It was just a few weeks ago that we reviewed the 2013 Sorento, and this week we took to the desert roads of central Arizona to test out the revamped, and redesigned 2014 Kia Sorento. As a matter of fact, according to Kia, over 80% of the parts in the 2014 Sorento are either all-new or redesigned. Some of the key new features include a new 3.3-liter GDI V6 engine with 290 of horsepower and the inclusion of the next-generation of UVO eServices voice-activated telematics system.
We tested a Sorento powered by the all-aluminum 3.3-liter GDI V6. This V6 engine is optional on the L6, but comes standard in the LX V6, EX V6, SX and SX Limited. The Sorento also comes standard with a smooth shifting six-speed automatic transmission, and Electric Motor Driven Power Steering. For an additional cost you can throw on the FlexSteer system which lets you choose between three steering profiles – Comfort, Normal and Sport. The FlexSteer system is a nice inclusion to have for those drivers who like to feel like they are driving a sports car at times. But most of the time we preferred driving on the normal setting which provided a smooth and easy ride.
On the road, this new V6 engine shines, by providing a powerful engine that results in an effortless driving experience, even on the tough winding and hilly desert roads of Central Arizona. Most importantly, we were impressed with how smooth the ride on the 2014 Sorento is. This imrproved handling and revamped mechanics offers an even smoother ride experience over the 2013 Sorento. Some might even find it too cushy an experience, but for families with kids and members who tend to get road sick, this super smooth driving experience should be wholeheartedly welcome.
The Sorento’s exterior has been restyled with a new bumper and rear bumper, restyled fog lights, and the new body-colored trim has replaced the previous black color trim on the Sorento, making it look more refined and cleaner looking. When we recently tested the 2013 Sorento, we were already impressed with how much luggage and people it could pack in for a CUV. Fortunately, the 2014 Sorento ups the ante with even more interior space. This additional interior space includes more legroom for passengers in the 2nd row and 3rd row of seats. A 7″ TFT LCD LCD now comes standard on the EX models, and is optionally available on the LX.
Being the audiophiles that we are, we were especially excited to hear about the Sorento’s new optional new Infinity Logic 7 surround system. This optional speaker system packs in 12 speakers in 10 locations, for a total of 550 watts!
“The newest iteration of the UVO platform is a breakthrough as one of the industry’s first mobile pure app-based telematics systems, and now with the Google solutions and APIs, we take the platform to yet another level of enhancement for the Kia customer,” Henry Bzeih, head of the connected car program and chief technology strategist, KMA.
But besides for the Sorento satisfying our audiophile needs, thanks to its next generation UVO infotainment with eServices, the CUV also sports some advanced techie treats. On the Sorento, the UVO infotainment comes with a convenient Send2Car feature, which lets users send a POI or destination to their car directly from Google Maps via their smartphone. These new eServices will be powered by a free smartphone app that offers drivers diagnostics capabilities. And when outfitted with the UVO eServices/navigation package, the system’s on-board navigation system has support for voice commands.
The UVO system relies heavily on your smartphone for its brains and data connection, allowing Kia to keep costs down. As a matter of fact, Kia says that there will be no monthly fees or contracts associated with the UVO system for up to 100,00 miles. Unfortunately, at launch UVO eServices will only be supported on the iPhone. But Android smartphones will be supported by the end of 2013. Support for Siri will also be added later in the year.
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- eServices Guide: Accessed via the touch-screen or voice command, eServices Guide places a phone call via Bluetooth hands free connectivity to a voice response system that explains UVO eServices to the driver in an interactive manner.
- Car Care Web: Through the UVO eServices owner’s portal, known as “Car Care Web,” owners can check vehicle diagnostics, vehicle status, maintenance schedules, driving behavior, and schedule appointments with their preferred or nearby dealer via their home computer or mobile device. Owners also can earn awards for safe and eco-friendly driving viewable on Car Care Web should they rank high enough among their fellow UVO eServices owners.
- My POI: Also available to UVO eServices owners is My POI, a feature that allows owners to send a destination from Google Maps through their Smartphone to their UVO eServices vehicle. In the convenience of their home or office, the customer selects a destination from the Web via Google maps, once the customer’s Smartphone receives the destination it will send the destination to the vehicle’s navigation system the next time the Smartphone is paired via Bluetooth® wireless technology. In addition, all destinations sent from Google Maps will be copied to the owner’s Car Care Web. (My POI is only available with UVO eServices vehicles equipped with navigation).
- Vehicle Diagnostics: If UVO’s eServices identifies a problem by way of the Automatic Diagnostics function, it will communicate the vehicle’s list of issues and its location to Kia’s 24/7 call center or will schedule an appointment online with the nearest Kia dealership upon user request. With Manual Diagnostics, at the owner’s preference, UVO eServices can connect the user with Kia’s 24/7 call center or schedule an appointment online with the nearest Kia dealership, should an issue be found. Additionally, the user can take advantage of Scheduled Diagnostics from their smartphone, setting a monthly diagnostic check of the vehicle. Upon completion, any issues found are automatically forwarded to Car Care Web.
- 911 Connect: In case of an airbag deployment, the Crash Notification Assist function will alert emergency services. During a 10-second window, the driver has the option to cancel the call, otherwise UVO eServices will dial 9-1-1, read the vehicle’s location out loud to the emergency services operator and allow the operator to speak with the vehicle occupants.
- Parking Minder: If the driver happens to forget where they parked the car, the Parking Minder function helps find it by sending the location of the vehicle to the driver’s phone. If preferred, the owner also can take pictures of the surrounding area for reference, write a reminder note, email his or her location and set an alarm if the car is parked at a meter. To guide the owner back, the UVO eServices smartphone app will display the owner and the vehicle’s locations on a map. Optionally, the owner can look through the phone’s integrated camera where an icon on the phone’s screen will point to the vehicle’s location.
The all new redesigned 2014 Sorento will tack an additional $1000 to its starting price, but the extra grand is worth it thanks to all of its welcome new changes and available premium add-ons. For starters, we appreciate the Sorento’s newer more refined exterior looks, as well as its pretty luxurious interior options. But most of all, it’s revamped V6 engine and mechanics, all translate to a super smooth ride with plenty of pick up and great handling, even on tough roads. Finally, between the latest generation UVO infotainment system with services, and the optional powerful Infinity Logic 7 Surround Sound System, there are plenty of techie treats to be found in the 2014 Sorento. All in all, the 2014 Sorento is designed for someone who is passionate about having a super comfortable and smooth experience on the road. Pricing for the 2014 Kia Sorento begins at about $24k and tops out at about $38k with all the premium additions.