Thursday, May 30, 2013

2014 Sorento gets more than worthy upgrade

Mark Glover’s AutoGlo car reviews also can be seen on the Business page of The Sacramento Bee’s website – via the “GALLERY: Reviews of new cars” link at www.sacbee.com/business

Sacramento, California – Having driven a 2013 Kia Sorento sport-utility vehicle just weeks earlier, I can tell you that the changed-for-2014 version of the Sorento is better.

A lot better, in fact.

It’s sleeker, more attractive, better handling, smoother and a bit stronger than its predecessor.  That’s pretty much what you want in an upgrade, right?

My tester was the 2014 Kia Sorento SX FWD version, starting at $35,000.  Mine had a 50/50 folding third-row seat addition that helped push the bottom line to $36,900 (10 trim levels range from about $24,000 to nearly $40,000).  That’s a pretty sizable investment, no matter how many people you drive around on a regular basis.

And figure on paying for gas, with the tester’s tepid fuel mileage ratings of 18 miles per gallon in the city and 25 mpg on the highway.

Beyond that, the vehicle is all good.

This Sorento came with Kia’s UVO eServices, voice-activated telematics system.  Think of it as system that handles multiple voice commands, safety systems, car systems, entertainment features and Bluetooth match-up with the push of a button.  Some studying of the owner’s manual is required, but hey, it’s smart phone compatible.

And I had a blind-spot detection system to boot.  It worked pretty well, although it sometimes wanted to warm me of trouble when I knew for certain that I was out of harm’s way.

I liked the way the 3.3-liter V-6 handled itself.  It’s rated at 290 horsepower but felt stronger than that when I laid down on the accelerator on uphill climbs.  Interior noise was limited.  Highway cruising smoothness was pleasantly silky.

Some critics have slapped the new Sorento for having a too-pronounced nose, but I’m not among them.  The look was smooth and rounded, but the roofline is all-SUV.  The interior result of the styling is plentiful room for drivers and passengers.

From my seat in the cockpit, the interior was downright luxurious.  A long, long list standard of perks included an Infinity surround-sound audio system, rearview camera display, leather seat trim, ventilated/heated front seats and auto-light control.  Other goodies included a panoramic roof with power sun shade, heated exterior mirrors and a power liftgate.

This Sorento is part of a very competitive vehicle segment, but it has enough going for it to be a player.  If you’re in the market for a good-size SUV, you should give it a good look.


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