Kia shows refreshed 2014 Sorento SUV at LA auto show

Trevor Hofmann - CAP staff
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It's easy to see the changes to Kia's upcoming 2014 Sorento midsize crossover SUV, with its new anodized silver metal or black mesh grille, updated LED-enhanced headlight assemblies with projector style bulbs, revised lower fascia with optional fog lamps pushed out to each corner, and re-sculpted hood up front, as well as its refined styling details with distinctive new LED taillights in the rear, not to mention new 17-, 18- and now 19-inch alloy rims finishing off the look, but that's only half the story.

"With each new vehicle launch Kia is advancing the concept of value to new levels of sophistication and with significant chassis, suspension, powertrain and comfort and convenience upgrades the new Sorento continues that trend," said Michael Sprague, executive vice president, marketing and communications, KMA. "With more than 80 percent of the 2014 Sorento including new or significantly redesigned parts, it's obvious that the improvements are not just skin deep."

That's right, under its stylish new duds the latest Sorento sports an optional direct-injected 3.3-litre V6 with 290-horsepower and 252 lb-ft of torque, while the old standard 2.4-litre MPI engine is gone, now replaced by the lightweight, all-aluminum, direct-injection four-cylinder that was optional last year. It's strong amongst competitor's entry-level four-cylinder engines at 191-horsepower and 181 lb-ft of torque, and of course is the fuel economy leader of the two. As usual, a six-speed automatic transmission powers the front wheels or all wheels depending on which box you check off on the order form.

The all-wheel drive system incorporates Torque On Demand, which directs twist to the wheel with optimal traction. It also includes Torque Vectoring Cornering Control (TVCC) that improves handling and overall stability.

Fuel economy is improved too, thanks to the updated engines and fuel-saving technologies like electric power steering, while FlexSteer, a three-mode steering program allows you to select between Comfort, Normal and Sport modes to suit your mood.

The enhanced steering should be noticeable thanks to a new chassis that's claimed to improve torsional rigidity by 18-percent, with a focus on enhanced ride and handling. A front strut-tower brace adds to chassis stiffness, while just below a new independent front suspension features a stiffer H-shaped sub-frame cradle for improved tracking. A reinforced multi-link suspension in the rear incorporates new bushings and mounts for enhanced road noise vibration isolation, while its more compact design adds to cargo space.

The passenger compartment is updated too, with a new primary instrument panel on EX models that features a 7-inch TFT LCD with an integrated digital speedometer, surrounded by analog dials for ancillary information. The display doubles as a trip computer as well as the Sorento's source for vehicle info and personalization settings. The centre stack has been updated too, with what Kia calls a "modernized" new look housing rearranged switchgear. A new larger 8-inch touchscreen incorporates navigation, a premium Infinity audio system with satellite radio, Bluetooth, and Kia's updated UVO eServices telematics system.

Depending on trim level the 2014 Sorento will have other options too, such as ventilated front seats optionally covered in Nappa leather, a heated wood-trimmed steering wheel, soft-touch headliner and pillar accents, heated rear seats, a programmable power liftgate, a new panoramic sunroof with a one-piece power-operated sunshade, second-row side-window sunshades, a 115-volt power inverter, blind spot detection, self-leveling Xenon HID headlamps, and more.

The new model was unveiled at the Los Angeles Auto Show last week, and we can expect more details including Canadian trim levels, features and pricing closer to the official dealer launch next year.
©(Copyright Canadian Auto Press)

Topics: Crossover, Kia, 2014, Sorento, $20,000 - $29,999, $30,000 - $39,999, Midsize,

Geographic location: Los Angeles

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