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    Review: 2014 Kia Sorento SX Limited AWD


    • Take Two Of Kia's Large Crossover


    Last December, I had a 2013 Kia Sorento SX V6 in for review. This was an odd time to review it since the month before at the LA Auto Show, Kia introduced the 2014 Sorento which brought forth a number of changes and improvements. At the time of my review, I said to hold off on getting 2013 model and wait to see how the 2014 model fares.

    Well it has been almost a year since that review and I had the 2014 Kia Sorento, this time in the new SX Limited trim. Let's find out if I made the right call or not.

    At first, you might be wondering what exactly did Kia do to the 2014 Sorento since it mostly looks like the outgoing 2013 model. Well there are some changes, some more apparent than others. First off, the overall shape of the 2014 model has been sharpened a bit, giving it a bit more of a European look to it. The front end sees the majority of changes with a revised grille, new headlights and foglights. The back gets a new tailgate and a set of reshaped taillights.

    2014 Kia Sorento SX Limited AWD 12

    The primary focus on the 2014 Sorento was with the interior. In my review of the 2013 model, I said the interior felt much older due to some choices in materials and technologies. The 2014 Sorento sees massive improvements in both areas. Material choices are much nicer to look and touch, making it feel more premium. On the SX Limited the seats were trimmed in Nappa leather.

    On the technology front, the 2014 Sorento SX Limited gets a new small color display inside the speedometer to show key information such as trip computer, what you're currently listening to, and navigation. The center stack features Kia's UVO infotainment system and eServices. Much like my experience in the Cadenza back in the summer, I found the system to be user-friendly and quick to respond.

    Comfort and space hasn't really changed from the 2013 to the 2014 model and that is a good and bad thing. The good is that front and second row passengers will be fairly comfortable with a decent amount of head and legroom. The bad news is that the third row is still only comfortable for small kids or being folded into the floor. Now the third row is an option and if you decide to skip it, you have an extra $1,000 in your pocket. I would skip it.

    2014 Kia Sorento SX Limited AWD 10

    Thoughts on the powertrain and handling are on the next page.


    Under the hood of the Sorento SX Limited is a new 3.3L GDI V6 with 290 horsepower and 252 pound-feet of torque. This is paired with a six-speed automatic transmission and an all-wheel drive system. Much like the Kia Cadenza that I drove earlier this year, the V6 in the Sorento is very punchy and has no problem of getting the vehicle up to speed. Other traits about the V6 that I like is how smoothly the V6 delivers the power and how refined it is. As for the six-speed automatic, it was quick to up or downshift. As for fuel economy, the 2014 Sorento SX Limited is rated at 18 City/24 Highway/20 Combined. My average for the week was 22.1 MPG, a noticeable improvement over the 20.5 MPG from the last Sorento I drove.

    2014 Kia Sorento SX Limited AWD 9

    One place where Kia didn't make any real changes is to the Sorento's ride, which is a very good thing. The Sorento's fully-independent suspension went over bumps and ruts with no problem. Also not seeing a real change is how quiet the Sorento is. Road and wind noise are kept to minimum, making it a perfect model to take on a road trip.

    As for the steering, it is what you expect in the crossover class; over-boosted and not that much feel. The SX Limited comes with the driver selectable steering which varies the weight from really light (comfort) to really heavy (sport). As I have written previously on other Hyundai and Kia models with this system, I'm not a big fan of the system. I left the system in normal as I found the other two on the extremes. I like the idea of this system, it just needs some finessing.

    There is one concern with the Sorento SX Limited I have and that is the pricetag. As tested, this model rings out to $41,600. Ouch. If you drop the third-row seat option, you're looking at $40,600. What do you get for that price? Well pretty much everything from Kia's UVO service, Nappa leather, nineteen-inch alloy wheels, heated seats for the second-row, the list goes on. For some people who want everything, the SX Limited is perfect. For myself, I would be very happy with SX which comes with most of the features of the Limited and an extra $2,000 in my pocket.

