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Currently, Kia is known as one of the most reliable automakers in the industry. However, that hasn’t always been the case. Just a few short years ago, Kia was at the bottom of the barrel when it came to purchasing new cars, and it took a lot of work to rid itself of that reputation. There’s a new report of a certain Kia Sorento, which has had an enormous amount of work done to it, and some may question if that model year isn’t a call back to times when Kia wasn’t on top of its game.

A Kia Sorento with 9 engines

Old Kia Sorento and Kia Sportage models as part of a recall of vehicles due to engine failure
Old Kia Sorento and Kia Sportage models | Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Kia is well known for its 10-year warranty. In fact, it’s almost legendary, given that most automakers grudgingly give a mere three-year warranty and have a way of making you feel like this is the greatest deal of all time. While most people rarely use their warranty, The Drive reports that one owner used it so much that Kia probably regretted this incredible deal.

So, how much work did this owner have done? A mechanic at the dealership where the Kia Sorento was worked on reported on Reddit that it went through a total of nine engines. However, that’s not all. 

The Sorento also went through four transmissions, 20 transmission flushes, and 203 oil changes. For a vehicle like this, it must have an enormous amount of mileage on it, right?

How did the vehicle reach over 600,000 miles?

In this case, yes. The 2012 Kia Sorento in question had 608,061 miles on it when the owner traded it in. To put this in perspective, most people are thrilled to have a vehicle that can last for up to 300,000 miles. For the Sorento to last twice as long is incredible if you can overlook the sheer amount of repairs done to it.

That means there was a new engine put in approximately every 68,000 miles. While it’s common for cars to need repairs, that’s more than a little excessive for engine replacements.

As for the oil changes, this was done approximately every 2,995 miles. While many modern vehicles can go up to 5,000 miles between oil changes, many still follow the recommended 3,000 miles for older models, so that’s actually not that shocking.

The 2012 Kia Sorento was equipped with a 2.4-liter Theta II four-cylinder engine, which produced 272 horsepower and 248 lb-ft of torque. This was paired with an automatic transmission. It wasn’t the most powerful of SUVs, but it could hold its own against some competitors.

The owner ended up trading in the Sorento for a mere $1,425, which he put toward a Saturn Vue Red Line. Now, the question is if Kia tries to resell the Sorento or uses it for parts.

Is the 2012 Kia Sorento reliable?


The 2012 Kia Sorento Has a Case of ‘Catastrophic Engine Failure’

When you read about all this work, you may wonder if the 2012 Kia Sorento is reliable. Are there other Sorentos that require this level of care? The answer to that is both yes and no.

The 2.4-liter Theta II four-cylinder engine in the 2012 Kia Sorento isn’t exactly the most reliable of engines. In fact, it has cost Kia a lot through lawsuits, fires, recalls, and of course, money, due to people who utilized their 10-year warranties.

Even so, getting nine engines in 10 years is an anomaly and certainly not something that happens to most Kia Sorento models. In fact, The Drive reported, “To preface all of this, the mechanic we spoke to says the vehicle was definitely abused. He’s been working at the dealership for just a few months, but says he heard the driver “floors it literally at all times.””

With that being said, Sorentos have come a long way, and you don’t have to fear spending a ton of time at your local Kia dealership getting repairs. However, the 2012 Kia Sorento is so bad that it should definitely not be on your radar if you’re looking for a used model.