Grandmother’s Kia Sorento Bursts Into Flames: ‘I’ve Been Driving Around on a Bomb’

One of the most important aspects of a car is safety. Drivers want a vehicle that will protect them in a crash, and they certainly don’t want a car that will burst into flames. But that’s exactly what happened to a grandmother driving a 2017 Kia Sorento last month. On a ride home from work, she pulled over in the nick of time before fire engulfed her SUV.

The Kia Sorento midsize SUV debuted in 2002. Its low price set it apart from other SUVs, and it quickly became a successful seller for the brand.

Over the years, it saw various generations and iterations. By the 2017 model, the Sorento was on its third generation. Kia changed the build to give the SUV better handling and more powerful engines.

The 2017 Kia Sorento also offered seating for five or seven, making it a versatile pick for families. Plus, it boasted advanced safety features such as automatic emergency braking. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety even awarded the Sorento a 2017 Top Safety Pick award.

A woman’s 2017 Kia Sorento burst into flames on an interstate

This past May 18, Helen Miller was driving her 2017 Kia Sorento home on Interstate 40 in Morganton, North Carolina. The front passenger side of her SUV caught fire while Miller was driving, but she didn’t notice, The News Herald reported. Another driver signaled her to pull over after spotting the flames. She stopped on the shoulder and got out before fire engulfed the front of her Sorento.

Miller sustained injuries while climbing up an exit ramp to escape the fire, but she said she was lucky to have been driving alone:

“I’ve been driving around on a bomb. If my grandson would have been in the third row seat, I would’ve burnt to death getting him out … One way or another, kids were coming out of the car, but I may not have … the what-ifs is what kill me.”

Helen Miller via The News Herald

Kia said it’s looking into Miller’s incident. The automaker told The News Herald that its vehicles sold in the United States “meet or exceed all federal government vehicle safety standards.” It added, “If a fire is determined to be the issue of a Kia manufacturing issue, KMA will work with the customer to reach a satisfactory resolution to the matter.”

Unfortunately, Miller said her insurance won’t cover her injuries because she sustained them outside of her SUV.

Other drivers have reported the same problem

Kia recently recalled 2014 and 2015 Sorento models for fire risk. But Miller’s 2017 Sorento showed no unfixed recalls when The News Herald checked her VIN on the NHTSA website. However, the newspaper found complaints of instances similar to Miller’s.

The investigations into these more recent fires are ongoing. Perhaps we’ll soon see more models added to the Kia recall.

RELATED: Consumer Reports Thinks You Should Avoid the 2012 and 2013 Kia Sorento