4 Used Kia Models Consumer Reports Gave the ‘Never Buy’ Label

If you’re looking at buying a brand-new Kia, there is no shortage of good options. From the award-winning Telluride to the sporty Stinger, you’re spoiled for choice. However, it can be tougher to decide what exactly is a good buy when navigating the used car market. To help, Consumer Reports added a few Kia models to its “Never Buy” list. To save you time and, more importantly, money, we’ll be going over these vehicles.

Before we dive into Consumer Reports’ latest list, it is worth noting that this data comes directly from consumers. We’ll look at reliability ratings and what the most common issues are with each vehicle.

1. Kia Sorento: 2012-2013, 2020

An image of a Kia outdoors, one of the vehicles Consumer Reports gave the 'Never Buy' label.
Kia Sorento | Kia

Starting off this list of Kia models Consumer Reports says you should avoid, we’ve got the Sorento. More specifically, we’re talking about the 2012-2013 and 2020 model years. The 2012-2013 years cover the SUVs, second generation. Both model years received abysmal reliability ratings. In terms of major problem areas, Consumer Reports found issues with the SUVs engine, fuel system, suspension, power equipment, and body hardware. As a result, even a cheap used example could be quite expensive to own.

Next up, we’ve got the 2020 model, which covers the SUVs’ third generation. As you might expect, the newer model has slightly fewer issues. Consumer Reports doesn’t recommend this Kia because it found issues relating to its engine, drive system, and climate system.

2. Niro EV: 2019

An image of a Kia outdoors, one of the vehicles Consumer Reports gave the 'Never Buy' label.
Kia Niro EV | Kia

Next up in this list of Kia models Consumer Reports says you should avoid is a relatively new contender with the Niro EV. As its name suggests, this model is unique given the fact that it is completely electric. The model that received Consumer Reports ‘Never Buy’ label is the 2019 model. For a bit of context, the 2019 model was the first one available as a true EV. As you might imagine, it’s not uncommon for new models to suffer some growing pains.

In terms of trouble areas, Consumer Reports found issues with the Niro EV’s powertrain. In fact, the rest of the crossover received a decent reliability rating. However, it seems many of these first-generation examples have known issues.

3. Kia Optima: 2012

An image of a Kia outdoors, one of the vehicles Consumer Reports gave the 'Never Buy' label.
Kia Optima | Kia

Next, up in this list of used Kia models Consumer Reports gave the ‘Never Buy’ label to is the 2012 Kia Optima. Although, before we dive in, it is worth noting that the 2012 model was the most unreliable version of the Optima. The model years that followed improved significantly to the point where the Optima received an excellent reliability rating for the 2017 model year. However, you’ll want to steer clear of the 2012 model, despite how affordable these sedans have become in the used market.

According to Consumer Reports, the Kia Optima has plenty of issues surrounding its engine, transmission, drive system, suspension, and brakes. As you might imagine, these categories are integral to the car’s performance and can be quite costly to maintain.

4. Kia Forte: 2017, 2019

An image of a Kia outdoors.
Kia Forte | Kia

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Rounding up this list of used Kia models Consumer Reports gave the ‘Never Buy’ label to is the 2017 and 2019 Forte. In case you’re unfamiliar with the Forte, this little sedan was designed to compete with the likes of the Toyota Corolla. However, neither the 2017 or 2019 models managed to score good reliability scores.

Let’s start with the 2017. Overall, the 2017 Forte’s problems surround its engine, transmission, drive system, paint, and body integrity. However, things improved slightly for the 2019 model with fewer engine problems. However, even the 2019 failed the reliability ratings due to issues with its transmission and drive system.

As a result, you should definitely look at a used Kia for an affordable and reliable daily driver, just not any of the models we’ve covered today.