    2014 Kia Sorento SX Limited AWD 6

    But as a whole, the 2014 Kia Sorento is much better than the model it replaces. The major problems and faults have been rectified by Kia, making the Sorento a very compelling model in the midsize crossover class. Just be warned you might have to spend some cash to get it.

    Disclaimer: Kia Provided the Sorento SX Limited, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas

    Year: 2014

    Make: Kia

    Model: Sorento

    Trim: SX Limited

    Engine: 3.3L DOHC GDI CVVT V6

    Driveline: Six-Speed Automatic, All-Wheel Drive

    Horsepower @ RPM: 290 @ 6,400

    Torque @ RPM: 252 @ 5,200

    Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 18/24/20

    Curb Weight: 5,468 lbs

    Location of Manufacture: West Point, Georgia

    Base Price: $39,700.00

    As Tested Price: $41,600.00 (Includes $850.00 Destination Charge)

    Options:

    3rd Row Seat & AC - $1,000.00

    Cargo Net - $50.00

    William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.comor you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.

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    Nice Review and update comparison to the 2013 model.

    Only question is for the 2014, if you had to choose your top 3 things to improve, one of them being the selectable steering feel, what would the other two things you feel they need to address for the 2015 model?

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    sorento is a good ride and has a nice 'szie' to it. It is not a holking true 3 row, and it is not a compact.

    I looked at getting a base 4 popper once until i found out the real world mpg of the 4 popper is not at all very much better than the 6. A larger sorento 4 banger vs. a rav 4 for a similar price is a good deal. but not if the mpg sucks.

    The v6, there are so many choices out there. They get a lot of the basics right.

    Time for some new styling.

