With more than 130,000 units sold last year, the Kia Sorento is understandably a very important product for Kia, and to keep this popular mid-size crossover fresh in an ever-growing segment, the 2014 model year is bringing some numerous changes. Having only been on the market since 2010, the 2014 Kia Sorento will receive minor, but significant styling changes as well as enhanced powertrain options that Kia expects to return best-in-class fuel economy. Kia hasn't officially introduced the updated version of the 2014 Kia Sorento that will be on sale in the United States, but images and information for this model have been released in other global markets.
Based on European-spec images of the 2014 Sorento show here, we can see that the headlights have been revised with a cleaner appearance and LED parking lights while the new front fascia gets vertical fog light bezels, a central air inlet below the grille and a slightly larger version of Kia's signature Tiger Nose grille. The rear view of the new Sorento is perhaps its most distinguishing with the standard LED taillights now getting a more familiar horizontal shape to models such as the Kia Rio and Kia Optima. Like the front end, the rear fascia mirrors the fog lights with vertical reflectors, while new 19-inch alloy wheels finish off the exterior styling changes. Moving to the inside, Kia promises added luxury in its 2014 Sorento with more soft-touch surfaces, a revised center stack and center console including a seven-inch display and a larger panoramic roof that is devoid of a crossbar. Kia has not released any images of the new Sorento's interior, but it did confirm this crossover will still be available with five- or seven-passenger seating.
"Since its introduction in 2009, the second-generation Kia Sorento has achieved more than 620,000 sales around the world. Today, it is manufactured in Korea and the US, attracting over 130,000 US customers last year to rank as the best-selling Kia model in the States for the second year in a row," commented Thomas Oh, Kia's Executive Vice President & COO of the International Business Division. "We have given very careful attention to owners' feedback, and the upgraded Sorento is not just a cosmetic exercise but a major step forward for our popular SUV."
Kia has yet to release any official powertrain changes for the 2014 Kia Sorento, but we would expect this crossover to mirror the changes being made to the closely related 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe and 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport. This would include the previously optional 2.4-liter direct-injected inline-four now coming standard as the base engine, while the 3.5-liter V-6 is likely to be replaced by the equally efficient and more powerful 3.3-liter direct-injected V-6. The power output of the Santa Fe Sport's base four-cylinder engine are similar to the 2013 Sorento at 190 horsepower and 181 lb-ft of torque, but the fuel economy is up slightly to 23 miles per gallon in the city and 33 mpg on the highway. As for the new V-6, we expect the 2014 Sorento to have a similar output as the 2013 Santa Fe with power increased to 290 hp and 252 lb-ft of torque without losing much in terms of fuel economy thanks to the use of direct injection. Kia says the powertrain changes will help lower emissions, and it also plans to improve the Sorento's ride and handling characteristics.
These, of course, are merely speculations based on the engines used in the new-for-2013 Hyundai Santa Fe line-up, but we expect the 2014 Sorento to make a proper introduction at the 2012 Los Angeles International Auto Show and go on sale early next year.