and is voice activated (Uvo system).
HVAC controls are simplistic rotary dials plus flush buttons for your heating/cooling comfort. Heated front seats have three temperature settings that heat-up quicker than most. Especially nice were the vanity lights that illuminate the door handles inside and out at night, and a standard blind spot monitoring system.
Sorento’s AWD has a “Lock” switch that is used mainly to get started off from deep snow or a stuck position. The owner’s manual states, “This vehicle is designed primarily for on-road use. It was not designed to drive in challenging off-road conditions.” Added to this, and like some others, the lock automatically disconnects at speeds above 19 mph where it reverts back to AWD. Sorento does, however, have a 7.3-inch undercarriage clearance that is appreciable but lower than - for example - the Subaru Outback at 8.7 inches.
Whether you want it or not, Sorento SE comes standard with a huge (51x21.5-inch) full roof length sunroof of which only the front portion opens.
Ingress/egress into the back seat is easy and although the test car did not have the optional third row seat for 7-passenger seating, it appears the seat would be a tight ingress squeeze and mainly for kids.
Cargo space is ample and measures 39 inches deep, 46.5 wide and 30.5 high. Flip the 60/40 seatbacks and depth extends to a full six feet (72.5 cubic feet). There are also two hidden compartments beneath the cargo floor. An aft one is for small items like a purse or tools, and the fore section (where the third row seat would be situated) is for larger items.
Shod with 19-inch Kumho tires, Sorento has a smooth, quiet ride and its suspension soaks up road imperfections with ease. Handling is on par with others in its class and with some body lean in sharp turns taken at speed. Sorento does park easily as it’s quite nimble with a 35.8 foot turning radius.
Since there were no extra cost options, the SX had a bottom line of $37,650 with delivery. A bit pricey when considering the long list of popular competitors in this class.
Aside from price, the only quirk was the GPS nav system that required an “I agree” acknowledgement when starting the car. If not done momentarily after keying the ignition, a voice message comes on to remind you. A real pain. Otherwise, Sorento has a tremendous amount of content for the money.
To check out the entire Kia line, stop by Keystone Kia on Lehigh Street in Allentown. And to automatically receive auto news and reviews from Nick Hromiak, click on the “Subscribe” notation on this page.