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      View full article
    • By William Maley
      There is one vehicle that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has to get right the first time - the minivan. The company is credited for creating this vehicle segment back in the eighties with the introduction of the Dodge Caravan and Plymouth Voyager. Each subsequent version brought forth some new improvement or feature that put it ahead of the pack. But due to the bankruptcy in 2009 and subsequent merger with Fiat, plans for the next-generation Chrysler Town and Country and Dodge Caravan were pushed back. This left the old model struggling against some fresh competition in the form of the Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna. 
      But last year, Chrysler surprised everyone with a new minivan. Wearing the Pacifica nameplate, the van was unlike anything that had come before. It featured a sleek design, handsome interior, and the option of a plug-in hybrid powertrain. The bigger surprise was that Chrysler would be the only brand getting the new van. The Dodge Caravan would continue in its current incarnation for a few years to provide a low-cost option for those shoppers. Has Chrysler pulled a rabbit out its hat or has the unthinkable happened and the Pacifica trails the competition?
      The first thing to take in about the new Pacifica is how good-looking it is. The design comes courtesy of the 700C that debuted quietly a few years back at the Detroit Auto Show. The rounded front end is reminiscent of the recently departed 200 with a narrow grille and headlights, chrome trim along the edges of the grilles, and a sculpted hood. The side profile shows off two character lines; one running from the front fender to the chrome trim for the windows and another running through the door handles and curving into the rear fender. We would only make one slight change to the Pacifica. Our Touring L tester featured 17-inch wheels that looked a bit small for a vehicle this size. We would go for the larger 18-inch wheels that fill in the wheel wells much better.
      Anyone who has been in the last-generation Chrysler Town and Country or Dodge Caravan knows the interior was well past its sell-by date. When pitted against competitors, the two vans came up very short in terms of design, materials, space for cargo and passengers; and infotainment. Step inside the Pacifica and it is clear that Chrysler has done its homework. The design is much more modern with flowing lines and contrasting colors. It also feels more spacious than the outgoing vans thanks to some smart decisions such as the removal of the center console to allow for an open floor between driver and passenger, and the use of a knob for the transmission. Material quality has also seen a noticeable improvement with many surfaces now boasting soft-touch plastics. It wouldn’t be crazy to say the Chrysler Pacifica is ahead of everyone when it comes to the interior.
      Depending on the trim, you can order the Pacifica with seating for seven or eight people. Our Touring L featured the eight-seat layout with a removable middle seat for the third row. It will take you a few moments to figure out how to remove the seat, but once you do, it is quite easy to remove and install the seat. The rest of the seats feature Chrysler’s Stow ’n Go folding system where the seats can fold into compartments in the floor to provide a flat load area. Cargo area is in line with the current crop of minivans with 32.3 cubic feet behind the third row, 87.5 cubic feet behind the second row, and 140.5 cubic feet with both rows folded. As for passengers, both rows of rear seats provide an excellent amount of head and legroom. Getting into the third row is much easier thanks to second-row seats offering a tilt function.
      FCA has equipped the Pacifica with the newest version of their UConnect system. The interface may look similar to the older UConnect system, but there are a number of changes that help catapult this new version towards the top of the infotainment system list. First, the new system is much sharper thanks to the new fonts and an updated screen that provides improved brightness levels. FCA has also improved the overall performance of the system, meaning no slow downs when going between various functions. One item we cannot comment on is navigation as our test Pacifica didn’t come with it.
      Power for the Pacifica comes from the 3.6L Pentastar V6 with 287 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque. This is paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission that routes power to the front-wheels only. It might not be the fastest van on the road (that honor falls to the Toyota Sienna), but Pacifica comes very close. Power comes on a smooth and steady rate. You’ll find yourself not wanting more power when merging onto a freeway or trying to make a pass. FCA has seemed to get its act together with the nine-speed automatic transmission. Issues with clunky shifts and gear hunting have been mostly ironed out. The transmission now features smooth and quick upshifts. The only item we would want FCA to work on is the transmission’s hesitation to downshift in certain situations such as making a pass.
      EPA fuel economy for the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica is rated at 18 City/28 Highway/22 Combined. Our week mostly spent in the city returned 23.2 mpg.
      The primary concern when it comes to a van’s ride and handling characteristics is providing maximum comfort and the Pacifica delivers. The suspension delivers a smooth ride even on some of the rough roads on offer from Metro Detroit area. An added bonus is how well the Pacifica isolates road and wind noise from coming inside. At highway speeds, only a whisper of wind noise makes it inside. But the Pacifica becomes a bit of a surprise when it comes to handling. Despite its large size, FCA’s engineers made the Pacifica feel quite nimble. The steering might not give that impression as it feels somewhat light when turning. But go around a corner and the van feels more like a midsize sedan than a van. 
      It has been a long time coming for a new minivan from FCA and the good news is that they haven’t dropped the ball. The Pacifica may not have ripped up the rulebook when it comes to minivans, but it sure has expanded or rewritten bits of it. From a surprising balance of ride and handling characteristics to the best interior in the class, it is clear that FCA wants to reclaim the crown of the best minivan. But there one thing that we need to address and that is FCA’s poor reliability history. No matter which survey or study look at, more often than not, FCA’s core brands are towards the bottom. What does this mean for the Pacifica? We can’t say for right now, but this could be the one thing that makes or breaks Chrysler’s new van.
      For right now, the Pacifica is at the top of the class.
      Disclaimer: Chrysler Provided the Pacifica, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2017
      Make: Chrysler
      Model: Pacifica
      Trim: Touring L
      Engine: 3.6L 24-Valve VVT V6
      Driveline: Nine-Speed Automatic, Front-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 287 @ 6,400
      Torque @ RPM: 262 @ 4,000
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 18/28/22
      Curb Weight: 4,330 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Windsor, Ontario
      Base Price: $34,495
      As Tested Price: $36,880 (Includes $995.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Premium Audio Group - $895.00
      8 Passenger Seating - $495.00
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