Pros: Generous levels of standard equipment; well-designed infotainment features; quiet cabin; comfortable ride
Cons: Cramped, hard-to-access 3rd-row seats; pricey option packages drive up prices in a hurry; 4-cylinder engine strains to provide adequate performance
CG Says: The Kia Sorento receives a significant freshening for 2014. Kia boasts that 80 percent of the parts in the 2014 Sorento are either new or modified from the 2011-2013 design. Changes begin with a new platform with a beefier front subframe, an added engine-bay brace, and greater use of lightweight high-strength steel. The result of all this is a quoted 18-percent improvement in torsional rigidity (resistance to twisting). Other technical updates include slightly wider wheels, larger front brakes, a revised suspension with a slightly lower ride height, and a switch from hydraulic steering assist to an electromechanical system with newly available FlexSteer, which allows drivers to vary steering effort through Comfort, Normal, and Sport modes. In addition, Sorento’s available AWD adds a standard locking center differential and a rear-axle torque-vectoring feature; the latter is said to aid cornering stability in certain situations. Kia’s first blind-spot detection system debuts here as well. The 2014 Sorento also sports mildly freshened styling, a remodeled interior, new connectivity features, a new V6 engine, and a reordered model slate. Sorento was already an appealing midsize SUV, and the 2014 seems even more so: quieter, a bit peppier, no less economical, and much nicer inside. Just as nice is that Sorento’s existing assets remain intact, including a strong warranty, many available upscale features, capable road manners, and good all-round utility. The cramped, hard-to-reach 3rd-row seat still disappoints, but you can say the same for most like-equipped rivals. More than ever, then, the Sorento merits serious consideration if you’re looking for a capable, high-value midsize crossover.