At 184.4 inches long, riding on a wheelbase of 106.3 inches, the Kia Sorento has plenty of room for five passengers in its standard configuration. Two more will fit in its available third-row seat, but they'll need to be small.
The Sorento has gone through a discreet transformation for 2014. It doesn't look very different, but Kia says it's 80 percent new, with small increases in leg room for second- and third-row passengers as a result of the changes. The interior room isn't very obvious at all in the front seats, where Kia already provided a good driving position and passenger space. The seats have good bolstering and wide cushions, with good adjustment range to the steering column. The redesigned center stack leaves knee room untouched--no hard points make contact--and the footwells are mostly flat. Moving through the higher trim grades adds power adjustment, heating, and ventilation, touches becoming more common in premium SUVs but still pretty rare in mainstream crossovers like the Sorento.
In the second row, we've found space just as habitable, though the Sorento doesn't have the twin captain's-chairs layout of the similar Hyundai Santa Fe. The bench seat does adjust to flex leg room between the second and third rows, and by Kia's reckoning, there's more than an inch of additional leg room behind the front seats--we think, primarily, from redesigned seats. The second-row bench is split 40/20/40 and the outboard sections recline, for great nap potential, and heating is an option, another welcome premium touch.
In the optional third-row seat, it's purely a kid zone. The Sorento may be a three-row crossover, but by interior volume it's smaller by a good margin than the bigger three-row utes--the Pilot, the Ford Flex, and the Chevy Traverse. The rearmost seat has minimal head and leg room for even small adults, and there's less than 10 cubic feet of space behind it for cargo--a spec that rises to about 36 cubic feet when the third row is folded down.
A thorough rework of the cabin delivers a much better impression of quality inside the Sorento, and that impression extends to noise levels, too. The materials are a finer grade, particularly on the pricey SX-L, and powertrain noises are subdued on V-6 versions, with just some tire noise keeping the back-seat passengers from hearing front-seat conversations clearly.