Our family has been making many weekend trips from Los Angeles to San Francisco over the past few months. I think it was trip number 50 billion, that we switched things up and tested out a 2014 Kia Sorento instead of taking our own mini van.
Now, the Kia Sorento is a mid-sized crossover SUV, and I was a little skeptical about fitting our entire family in it for a road trip, especially after driving around our Dodge Caravan boat for the the past few years.
I was pleasantly surprised. We packed in a car seat (using the built in LATCH system), a booster seat, two suitcases, two adults, a two-year old, five-year old, doggie bed, two Shih Tzus, and a mountain of snacks. If you have a family with more than two kids, this car wouldn’t be a viable option, but we were comfortable enough to make a 375 mile drive with minimal pit stops and very few tears.
My husband kind of fell in love with the car because they delivered the Sorento to us fully loaded. We had the leather wrapped steering wheel, heated seats, dual zone climate control, navigation system with 8″ display, rear camera display, blind spot detection, and power folding outside mirrors. The built in 2nd row sunshade screens were also a big plus when we wanted to encourage road trip napping. SIRIUS satellite radio, bluetooth wireless, and keyless entry are standard features, but we completely enjoyed taking advantage of them. I can’t tell you how much I adore keyless entry since my hands are almost always full of groceries, kids, puppies, or snacks.
Though we didn’t fully take advantage of it, I was still wowed by the UVO eServices Telematics system. This system (powered by Microsoft) includes things like a smartphone app, roadside assist, vehicle diagnostics, and my personal favorite – a Parking Minder. After you sync the system to your phone, the parking minder can use GPS to lead you to your car if you happen to forget where you park. It was made especially for people like me – brilliant folks with zero sense of direction.
We gave the Sorento quite a work out with driving it over 750 miles over all. The over-all feel was sturdy, yet quick and responsive. The feature I appreciated the most is a standard across the Sorrento line, but something I never gave much thought to before – Hill-start assist. Driving in San Francisco is like manning your own roller coaster cart. It’s common to drive up a 45 degree incline only to have to stop at an intersection at the very top. I always dread that moment when the red light turns green and you take your foot off the brake, hoping you don’t roll back into the car behind you on the hill. I’m happy to say we rolled back into zero cars…
and we climbed many hills.
Overall, our week with the 2014 Kia Sorento was adventurous and comfortable. This car is meant to compete with the likes of the Toyota Highlander, and with a fully loaded price of $34,900, is highly economical. I must say that if fuel economy is top on your list, you’re not likely to be impressed with the 21 combined MPG. Crossovers aren’t known for their fuel economy, and this one is average for it’s type.
Still, we put it through the wringer, and it came through like a champ. If your looking for a crossover vehicle that’s highly economical even when loaded – the Sorento is definitely worth looking into.
It’s also useful if you like roller coasters and looking to drive vertically in San Francisco – most reviews probably won’t tell you that, but it’s good to know.
PS – Don’t tell, but my husband may have shed a silent tear when they came to take it away.