Just three years after U.S. production of the Sorento began in West Point, Georgia, Kia Motors America (KMA) debuted a significantly redesigned iteration of this capable CUV at the 2012 Los Angeles International Auto Show. The 2014 Sorento will arrive to market as no mere refresh or facelift, boasting instead an all-new chassis, a powerful new Gasoline Direct Injected (GDI) V6 engine, a substantially restyled interior, a next-generation infotainment system and Kia's first-ever blind spot detection system2. With the sale date expected to land in the first quarter of 2013, the new Sorento also adds a top-of-the-line trim level to its lineup – the SX Limited3 – which delivers an impressive roster of premium features and amenities.
"The new Sorento improves heavily on its already successful crossover formula with significant enhancements across the board to chassis, powertrain, technology, amenities and design," said Michael Sprague, executive vice president, marketing and communications, KMA. "Now more refined and impressive than ever, the Sorento advances people-moving and family transportation to new levels of sophistication."
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 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, 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 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 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 for improved efficiency and is quicker with 2.95 turns of the steering wheel, lock-to-lock. The new steering also features an available FlexSteer™ system that 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 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, strut-tower bracing increases chassis strength and provides a solid platform for the redesigned independent front suspension that is mounted to a stiffer H-shaped sub-frame cradle for improved ride comfort and NVH. Around back, a reinforced multi-link setup utilizes new, larger bushings and mounts to improve road noise, vibration and straight line stability, 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 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 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 Sorento is to experience a new level of sophisticated elegance. A redesigned instrument panel deftly combines technology with proven ergonomics. Standard on EX and optionally available on the LX trim, 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 Traffic™4 with real-time road information updates, a premium Infinity®5 audio system, SiruisXM™ Satellite Radio6, Bluetooth® hands-free connectivity7, 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 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: 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 Sorento was a logical follow-up.
Offered only in Ebony Black, Snow White Pearl or Titanium Silver, the SX Limited is set apart visually from the Sorento SX by unique self-leveling Xenon HID head lights, exclusive 19-inch chrome wheels and sporty red painted brake calipers. Exclusive SX-L 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 Sorento SX Limited an inviting respite from the stress and strain of urban existence.