Kia Motors America (KMA) unveiled a significantly redesigned version of its popular Kia Sorento CUV at the 2012 Los Angeles International Auto Show. Just three years after U.S. production of the CUV began in West Point, Georgia, the 2014 Sorento comes to market as no mere refresh or facelift, boasting instead an all-new chassis, a new Gasoline Direct Injected (GDI) V6 engine, a substantially redesigned interior and a next-generation infotainment system. Expected to arrive in showrooms during the first quarter of 2013, the redesigned Kia Sorento also adds a top-of-the-line trim level to its lineup - the SX Limited - which delivers an impressive roster of premium features and amenities.
"With each new vehicle launch Kia is advancing the concept of value to new levels of sophistication and with significant chassis, suspension, powertrain and comfort and convenience upgrades the new Kia Sorento continues that trend," said Michael Sprague, executive vice president, marketing and communications, KMA. "With more than 80 percent of the 2014 Sorento including new or significantly redesigned parts, it's obvious that the improvements are not just skin deep; including technological enhancements such as UVO eServices, the next generation of our voice activated telematics system, and Kia's first-ever blind spot detection system."
Fundamental Changes Improve Performance, Ride and Handling
If the engine is to be considered the heart of any vehicle, it's safe to assume the new 2014 Kia Sorento has a powerful ticker beneath its sculpted hood. New this year, the all-aluminum 3.3-liter GDI V6 produces a smooth 290 horsepower at 6,400 rpm and a stout 252 lb.-ft. of torque at 5,200 rpm. It's available optionally on the LX and EX, while residing as standard equipment in the LX V6, EX V6, SX and SX Limited. Power is routed to either the front wheels or, optionally, to all four using an enhanced Torque On Demand all-wheel drive system that seamlessly directs power to the tire with the most traction and now includes the benefit of Torque Vectoring Cornering Control (TVCC) that aids stability under certain driving conditions.
The 2.4-liter GDI four-cylinder engine returns, now as standard equipment in the LX and EX, and replaces the previously-standard 2.4-liter MPI 4-cylinder. With 191 horsepower at 6,300 rpm and 181 lb.-ft. of torque on-hand at a low 4,250 rpm, the lightweight all-aluminum powerplant is efficient while still providing enough grunt to perform yeoman's duty day in and day out.
Regardless of engine or driveline choice, the Kia Sorento comes standard with a smooth shifting six-speed automatic transmission. Also standard in the new 2014 Sorento, Electric Motor Driven Power Steering replaces the hydraulic unit from the 2013 model, which improves steering feel and reduces weight to aid efficiency. New available FlexSteer offers drivers a choice of three steering modes: Comfort, Normal and Sport.
Just three years into its product lifecycle, Kia's engineers saw fit to bring the new 2014 Kia Sorento to market on an all-new chassis that increases torsional rigidity by 18-percent. A major focal point in designing the new chassis was to improve ride and handling. Within the engine bay, a strut-tower brace increases chassis stiffness and provides a solid platform for the new independent front suspension that incorporates a stiffer H-shaped sub-frame cradle which offers improved vehicle tracking. Around back, a reinforced multi-link setup utilizes new bushings and mounts to better isolate road noise vibration, while its compact design allows for more interior space.
Sophisticated Design, Inside and Out
In a segment more often known for bland utility, the new 2014 Sorento sports dynamic and sophisticated design elements, inside and out. Redesigned front and rear fascias enhance the Kia Sorento's road presence with a lower, broader appearance up front and a visually wider stance at the rear. The ubiquitous Kia tiger-nose grille is enhanced with an anodized silver metal or black mesh appearance and the lower valance has been opened to expose an aggressive cross-hatched maw. Front LED positioning lamps create dramatic eyebrows while projector style headlights peer from behind tapered clear lenses. Available fog lights on all trim models have been upended and pushed to the far corners of the front bumper for better forward and side visibility. Horizontally positioned rear LED combination lamps embrace the turn signal and back-up lights, emitting a warm corona that makes the 2014 Kia Sorento instantly recognizable from behind. The new Sorento rides on redesigned 17-, 18- and, a first for Kia's best-selling CUV, larger 19-inch wheels.
To step inside the new 2014 Kia Sorento is to experience a new level of sophisticated elegance. A redesigned instrument panel deftly combines technology with proven ergonomics. On EX trims and above, the large center gauge cluster features a 7-inch TFT LCD that projects a digital speedometer flanked by easy-to-read analog instruments for the tachometer, fuel level and engine temp. The TFT LCD readout also displays trip and vehicle information, along with navigation updates (optional). The center stack's appearance and layout has been modernized and button positions have been rearranged for a more user-friendly experience. The new design also provides room for Kia's new larger touch screen. Diagonally spanning eight inches, the optional screen integrates navigation, SiriusXM Trafficâ„¢ with real-time road information updates, a premium InfinityÂ® audio system, SiruisXMâ„¢ Satellite Radio, BluetoothÂ® hands-free connectivity, vehicle settings and UVO eServices, Kia's next generation of infotainment and telematics. Other new available features in the 2014 Sorento include Kia's first-ever programmable power liftgate, a redesigned panoramic sunroof with a one piece power-operated shade, integrated 2nd row sliding sunshades, available dual ventilated air-cooled front seats, a 115-volt power inverter, and illuminated door handle pockets.
Using advanced sonar sensors, the 2014 Kia Sorento is also the first of many Kia vehicles to begin offering a blind spot detection system. The system continually monitors traffic around the Sorento and if another vehicle is detected within a set distance, audio and visual elements alert the driver to the issue.
Advancing Value to New Levels of Sophistication: Kia Sorento SX Limited
Shortly after the arrival of the new 2014 Sorento, the Sorento SX Limited is destined for market within the second quarter of 2013. With the success of the Optima SX Limited launched earlier this year, offering a similar appearance package on the Kia Sorento was a logical follow-up.
Offered only in Ebony Black, Snow White Pearl and Titanium Silver, the SX Limited is set apart visually from the Kia Sorento SX by unique self-leveling Xenon HID head lights, exclusive 19-inch chrome wheels and sporty red painted brake calipers. Exclusive SXL badges adorn the exterior to complete the look.
Inside, unique and luxurious Nappa leather trimmed seats, a wood-trimmed, heated steering wheel, and heated rear seats are all standard. The exclusive soft-touch head liner and pillar accents make the Kia Sorento SX Limited an inviting respite from the stress and strain of urban existence.