Kia once stood in the shadows while other auto manufacturers brought exciting vehicle designs to market.
Today, the Korean automaker is a leader in progressive styling that is turning heads on American roads.
To stay competitive, Kia foregoes the standard five to seven year full makeover regiment to introduce the 2014 Kia Sorento midsize crossover with a mid-cycle styling update.
Kia says that more than 80-percent of the 2014 Sorento parts are either all-new or significantly redesigned.
Leading Sorento’s refreshed look is an edgy front fascia dominated by a “tiger-nose” grill and swept back headlights that rise above deep-set lower valance vertical fog lamp housings.
Sorento’s profile stamps a dramatic accent crease across its doors that direct to large LED tail lamps and a sculpted rear end that reflects its forward body design.
The 2014 Kia Sorento comes in LX, EX, SX and up-level SX Limited trim levels with standard two-row five-passenger seating.
“Younger buyers like Sorento’s athletic looks while others in their fifties are looking to get out of their minivan,” says Tony Ivanovic, general sales manager for Southlake Kia in Merrillville.
And like minivans, Sorento has a third row option to accommodate two additional riders.
“Sorento’s third row seat is actually usable for adults along with other interior features to make it more user-friendly,” Ivanovic said.
All 2014 versions get a redesigned instrument panel, standard Bluetooth, satellite radio and power accessories while EX trims and higher receive a newly configured seven inch liquid crystal display gauge cluster. Center stack controls also have been revised.
A panoramic sunroof with power shade is optional on EX and standard on SX models.
My 2014 Sorento SX Limited test model comes standard with Nappa leather upholstery, ventilated and heated front seats, heated second row seats and wood-trimmed heated steering wheel.
Folding the second and third rows down yields over 72 cubic feet of cargo space accessed by a programmable power lift gate.
But Sorento’s biggest power change comes up front.
The 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine with 191 horsepower that was once a choice for the mid-level Sorento is now standard. A new 3.3L V-6 generating 290 hp is stock on all but the LX.
Both engines are coupled to a 6-speed automatic transmission configured in front- or available all-wheel drive.
Fuel economy for the 2.4L engine delivers 20 miles per gallon/city and 26 mpg/highway while the 3.3L achieves 18/25 respectively.
Considering the power supremacy and close matching fuel economy, the V-6 engine becomes the best choice to move Sorento’s maximum 5468 pound curb weight and 3500 lb. towing capacity.
A new electronic power steering application directs Sorento’s momentum with an available Flex Steer system that gives a driver selection of Comfort, Normal or Sport steering modes. Suspension and chassis also have been revised.
The 2014 Kia Sorento ranges from $24,100 for the base LX to $40,100 for Sorento SX Limited.