2014 Kia Sorento
2014 Kia Sorento. Click image to enlarge

Review and photos by Peter Bleakney

According to Kia, the refreshed 2014 Sorento mid-size crossover is 80 percent new. By looking at it you’d never guess, as the basic body panels remain although a fresh front fascia and rear end signal something is afoot.

Suffice to say, the chiseled look of the Sorento remains intact, which is a good thing. I’ve always thought this was a handsome ute. It’s from behind the wheel where you notice the most change.

Two things stand out: better interior and a better ride. And as would be expected, the standard equipment list is generous and the available options comprehensive. An available third row offers two perches for the kiddies or a couple of consenting adults. And no, I don’t mean that in the biblical sense… although these tight quarters could lead to something.

This crossover is a bit smaller than common mid-size seven-seaters like the Toyota Highlander and Honda Pilot, but outstretches almost anything in the ‘compact’ segment except the Chevrolet Equinox/GMC Terrain. The only compact offering vestigial third-row accommodation these days is the Mitsubishi Outlander and Dodge Journey, if you consider that ‘compact’.

The 2014 Sorento starts at $26,695 for the front-drive LX with carryover 191-hp 2.4L direct-injection four mated to a six-speed auto. No stripper, the LX gives heated cloth seats, auto headlights, heated mirrors and wipers, USB, Bluetooth, 17-inch alloys, and satellite radio. New standard features for 2014 include second-row retractable sun shades, Vehicle Stability Management (expanded stability control), front positioning lights and electric power steering.

Add $2,000 for AWD and $2,800 for V6 power.

Next up is the EX, starting at $34,195 with standard AWD, leather, heated steering wheel, heated rear seats and new 3.3L V6 engine. At the top of the heap is this all-singing-and-dancing $41,795 SX AWD seven-seater.

2014 Kia Sorento2014 Kia Sorento2014 Kia Sorento
2014 Kia Sorento. Click image to enlarge

Suffice to say, this one is loaded to the teeth. Some of the goodies include powered liftgate, xenon headlights, LED taillights, special trim, 19-inch alloys, eight-inch screen with navigation, panoramic sunroof, Infinity audio, cooled front seats, blind-spot detection, three resistance settings for the steering… you get the picture.

The new interior is nicely done. Yes, there might be more hard plastic than in some competitors, but it shows a clean and logical design with good attention to detail. Every button and control is clearly marked and easy to use. The new eight-inch infotainment touchscreen with “Uvo” connectivity software is also a model of user-friendliness.

The navi in this SX is easy to program and the graphics are great, but when heading for a theatre in Markham, Ont., it tried to send me on a nutty wild goose chase that would have added a half hour to the trip. Luckily I knew where I was going.

Senior Editor Yarkony did not get along with the front seats at all but while I found them kinda’ squishy they didn’t bother me.

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