2014 Kia Sorento Delivers a Complete Package
Ever since I toured the Kia plant in West Point, Ga., and watched the Kia Sorento evolve from a series of individual parts into a well-crafted automobile, I have wanted to own one. Of course, I was already driving a relatively new car, and I wasn’t planning to buy another car for years to come. But I still wanted that Kia. So when I was offered the chance to check out the 2014 Kia Sorento SX during a summer road trip, I didn’t hesitate to take the key.
This particular 2014 Kia Sorento SX came well-equipped with a wealth of features. Under the hood, there was a 3.3-liter V6 engine with a six-speed automatic transmission that wasted no time or energy achieving a good cruising speed and providing a smooth ride. It was partnered with anti-lock brakes plus a traction control system and electronic stability control that would stop on a dime, something it took me a while to adjust to.
Given we spent a lot of time both on the highway and on surface streets, I took special note of the gas mileage for each tank of gas. To my surprise – you hear a lot of stories stating the EPA estimates are not accurate – the mileage measured up to the advertised fuel economy on the car’s sticker: 19 mpg in town and 25 mpg on the highway.
The Kia Sorento also comes with some great safety features, too. There are the dual front airbags, the front seat-mounted side airbags, and the side curtain airbags for the first and second rows. Something I had to get used to, the Kia has the blind spot detection in the side mirrors, a warning light that pops up when someone is next to you and an audible alarm if you start to move over before the lane is clear.
Inside the car, there were so many things that I really liked as well. I really loved was how quiet the car is, whether sitting idle in the driveway or heading down the highway. Without distracting noise, I was able to focus in more on the features, which are plentiful.
The instrument panel is electric, so you see it only after starting the car; once you do, you have a wealth of information at your hands. You’re able to toggle through the various menus at the touch of a button on the steering wheel. In the center information console, there’s the navigation system with an 8-inch display. This same screen displays the rear camera view when backing up. This is something I never really got used to, given I always rely on my mirrors and actually looking out the windows. But I did love it whenever I had to parallel park, something I don’t like to do.
There’s the dual-air control that allowed my mother-in-law and me to customize the airflow to our individual preferences. In the second row, the air vents are placed higher up than I’ve seen in the past. Usually, they are in the bottom of the front row center console, putting them at the feet of the second-row passengers. Now, they are about waist high, so these passengers can actually feel the airflow. The (optional) third-row passengers also have their own air and controls so they aren’t at the mercy of whatever air reaches the back of the car.
This particular Kia Sorento also offered additional heating and cooling options, like the heated and ventilated front-row seats and the retractable window shades on the second-row windows. Other favorites included the USB and power outlet in the front, the power outlet and 110V outlet – that’s a traditional outlet! – in the second row, and another power outlet in the rear of the car. I also loved the cup holders in the second-row armrest, which were at the perfect height for my kids, who still ride in car seats.
But, hands down, everyone’s favorite was the panoramic sunroof that spans the roof from the front windshield to just behind the second row. My kids loved looking out at buildings, trees, the stars, whatever they could see. The sunroof opens from the front windshield to the back of the front row, and it’s covered by a power sunshade. Everything opens and closes at the touch of button. What’s not to love?
OK, there were some things I didn’t love, but they are minor and more of a personal reference than an actual problem with the Kia. First, the 2014 Sorento SX sets lower than my current car, so I kept bumping my head helping the kids in to their seats. Also, there are smaller storage pockets in the car doors and seatbacks than in those in my current car, so I didn’t like that much. Likewise, there are less cup holders in the front console than in my current car, and I’ve gotten use to the extra spots.
But perhaps my least favorite aspect to the Kia was having to open the entire rear liftgate to put something in the back of the car. On my current car, you can open just the window and drop something inside or grab an item. No such luck with the Kia. Something else I wasn’t found of? The navigation system needs to be more flexible. When entering an address, it has to be exactly like it’s entered in the system for it to find the address; otherwise, it comes up saying the address is not found. If you’re going to a specific site, hotel or restaurant, you can try to find it by name; but if it’s a private address, you could have problems.