Kia Sorento: The Most Common Complaints You Should Know About

While many midsize crossover SUVs are on the market, the Kia Sorento is popular for its size. It’s an ideal family vehicle with three rows of seats, a comfortable interior, and an impressive list of standard features. The warranty on new models is pretty good too.

There have been several complaints about past models of the Kia Sorento. What are the additional complaints, and what models do they impact? Here is what you should know before buying.

Engine problems

The Kia Sorento engine remains plagued with problems since several years ago. According to, there are major engine issues from the 2011 models through those produced in 2017. While the popular site found the 2012 models of the Kia Sorento the worst, the 2011 models had the most overall complaints.

The 2012 models of Kia Sorento drew several complaints about catastrophic engine failure. gave the problem a 9.4 severity rating on a problem scale of 10. On average, the problem occurs around 115,000 miles and costs $6,500 to repair. One Illinois owner had their Sorento die on the interstate on Christmas Day. After making squeaking and knocking noises, it quickly lost power and forced the owner to get to the shoulder before having it towed.

The engine failure of the 2011 models was similar. The issues usually appear around 78,000 miles and cost approximately $4,600 to repair. One New York owner experienced the engine failure at 77,000 miles and contacted Kia about it. They opened a case and leased another vehicle to the party, but months went by with no resolution.

The engine problems continued through the 2016 and 2017 models. The 2016 models were experiencing issues around 55,000 miles and rated an 8.5 on’s problem severity scale. The average cost for repair was $6,400. A Wisconsin owner made it to 91,500 miles before the engine failed. The dealership got them a loaner car while they waited for the repair. After three months, the owner followed up only to learn that the repair would take up to four more months.

Doors you can’t open from the outside

The Kia Sorento got a new design for 2011, and the result was a lot of problems. Kia used unibody construction, making it more of a crossover than a true SUV. One of the bigger problems this presented for the 2011 models were doors that wouldn’t open outside. The cost of repairs was $400 or more, and the problem showed up around 94,000 miles. 

According to, this was the most reported problem with the Kia Sorento. One Pennsylvania owner couldn’t open their driver’s side door and had to climb in through the passenger side. A Georgia owner pointed out the safety issue the problem posed after struggling to get their small grandchildren out of the car. 

 Jerking while shifting

Another problem caused by the new 2011 design was an issue in shifting gears. One Texas owner claimed that the vehicle would jerk while shifting, and sometimes they were unable to start the engine at all. Sometimes putting the vehicle in neutral gear would help them get the engine to start.

Another Georgia owner experienced extreme jerking when shifting gears in their 2011 Kia Sorento. At first, Kia told them there was nothing wrong with the vehicle. The problem resurfaced, and the dealer told them the system values were off and needed a reset. When they took the car in for a reset, they found out that they needed to replace the transmission at around 90,000 miles. They ended up with a final bill of $15,000.

What else potential buyers should know


The Kia Telluride Might Be the Best Off-Road SUV You Can Buy Right Now

If you’re still considering a used Kia Sorento, you may want to avoid models from 2011 through 2017 for the engine problems, among others. The models from 2007 thru 2010 show relatively few complaints. If you’re considering a new Kia Sorento, the warranties are pretty impressive. The 2020 Kia Sorento has the best warranty on a powertrain you’ll find with 10 years or 100,000 miles. There’s also roadside assistance for five years too. Do your homework before buying any used vehicle. On the Kia Sorento, beware of specific models. And you’ll want to give the 2011 and 2012 models a pass.