Kia Sorento all about 'more'

| Friday, Aug. 23, 2013, 9:07 p.m.

For 2014, Kia's top-selling Sorento sport utility vehicle is all about “more.”

The restyled Sorento with attractive new face has a more upscale interior, a more powerful V-6, a more comfortable ride and more available features and safety equipment than its predecessor.

The 2014 Sorento is one of the few crossover SUVs that lets buyers decide whether to add more seats, so Sorentos can be equipped with five or seven seats.

In contrast, the Toyota RAV4 dropped its third-seat offering and now is sold solely with five seats, while Honda's CR-V has never offered third-row seats.

Buyers who need six or seven seats only intermittently will find the 2014 Sorento is nicely sized for this occasional use.

At 15.4 feet long from bumper to bumper, the 2014 Sorento is like a slightly larger compact SUV or smaller mid-size SUV. It's just 4.7 inches longer than the 2013 RAV4 and 6.3 inches longer than a 2014 CR-V.

And it has the appealing ride of a crossover SUV that's built on a car-like, rather than truck-based, platform.

To add more ride refinement for 2014, Kia revamped the Sorento's rear suspension and added strut tower bracing under the hood as well as a revised front suspension attached to a new subframe.

Better yet, the Sorento comes with Kia's generous warranty that includes 10-year/100,000-mile coverage of the powertrain and a full five years/60,000 miles of limited basic coverage plus roadside assistance.

In contrast, the 2014 Honda CR-V has a limited basic warranty lasting three years or 36,000 miles and powertrain coverage for five years/60,000 miles.

The test vehicle had the 3.3-liter, double overhead cam, direct injection gasoline V-6 that was well-suited to most driving conditions. The only time the V-6 seemed taxed was in hard acceleration going uphill on a mountain road and carrying five adults.

The power liftgate is programmable now, and maximum cargo room is a competitive 72.5 cubic feet.

Blind-spot monitoring is a new safety feature.

But the Sorento has six air bags, less than the RAV4 has.

Fuel economy, however, was lackluster at 19.4 mpg in combined city/highway travel. This is less than the 21-mpg rating reported by the federal government for the V-6-powered 2014 Sorento.

Kia is part of the automaker that owns Hyundai, and the Sorento handily outsold its Hyundai sibling, the Santa Fe, last year in the United States.

Ann M. Job writes for the Associated Press.

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