• 2014 Sorento features 80-percent new or redesigned parts.
  • There's a new 3.3-liter V6 engine option.
  • Stiffer body improves ride and handling.

Making its North American premiere in Los Angeles is the 2014 Kia Sorento midsize crossover SUV. Strictly speaking, this is really a mid-generation refresh--an update done partway through a model's life cycle to keep buyers interested. But with 80 percent of the seven-seater 2014 Sorento's parts either brand new or redesigned, including the chassis and cabin architecture, it's essentially an all-new model.

Kia promised more passenger space for both the second and third row of seats. And the new Sorento also brings a new top-of-the-line trim level: SX Limited (SXL).

There's a brand-new all-aluminum engine that comes standard with the top-level SX trim or optional on LX or EX models. It's a 3.3-liter V6 engine that produced 290 hp and 252 lb-ft of torque. Both the V6 and standard 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine (which produces 191 hp and 181 lb-ft), are available with either front- or all-wheel drive.

A new chassis improves torsional rigidity by 18 percent, which has big benefits for the ride and handling. And here's a first for the Sorento: Kia now offers 19-inch wheels. The 2014 model also offers the same Flex Steer system as the new Forte.

This is also the first of Kia's upcoming products to offer a blind spot warning system. Also on the options list are the UVO voice-controlled infotainment system, programmable power liftgate and illuminated door pockets.

The redesigned 2014 Sorento reaches Kia showrooms in the early part of next year, with pricing still to be announced. For comparison, a front-wheel drive 2013 Sorento LX starts at $23,150--and we expect pricing for the new model to be similar. At the LA show, Kia said that the Sorento will "remain true to Kia's value DNA."

What it means to you: While technically a refresh, 80 percent of the parts in the 2014 Kia Sorento SUV are either brand new or redesigned. With a new V6 engine option, improved ride and handling, and new features like blind-spot detection, the 2014 Sorento may be worth waiting for.

See more LA Auto Show news.

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Colin Ryan has driven hundreds of cars thousands of miles while writing for BBC Top Gear magazine, Popular Mechanics, the Los Angeles Times, European Car, Import Tuner and many other publications, websites, TV shows, etc.

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