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2014 Kia Sorento offers modern suburban utility (pictures)

The Kia Sorento can be had with seating for seven, and includes modern features such as an efficient direct-injection engine, a virtual speedometer, and driver-tunable steering.

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Wayne_Cunningham.jpg

Wayne Cunningham

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1 of 16 Wayne Cunningham/CNET
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.
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2 of 16 Josh Miller/CNET
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.
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3 of 16 Josh Miller/CNET
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.
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4 of 16 Josh Miller/CNET
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.
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Without the third row, the Sorento becomes a typical five-seat crossover, with reasonable cargo space.
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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.
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7 of 16 Josh Miller/CNET
The middle-row seats slide forward slightly, for third-row access, and fold down for increased cargo space.
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In SX trim, the Sorento comes standard with this panoramic sunroof. The front panel slides back, while the back panel is fixed.
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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.
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10 of 16 Josh Miller/CNET
Another cool feature is Kia's virtual speedometer. This center LCD shows its speedometer with realistic detail.
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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.
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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.
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The Sorento includes HD Radio in the stereo.
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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.
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With an iOS device plugged into the car's USB port, the interface shows a full music library.
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The Sorento does not offer much in the way of driver assistance features. It has a blind-spot monitor and this rearview camera.

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