The Most Complained About Kia Cars

In more recent years, Kia has really made a name for itself. Since bringing Peter Schreyer on board, cars with a more distinct style give Kia bigger chops against the popular competition. However, rising popularity means more units out there for consumers to complain about. This list isn’t shocking. Still, these are the most complained about Kia cars.

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Revved and Red-y. #KiaForte GT

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The Kia Rio

The Kia Rio is the third most complained about Kia car with 155 complaints filed on the consumer complaint platform. The worst model year for the Kia Rio is posted as the 2004 Kia Rio. This model experiences engine problems. In fact, engine problems are considered to be the worst problem for the Kia Rio.

However, even though the 2004 model is the worst, the 2007 model year actually has the most complaints overall. Due to the fact that the problems are worse or more expensive to repair, the 2004 model is still more of a problem year. The most-reported problem for the Kia Forte is the 2001 model year’s difficulties with “intermittent loss of power.”

a blue Kia Rio driving on a scenic country road
2020 Rio | Kia

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The Kia Forte

Overall, the Kia Forte has 175 complaints on file with This means the Kia Forte is the second most complained about Kia car. According to the data compiled, the worst model year is the 2010 Kia Forte. This model experiences engine problems as well.

However, the model year with the most complaints of all is the 2012 Kia Forte. The most-reported problem is with the 2010 Kia Forte. Apparently, this model year deals with a knocking sound when the vehicle is operating.

A Kia Forte on display at an auto show
A new Kia Forte is on display | Raymond Boyd/Getty Images

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The Kia Optima

The Kia Optima has 605 complaints in total. That means that it is––by far––the most complained about Kia car. It is also the most popular, which probably accounts for the fact that it has accumulated so many complaints on

The Kia Optima SW is displayed at the South Korean car maker's booth during a press day ahead of the Geneva International Motor Show
The Kia Optima SW | HAROLD CUNNINGHAM/AFP via Getty Images

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The worst Kia Optima model year is the year 2011. Like the other two cars on this list, the Kia Optima deals with engine problems. The model year with the highest volume of complaints overall is the 2013 Optima. The most-reported problem is engine failure in that 2013 model year.

The three worst problems for the Kia Optima are all related to issues with its engine. The number 1 worst problem, for instance, is engine failure for the 2011 Kia Optima at 102,000 miles. This issue costs about $4,600 to repair. The 2015 model year, however, costs even more at $6,000 according to the data on It also occurs at a lower mileage of around 61,000 miles.

The new Kia Optima is unveiled on April 1, 2010 at the New York Auto Show in New York
The 2011 Kia Optima | STAN HONDA/AFP via Getty Images

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Kia car complaints

The worst Kia cars may not be the Rio, Forte, and Optima. However, they are the most complained about Kia cars overall. This does have something to do with the fact that these Kia cars are popular and produced in mass. However, the issues with these cars are worrisome.

Still, even if the problems are with the engine and the repair costs are high, 605 complaints about an entire model isn’t that scary. There are many models out there that have thousands of complaints. So, we have to take these numbers for what they are.

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Research is certainly a key factor when you are car shopping for either a new or used car. However, it’s important to review data and allow it to inform you rather than alarm you. Sometimes things can look worse than they actually are. Kia cars, for example, are highly rated in terms of reliability on J.D. Power. So––while these complaints are valid research––don’t forget that isn’t the only resource out there when it comes to learning about makes and models.