The 2014 Sorento also is one of the few crossover SUVs that lets buyers decide whether to add more seats, so Sorentos can be equipped with five or seven seats.
Buyers who need six or seven seats only intermittently will find the 2014 Sorento is nicely sized for this occasional use.
At 15.4 feet long from bumper to bumper, the 2014 Sorento is like a slightly larger compact SUV or smaller midsize SUV.
And it has the appealing ride of a crossover SUV that's built on a carlike, rather than truck-based, platform.
To add more ride refinement for 2014, Kia revamped the Sorento's rear suspension and added strut tower bracing under the hood as well as a revised front suspension attached to a new subframe.
Better yet, the Sorento comes with Kia's generous warranty that includes 10-year/100,000-mile coverage of the powertrain and a full five years/60,000 miles of limited basic coverage plus roadside assistance.
Starting manufacturer's suggested retail price, including destination charge, is $24,950 for the base, front-wheel drive 2014 Sorento LX with 191-horsepower, four-cylinder engine and six-speed automatic transmission.
Prices for the upper-level 2014 Sorentos reach into the $30,000s, and the new, top-of-the-line Sorento SX-L has a starting MSRP, including destination charge, of $40,950.
The SX-L includes all-wheel drive, the new 290-horsepower V-6, and luxury features such as leather-trimmed seats, panoramic sunroof, Xenon high-intensity discharge headlamps, heated front and rear seats and heated steering wheel, as well as navigation system, power liftgate, side blind-spot detection system and rearview camera.
Too bad a rearview camera is optional on the base, 2014 Sorento LX; it's standard on upper-trim levels.
The lowest starting price for a 2014 Sorento with all-wheel drive is $26,750, and this includes the four-cylinder engine. TheV-6 is available on all trim levels and the lowest starting price for a 2014 Sorento with the new V-6 is $26,550.
Buyers get a pleasant-looking SUV that sets riders up above the pavement for decent views out. But seat cushions also are positioned so most passengers can set themselves on the outer seats without having to climb or scramble aboard.
The test Sorento SX AWD had an impressive, new panoramic roof that made the interior feel open and airy.
And the Sorento's first two rows of seats, in particular, were comfortable and supportive. Since second-row seats slide forward and back on their tracks, it was easy to arrange legroom in these two rows to accommodate seat occupants. But two third-row seats are best for children and small-stature adults, as the seats rest close to the raised floor back there.
Engine sounds were strong, and most of the time, power came on smoothly. Shifts in the automatic transmission were noticeable at times, but even with uplevel, 19-inch tires, the test Sorento had less road noise than earlier Sorentos.
Blind-spot monitoring is a new safety feature.
The Sorento has six air bags.
Fuel economy was lackluster at 19.4 mpg in combined city/highway travel. This is less than the 21-mpg rating reported by the federal government for the V-6-powered, 2014 Sorento.
2014 Kia Sorento SX FWDBase price: $24,100 for LX FWD; $25,700 for LX V-6 FWD; $25,900 for LX AWD; $27,500 for LX V-6 AWD; $30,000 for EX FWD; $31,800 for EX AWD; $35,000 for SX FWD.
Price as tested: $37,100.
Type: Front-engine, front-wheel drive, seven-passenger, midsize, crossover, sport utility vehicle.
Engine: 3.3-liter, double overhead cam, gasoline direct injection V-6 with CVVT.
Mileage: 18 mpg (city), 25 mpg (highway).