2014 Kia Sorento SX AWD SUV (3.3L V6 AWD 6-speed Automatic)
Driven On 2/26/2013
The Sorento is a near-perfect-sized SUV. Just large enough to squeeze in a third-row seat, but small enough so that it's not unwieldy in parking lots. While not a performance machine, the Sorento SX pleases with its powerful, but admittedly fuel-thirsty, V6 and cushy ride.
PerformanceThe Sorento isn't a performance SUV, but it acquits itself pretty nicely nonetheless. The 3.3-liter V6 gives decent thrust and the handling has a nice feel, if the numbers are only average. Around-town driveability is excellent.
V6 is nice and smooth. Sportier growl and burst of power at 5,000 rpm. 6-speed automatic is silky and quick to kick down. Was a bit too shifty on the long climb out of Camarillo.
Around town the Sorento's brakes are nice and linear, not touchy. Panic stops were performed with little drama at the track, despite significant nosedive.
The steering is light for our tastes and the front tires give up grip quickly. Still, initial turn-in has some precision.
Handling can feel floaty and the stability system cuts in with just a bit of aggressive driving on a twisty road. But the Sorento leans less than you'd expect with its cushy ride.
Smooth V6 and automatic work in concert, there's always plenty of power to squirt past traffic. Nice standard rearview camera on SX model. Only gripe is a slightly abrupt throttle.
The Sorento SX AWD V6 combo has a tow capacity of 3,500 pounds, which is about average for the class.
A typical soft-roader, meaning it's not designed for off-road duty much beyond a rough fire road. But our tester's all-wheel drive makes this one a bit more useful.
ComfortThis is a very quiet and comfortable SUV. Road and wind noise are barely perceptible and the plush suspension is always up to the task. Ultra-thick D-pillars can give third-row passengers a claustrphobic feeling.
Front seats are fine. Second-row seats move fore/aft, have reclining seatbacks and a center armrest. Third row is comfy enough, with near-adequate head room but cramped foot room.
The ride is supremely plush and the suspension soaks up almost all bumps with ease.
The Sorento is exceptionally quiet, almost no road noise to speak of. Just a bit of wind rustling around the base of the A-pillars. The V6 is barely audible at highway speeds.
InteriorThe interior is a mix of good and bad. We love the large knobs and soft-touch buttons, but front-seat occupants will find an overly large sill to step over upon exit. Rear three-quarter vision is poor for lane-changes.
Nice big knobs for the temperature control, smaller but still very useful knobs for radio volume and tuning. Quality-feeling controls and buttons. Upright driving position.
The front sill is so wide that driver rubs left leg, passenger right leg as you put your foot out on the ground. Easy in/out of 2nd row. Third row difficult to access for adults.
Good front head room, excellent elbow room. Second row has plenty of foot and knee room, good head room. Third row has poor foot- and knee room but surprisingly decent head room.
Narrow A, B and C-pillars, but hugely obstructive D-pillar. Roof sloping dramatically into slit of a rear window doesn't help things. Standard rearview camera is large, though.
Smallish but handy front bin. Deep center armrest bin. Narrow door pockets do have bottle holders. Center cupholders are useless, no anti-tip. Near-zero space behind third row.
ValueGood value here, but in an attempt to move slightly more upmarket, the Sorento, especially this up-level SX model, no longer seems an exceptional value. The Sorento starts at $24,100, but our test car was $38,550.
Build Quality (vs. $)
The interior could use more soft-touch materials, but this Kia seems put together fairly well. Did notice a rattle in the front passenger door area when driving on coarse surfaces.
As the second-from-the-top Sorento model, the SX comes loaded with features at its $36,700 base price, including Bluetooth, navigation, ventilated seats and blind-spot detection.
With an as-tested price of $38,550, the Sorento SX doesn't seem like an amazing bargain. But you get a lot of SUV for your money, including the optional third-row air conditioning.
The EPA rates the Sorento SX AWD at 18 city/24 highway/20 mpg combined. We averaged a lackluster 17.4 mpg overall, but a reasonable 21.7 mpg on our Edmunds-specific drive route.
The Sorento's basic warranty is for 5 years/60,000 miles. The powertrain is covered for 10 years/100,000 miles. Other than Hyundai, no manufacturer can compete with this.
The Sorento has roadside assistance for 5 years/60,000 miles, but no free maintenance program.
Fun To DriveThis certainly isn't the most fun-to-drive SUV ever, but it's far from the least. The powerful and very smooth V6 makes passing easy and somewhat entertaining. And all-wheel drive gives this Sorento a good excuse to head for the ski slopes.
A comfortable ride, gutsy engine and smooth-shifting automatic make the Sorento a pleasing driving experience. Poor fuel mileage and outward visibility diminish it somewhat.
This is a fairly vanilla mid-size SUV. But one with a stout V6. Though it doesn't have outstanding on- or off-road talents, it's a quiet, comfortable way to move people around.