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Kia Sorento Continues to Make Improvements

Kia Sorento

Three years ago, the Kia Sorento redesign transformed this midsize sport utility vehicle from a truck-based model to a car-like crossover. The result: The Sorento began delivering a comfortable ride, which is what the majority of midsize SUV owners desire.

Like many offerings in the Kia lineup, the Sorento has distanced itself from its modest beginnings when the South Korean automaker produced mainly affordable cars that often came with a "cheap" tagline. Kia vehicles are now well respected and are giving both Honda and Toyota some serious competition.

The Sorento arrives in 2014 with more changes that add to its appeal. A minor exterior styling change takes place, resulting in a sleeker front-end and rear look, while the Kia grille is just a little thinner.

2014 Kia Sorento

* Performance: 2.4-liter, four-cylinder, 191 horsepower; 3.3-liter, V6, 290 horsepower
* Mileage estimate: 20-26 mpg; 18-25 mpg   
* Price: $24,100 to $40,100
* Warranty: 5 years/60,000 miles; drivetrain 10 years/100,000 miles; roadside assistance 5 years/60,000

More notable is a new chassis that is featured by the Sorento's cousin - the Sante Fe Sport. The Sorento chassis has led to some driving improvements, including a stiffer body structure, and front and rear suspension improvements that have the Sorento delivering more comfort and better handling.

Also changed for 2014 is additional performance. The Sorento now features a direct-injected, 3.3-liter, V6 that has added more horsepower (290 vs. last year's 276). It's a little quicker, going 0-60 mph in 7.4 seconds.

One other thing to note is the Sorento sticker price continues to rise. Although not over-priced, it's no longer a "bargain." The estimated price runs from $24,100 to $40,100. Kia's terrific drivetrain warranty -10 years or 100,000 miles - remains.

This SUV has some serious competition in the Toyota Highlander, Dodge Journey, Honda CRV, Chevrolet Equinox and the Hyundai Santa Fe.

The Sorento is offered in four-cylinder and V6 engines with a lot of variety, depending on your desires. Although the Sorento is one of the few among this class to offer third-row seating, it's not that spacious. However, it is a little more tolerable for its third-row occupants than similar SUVs.

The base model Sorento provides some pep even in mountainous driving. It's a 2.4-liter, four-cylinder that has 191 horsepower and 181 pound-feet of torque.

The Sorento cabin is well thought out and provides easy-to-master climate and audio controls. This crossover is also a good one for short or long trips for passengers in the first two rows, while the cargo room is ample. A downside with the Sorento interior is too much hard plastic.

Like many of Kia vehicles, the Sorento has a lot of positives - good performance, solid gas mileage, improved ride, and seating versatility. It definitely warrants a serious look when shopping for a midsize SUV.

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Weidel on Wheels author Jeffrey Weidel is an award-winning writer from the Sacramento region who has reviewed automobiles for more than two decades. He can be reached at skiweidel@gmail.com
Follow him on Twitter at @jeffweidel.



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