"It Has an Answer for Everything"
I'm not above appreciating a good mini-van. I hate how they look though. But, with 3 kids, a dog, and a husband to tote around I understand how awesome they can be. However, I'm more of an SUV type gal. I think the styling over all is better, and I enjoy the 4WD or AWD options many of them have. (Living in Maine, it was not uncommon to take a family trip in 6 inches of snow with it still coming down.)
My family and I had planned another camping trip. This time we were heading up to NY to spend the weekend on a friend's farm. We needed enough space in the trunk for our tent, food, sleeping stuff, etc. And, we also decided we were going to bring our dog along. I was a little worried that we'd be offered a review vehicle that wasn't going to be big enough. If we were camping closer like last time, that wouldn't have been such a big deal, but with our destination being 318 miles away... a vehicle that doesn't fit everything kind of poses a problem.
Luckily we were offered the 2014 Kia Sorento EX AWD + Touring Package (in a STUNNING Wave Blue color)! I have to admit I'm always a little wary when I hear the name Kia. Unfortunately, in my mind Kia is synonymous with cheap. (I know, I know, that's awful to say.) But, it is what it is. I would have never considered a Kia until I had the opportunity to drive the 2014 Sorento around. I fell in LOVE with this vehicle. I joked around about hiding it and never giving it back. I found my perfect mommy vehicle! It's spacious, comfortable, feature packed, and drives amazingly well. There was not a single thing I didn't like about the 2014 Sorento. Now, I can't quite comment on how it'll hold up after a couple of years, but driving it around for 2 weeks, including a really long trip, it was amazing.
So anyway, we packed up the trunk of the Sorento. I think we had a massive tent, 2 sleeping bags, a cooler, a box, 4 camping chairs, 3 or 4 bags with clothing and toiletries, 4 pillows, an air mattress, and we stuffed my daughter's Trunki under her feet. Then we put in my son's car seat, my daughter's booster seat, and stuck the dog in the middle seat. Needless to say the car was packed pretty much full, but if necessary we could have fit more stuff in there. And off we went!
My husband and I are very critical. Not just about cars, but we certainly believe that if we're going to make a big investment it needs to be worth the money. We spent hours during our drive up to NY discussing the features we liked. I mean, HOURS of all of the positives that we loved, which I'll get to in a bit. However, there were only TWO negatives we could come up with, and neither one of them is a fault, just a personal preference. The first thing we found a little annoying was the incessant beeping when you leave the car on, but walk away with the key. I get it. It's there to let you know the key isn't in the car. However, we would occasionally step outside for a cigarette break (no judging) during our trip, and leave the kids inside with the dog and keep the radio and AC running. Heaven forbid one of them figures out how to get out of their seat and lock the doors on us. So, they remote key stayed on our possession at all times. The beeping wasn't necessary.
The second thing I didn't like, mostly because it scared the daylights out of me the first time I heard it, was this alarm sound when it's not safe to merge. Again, I get it. It's a safety feature, and a smart one at that. But, I'm a slightly nervous driver in 4 lanes of close traffic, and the alarm almost sent me into another lane. Thankfully that feature can actually be turned off. (Perhaps someone else realized it was kind of a distracting sound.) But that's it. Those two negatives are certainly nothing to write home about and wouldn't deter me from buying the vehicle in the slightest. I can deal with some beeping and dinging especially if it's a safety feature.
This review will drone on and on if I don't edit myself a bit and just stick to my favorite features of the 2014 Kia Sorento. If you want to know EVERYTHING that this beauty has in store for you, definitely check out Kia online. My husband and I talked a bit, and we thought these would be the best features to mention. First of all, the Sorento is absolutely stunning inside and out. We loved the beige leather (black is also available in this model). We've decided we really hate black leather interiors. The vehicle just gets WAY too hot, and black shows EVERYTHING. I normally don't like wood accents (real or fake), but the shiny dark wood accents inside really added to the beauty. It was done tastefully and didn't overwhelm the interior.
The panoramic roof with power sunshade was the coolest thing ever. My kids LOVED that I could open the sunshade and you could see the sky through almost the entire top of the vehicle. It went almost all the way back. Then throw in the fact that the window also opens on about half of the roof, and you just have a spectacular sky view. I LOVE sunroofs. That's one feature I've never had in a car that I've owned, but for me they're always a strong selling point. We also thought the memory drivers seat and mirrors were super cool. I always forget to put the seat back if my husband is driving next and we end up struggling to find the perfect spot each time we need to go somewhere. Not with this vehicle! There are buttons for two settings. I had mine at #1, and my husband did #2. Just push the button you need and your seat moves to the EXACT spot that you want it to.
The navigation system was pretty snazzy. Sometimes it hiccuped, but what GPS doesn't? We used the GPS a LOT on our trip. The same panel that does the radio and GPS also turns into a backup camera when you put the vehicle in reverse. My husband said this was definitely one of his most favorite features. Safety and functionality.... perfect! Two other nifty features were sun shades in the back seat windows, and single push button lift gate opening/closing. And finally, our favorite little feature was vented seats. It has been in the 90's for the last two weeks, and while at first I thought the vented seats felt funny, I was thrilled to have a little coolness helping out my bum and lower back while driving. This feature was also used quite a bit.
So, we all know little features are great, but they mean nothing if the rest of the car doesn't hold up. The 2014 Kia Sorento handles like a true champ. The bumps were smooth (we had to take it partially off-roading at the farm), and this vehicle turns on a dime. Finding a parking spot last minute in a crowded parking lot? No problem. There was almost never a reason to back up and try again just to make sure the car would turn successfully into the spot. There is also an eco button feature that (please excuse my lack of full technical knowledge on this) helps improve your fuel economy. I'm not sure if it reduces the amount of pistons firing in the engine (bringing it from a V6 down to 4 cylinders being used), or if it just reduces the overall RPMs. Whatever it does, I noticed a significant jump in fuel economy. We were averaging about 18 MPG without using the Eco feature, and jumped up to averaging about 23.7 MPG on the highway.
The 2014 Kia Sorento EX AWD + Touring Package is really quite a beauty. Kia FAR surpassed any and all expectations I had going into this review, and convinced me that they're a brand who is in it to win it. My husband and I couldn't come up with anything we were really disappointed with, which is difficult. There's always something we don't like. I would purchase this vehicle in a heartbeat, and I don't think my husband will ever hear the end of my nagging. I mean really, I'd give my left arm to own this car. No joke.
*I received the 2014 Kia Sorento free of charge for 2 weeks in order to facilitate this review. All opinions are 100% mine. See Disclosure Policy.