Unveiling the 2014 Sorento at the Los Angeles Auto Show, Kia shows it is not resting on its laurels. Although the previous generation, only a few years old, sported many modern features and Kia's recent styling, the 2014 model represents a major upgrade, bringing in substantial new tech features.
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Kia offers the new Sorento with direct-injection four- and six-cylinder engines, while the prior generation only had direct injection as an optional four-cylinder. The new 3.3-liter direct-injection V-6 in the Sorento will make 290 horsepower and 252 pound-feet of torque, which should be more than enough for the average family. Kia carries over the 2.4-liter direct-injection engine from the previous generation as the new base engine.
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As before, the Sorento offers three rows of seating without being a monster-sized SUV. However, it does compromise cargo room for that third row compared with other makers' seven-passenger vehicles.
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The Sorento's four-wheel-drive system dynamically shifts torque away from wheels that slip, and also gives the driver a switch to lock the center differential with, ensuring that all wheels have power. Kia also engineered torque vectoring into the Sorento to aid its cornering abilities.
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Kia introduced its Uvo voice command system, which let drivers request music from connected music devices by name, in the prior generation. However, the vehicle could not be optioned with both navigation and Uvo. Kia solves that problem in this generation, integrating Uvo with a new navigation head unit.
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One of the coolest features on the higher-trim Sorentos is an LCD speedometer. When you turn on the car, the speedometer comes to animated life, although Kia continues to use analog gauges around it. The virtual speedometer gives Kia flexibility in the display.
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The new Sorento likely uses the same six-speed manual as the previous generation did. A button labeled Active Eco on the console hints at a fuel efficiency mode.
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A button on the left of the dashboard locks the differential, while another engages a sonar-based blind-spot monitoring system.
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