SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- When is a full makeover not such a full makeover? Maybe when you’re talking about the 2014 Kia Sorento. This crossover SUV is said to be totally redone, if you listen to the Korean automaker. But it sure looks similar to the previous version.
Well, at least to the naked eye it looks the same.
The Sorento gets a new chassis – the same one used by sister automaker Hyundai on its Santa Fe crossover.
Kia says the handling, ride and noise reduction have been improved. On a recent reveal event in Scottsdale for journalists, we got to take the Sorento out on highways traversing the desert.
Yes, we can confirm that the Sorento has a very nice ride.
Not sports car-like, but nice nonetheless.
The Sorento is now powered by a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 191 horsepower. Or you may opt for the 3.3-liter V-6 that makes 290 horsepower.
Kia has added the Dynamax all-wheel-drive system to the Sorento, a system that debuted on the small Sportage crossover. It helps with traction and handling.
So, the solid, pleasant ride is perfect for what this vehicle is: a conveniently sized SUV for small to medium-sized families.
It shouldn’t, and doesn’t, aspire to be any kind of sports car.
Fuel economy is pretty good, with the four-cylinder getting 19 mpg city, 24 highway with front-wheel drive and 20 and 26 with all-wheel. Move up to the V-6 and you get 18 and 24 front-wheel and 18 and 25 all-wheel.
For driver and passengers, the Sorento offers a great environment.
Drivers will appreciate the thoughtfully laid out dashboard, which thankfully features easy knobs instead of the touch pad madness that’s all the rage now.
If you opt for the SX model, you’ll get plenty of amenities such as a power liftgate, rear air conditioning, heated and cooled leather front seats and heated steering wheel.
The Sorento comes with two or three rows of seating, but if you get the three-row version, be aware that only the tiniest folks can sit back there.
The Sorento has a pretty wide pricing range, starting at around $25,000 and topping out at a little over $40,000, if you get a fully loaded SX.
But for all that it offers, it still presents a solid value.