Motoring: Sorento impresses
I drove one at its launch event in Scottsdale, Arizona, and while I got an impression of it, I needed to spend some more time in one, on roads I'm more familiar with to see what the 2014 Sorento is really like.
Plus, I needed a vehicle to get me to Detroit, Michigan for the 2014 North American International Auto Show, and a comfortable vehicle would be nice for the long highway trek.
Did I make the right choice?
From a comfort and convenience point of view, yes I did. The Sorento SX I was given had two features I absolutely love: a heated steering wheel and heated seats. These features make early morning drives in winter much more manageable, and I'm happy to say that the ones in the Sorento work very well.
My tester also had a navigation system, a panoramic sunroof, and a 10-speaker Infinity sound system that sounded better than some concert halls.
While the Sorento can seat seven people, I was only concerned with how comfortable the driver's seat would be for my trip. It is very comfortable indeed — you can drive across the continent in one of these and not get tired.
The Sorento SX also has a feature called FlexSteer, which allows you to adjust the weight of the steering. I love this feature, because you can have it in Sport mode on the highway for the firmest feel, and Comfort mode in the city for a softer, more agile feel. I bet most drivers would just leave it in Normal mode and forget about it.
My tester also had the better engine. While the base engine in the 2014 Sorento is a 2.4-litre four-cylinder motor that produces 191 hp, my tester had the 3.3-litre V6 motor that produces 290 hp. This is a very willing engine. While it loves to cruise along quietly, you stab the throttle and it growls and shoots you forward with sporty enthusiasm. I like this motor, and the same goes for its six-speed automatic gearbox. Even when asked to perform at speed, the shifts are clean and smooth. Trust me, it doesn't matter what you're driving right now, the powertrain in the Sorento will impress you.
The all-wheel drive system as fitted to my tester also works well, giving you lots of confidence, especially on slippery tarmac.
It also offers good fuel economy. On my highway run — in cold wintery weather with a vehicle wearing winter tires — I averaged about 9.1 litres/100km, although in the city I was averaging around 14.5 litres/100km. It's a bit thirsty if you just live in the city, but then again, most SUVs are.
I also think it's a handsome SUV; the updated styling was certainly a step in the right direction. The jewel-like headlamps and LED taillights gives it a very expensive look.
All in all, the 2014 Kia Sorento is a great SUV — and it is not that expensive to buy, either. The base model is yours from $26,695. A loaded model in SX trim (like my tester) is yours for $41,795. Compared to similarly equipped German or Japanese offerings, the Sorento is a bargain.
I really enjoyed the 2014 Sorento on my trip, and I wouldn't mind spending more time in it again, if Kia lends me one again.