Kia's Sorento is classified as an SUV, and can be had with all-wheel drive, but this big lug is more of a suburban family wagon. Kia gave the Sorento a big update for the 2014 model year, including a direct-injection engine and other techie goodies.
The Sorento is a bit of a suburban fortress, enclosing passengers behind thick walls and narrow windows. It resembles both the Ford Edge and Toyota Venza in its bulkiness.
The Sorento's grille is a nice bit of design. Instead of traditional flat metal, it incorporates what designers call a 3D effect, as each inlet is a molded piece. Other automakers are using similar grille work to augment their cars.
The Sorento has optional third-row seating, but its functionality is poor. When the seats are up, there is really no cargo space. Access to the third row is also difficult.
Without the third row, the Sorento becomes a typical five-seat crossover, with reasonable cargo space.
In this top-SX-trim Sorento, the seats have leather coverings and are power-adjustable, including a memory setting. Kia puts some silly glossy, woodlike trim pieces around the cabin, but most surfaces are covered in a nice soft-touch plastic.
The middle-row seats slide forward slightly, for third-row access, and fold down for increased cargo space.
In SX trim, the Sorento comes standard with this panoramic sunroof. The front panel slides back, while the back panel is fixed.
One of the coolest features of the Sorento is that the driver can select from three steering modes, labeled Comfort, Normal, and Sport. Each mode makes a big difference in the steering feel.
Another cool feature is Kia's virtual speedometer. This center LCD shows its speedometer with realistic detail.
A six-speed automatic transmission is the only choice in the Sorento. It includes a manual shift gate, best used for engine braking on long descents.
Navigation comes standard on the Sorento SX. This system works quickly, with a no-fuss touch-screen interface. However, when recalculating routes it insists on popping up confirmation screens.
The Sorento includes HD Radio in the stereo.
Bluetooth audio shows track data, and there are Pause and Play controls on the touch screen. To skip tracks, you have to push a button on the steering wheel.
With an iOS device plugged into the car's USB port, the interface shows a full music library.
The Sorento does not offer much in the way of driver assistance features. It has a blind-spot monitor and this rearview camera.