Skip to main content

Reliability is a vital consideration when shopping for a new car, truck, or SUV, and even more so when searching the used car market. And according to Car Complaints, only on Kia, the 2009 Sorento, is deemed to be a standout for overall dependability by receiving the website’s “Seal of Awesome.” 

The 2009 Kia Sorento was the only model to get the seal of approval

The 2009 Kia Sorento is a compact SUV from the South Korean automaker, and the nameplate continues to reside in the brand’s lineup. The 2009 Sorento is far less eye-catching than the current model, but it provides more utilitarianism with its body-on-frame construction and available four-wheel drive system. The ‘09 Sorento is powered by a 3.3-liter V6 dishing out 242 hp and 228 lb-ft of torque or a 3.8-liter V6 upping the ante to 262 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque. It’s rated to tow up to 3,500 pounds. 

The Sorento can accommodate up to five passengers and offers nearly 32 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear row. 

Now that 15 years have passed, the 2009 Sorento has also proved to be the best Kia model for reliability, according to Car Complaints, and it’s the only model from the manufacturer to earn the “Seal of Awesome” designation, which is based on issues reported by owners and recalls from the NHTSA. The “worst” problem for the 2009 Sorento is an occupant classification system sensor failure. The sensor is used to detect passengers and operate airbag deployment. A related problem is the airbag light being illuminated. Another complaint lodged against the ‘09 Sorento is the transmission shifting “hard” from park. 

The 2009 Sorento’s relatively limited issues earned it the “Seal of Awesome” designation, but should buyers interested in other Kia models who prioritize reliability stay away from other Sorento years or models? The question takes on greeted significance considering brands like Subaru, Toyota, Hyundai, Ford, Chevrolet, and even Pontiac have more models earning the award. 

Does this mean you can’t trust used Kias?

Though its dependability stands out, buyers shouldn’t necessarily avoid other Kia models based solely on the ‘09 Sorento being the only model from the brand to receive the Car Complaints’ seal of approval. 

Car Complaints notes its ranking system is not yet completed, and no new cars are ranked. 

Additionally, various models have received the seal of approval from the website while other models from the same brand are ranked as some of the most mechanically problematic cars, trucks, and SUVs to own. For instance, eight Ford models have received the “Seal of Awesome” designation, but several Ford models are among the 20 “worst” used cars for dependability. The 2002 Ford Explorer is ranked as the “worst” model of all models ranked on the website. 

Always do your research

A vital consideration when shopping around for a used car is that no two vehicles are exactly alike. A well-cared-for and scrupulously maintained model may be altogether mechanically sound even if some other models from the same year have several widely reported issues. Similarly, not all models that rank high for reliability will be mechanically sound or not have their own share of serious issues if the model in question has not been properly maintained. 

As such, all prospective used car buyers should do their homework on the specific model they are considering. This can include conducting mechanical inspections, reviewing the specific model’s history report, going for a test drive, and researching common problems or recalls that have been issued for the model. 

So, a 2009 Kia Sorento may be an appealing SUV for buyers seeking standout reliability, but there’s no substitute for doing your homework on the specific model for sale.


The 4 Most Reliable Used Kia Sorento Years Under $20,000 in 2023