KIA Sorento
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Overall

There’s plenty of unexpected newness beneath the Sorento’s familiar tall-wagon shape.

Drivetrain

A 175-horsepower four-cylinder becomes the new base powerplant; a 290-horse V6 is optional, as is all-wheel-drive with either engine.

Kia’s current design renaissance encompasses the Soul wagon, Optima sedan and smaller Forte and Rio models. You can also place the current-generation Sorento on that list. For 2014, the Sorento tall wagon receives a minor nose-job, including the ubiquitous mesh-style grille, updated headlights and optional fog lights, plus new taillight lenses. As well, Kia has mounted the Sorento on a platform that’s 18 percent stiffer than that of the 2013 version. There’s also a stouter sub-frame that holds the powertrain more firmly in place as well as a new independent front suspension. In back, a more compact rear suspension adds interior space and reduces cabin noise and vibration. Inside there’s a new instrument panel and center control stack with easier-to-find buttons and knobs. Under the hood, a 175-horsepower 2.4-liter four-cylinder powerplant that was standard for 2013 is replaced by the previously optional 191-horsepower 2.4-liter four-cylinder with direct injection, whereby fuel is sprayed under very high pressure directly into the combustion chamber instead of via the intake manifold. This means more complete combustion for added power and fuel economy. Optional is a 290-horsepower 3.3-liter V6. With either engine a six-speed automatic with manual shift controls is the sole shifter. The available all-wheel-drive hardware is a full-time unit that constantly varies the torque to all four wheels and can direct power to the outer wheels in high-speed turning situations for added control (known as torque vectoring). Along with the existing LX, EX and SX/SX-L trims, Kia has added a new SX Limited model that includes a wood-trimmed interior with ventilated soft leather-covered seats on the inside, and self-leveling headlights and exclusive 19-inch wheels (17- and 18-inch rims adorn lesser Sorentos). The options list contains a power liftgate, panoramic sunroof, advanced voice-activated communications, infotainment and navigation controls (incorporating an eight-inch touch-screen) and a blind-spot monitoring system that constantly tracks vehicles in the immediate vicinity and issues an audible and visual alert should any get too close.

Base price (incl. destination): $25,000
Type: Four-door tall wagon
Base engine (hp): 2.4-liter DOHC I4 (191)
Optional engines (hp): 3.3-liter DOHC V6 (290)
Layout: Front-engine, front- /four-wheel-drive
Transmission: Six-speed automatic
MPG (city/hwy): 20/26 (2.4)
Safety: Front airbags; side-impact airbags; side-curtain airbags; anti-lock brakes; stability control
Weight (lb.): 3,610