The 2014 Kia Sorento is a Crossover Utility Vehicle (CUV) that blends style, power and efficiency with a healthy dose of utility and technology at an affordable price. When you compare the Sorento, now available here at Autoteam Delaware in Wilmington, Delaware, to the Honda Pilot, you start to wonder why anyone would pay thousands more for a vehicle that does less.
The Kia Sorento is redesigned for 2014 but this isn’t a simple refresh. Over 80 percent of its parts are either redesigned or completely new. Upgrades include a new, powerful yet efficient 3.3-liter V6, next generation voice activated UVO eServices (the first Kia to offer this), sophisticated styling, and a new platform that improves ride quality, handling and interior comfort.
The 2014 Kia Sorento starts at an MSRP of $24,100, over $5,400 less than a base Honda Pilot (MSRP $29,520). For that price you could step up to an LX model with all-wheel drive and still have thousands left over. The experts at Edmunds have spoken and they like what they saw with the Sorento. They noted, “In true Kia tradition, all of this comes at a price that undercuts its rivals. Essentially, the Sorento offers the size and equipment of a more expensive crossover.” They weren’t as kind with the Pilot and said, “Honda Pilot still falls short of making the honor roll, though. The biggest issue remains unacceptably long stopping distances, which are significantly worse than its competitors. This, along with its sluggish acceleration, makes the Pilot tough to choose over well-rounded crossovers.” No wonder that US News ranked the Kia Sorento ahead of the Honda Pilot in the “Affordable Midsize SUV” and “Affordable Crossover SUV” categories.
Outside, the Sorento has a handsome appearance with redesigned front and rear fascias and the unique tiger-nose grille. The overall design is a significant improvement over the boring Honda Pilot with its boxy, less athletic appearance. Heated exterior side mirrors and 17-inch alloy wheels are both standard on the Sorento and not found on the base Pilot LX standard list.
The new Sorento is powered by your choice of a 2.4-liter inline-four cylinder that produces 191 hp and 181 lb/ft of torque or the new 3.3-liter V6 that increases the power to 290 hp and 252 lb/ft of torque. Both engines are motivated by an electronically-controlled six-speed automatic transmission. Drivers can expect up to 26 mpg with the four-cylinder and 25 mpg with the V6 on the highway. The Pilot on the other hand only offers a single powertrain, a 3.5-liter V6 that produces 250 hp and 253 lb/ft of torque through a five-speed automatic transmission. Even with less power and one less gear on the transmission, the Pilot can only manage to tie the 25 mpg highway rating of the Sorento. All-wheel drive is available on both models, but the Sorento offers a full-time system with Lockable Center Differential with Torque Vectoring Cornering Control that helps improve traction regardless of weather or road condition.
The Sorento is available as either a five- or seven-passenger model so you can tailor your model to your liking, as opposed to the one-size-fits-all approach of the eight-passenger Pilot. Shorter and thinner than the bulky Pilot, the Sorento still manages to give second row occupants more legroom, and the smaller wheelbase provides a more car-like ride too. In addition to a healthy list of standard equipment including air conditioning, trip computer, audio system with SiriusXM and USB/auxiliary inputs and Tricot fabric seats with YES essentials fabric treatment, the Sorento LX also offers a large list of features not available on a base Pilot. A power liftgate, heated front seats with leather upholstery, power front seats/mirrors with memory function, push button start and even a navigation system can be added to a Sorento LX. To add any of those features to an already expensive Pilot, you have to step up to a higher priced model. And only the Sorento has an SX Limited model that is a luxury SUV in disguise and includes 19-inch chrome wheels, Xenon HID headlights, soft-touch headliner, Nappa leather trimmed seats with heated rear seats and a heated steering wheel. No Honda Pilot can match this model.
Finally, the Sorento comes standard with arguably the best warranty in the industry: a five-year/60,000-mile Limited Basic Warranty with Roadside Assistance and a 10-year/100,000-mile Powertrain Limited Warranty dwarfing the three-year/36,000-mile New Vehicle Limited Warranty and the five-year/60,000-mile Powertrain Limited Warranty found on the Pilot.
The Honda Pilot is no match for the 2014 Kia Sorento. The CUV of tomorrow is here today. Stop by to see it for yourself.