really awful
Crashes / Fires:
3 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
2 / 0
Average Mileage:
62,721 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2008 Kia Sorento engine problems

engine problem

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2008 Kia Sorento Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #25

Sep 262016


  • 122,000 miles


The contact owned a 2008 Kia Sorento. While driving approximately 35 mph approaching a traffic light, the brake pedal was applied and the vehicle suddenly surged at a high rate of speed. The contact crashed into the preceding vehicle, which caused that vehicle to crash into a third vehicle. The driver side air bag deployed with extreme force. The contact sustained injuries to the head, neck, and a whiplash. The contact was also injured by the seat belt. Medical attention was required. A police report was filed. The vehicle was towed to a yard and destroyed. The VIN was not included in NHTSA campaign number: 13V114000 (exterior lighting, service brakes, hydraulic). The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The VIN was not available. The approximate failure mileage was 122,000.

- Averill Park, NY, USA

problem #24

Oct 282015


  • 122,000 miles
After stopping and looking for oncoming cars and starting again, the car jettisoned causing me to hit another car and the car wouldn't stop for about a half block.

- Tulsa, OK, USA

problem #23

Sep 012015


  • 110,000 miles
When driving up hill at 35 mph in automatic drive our vehicle loses power. When pushing down on gas pedal, it does not respond. We took it to a local mechanic who test drove it and experienced same problem. When using manual shift the car doe not lose power and responds when going up hill. We were told it goes from first gear to fifth gear in about 500 feet when in automatic drive. Local mechanic called Kia deals in spokane and I went to edmark Kia in nampa each dealership claims to know nothing about this problem. ESC light is also on.

- Nampa, ID, USA

problem #22

Nov 272014


  • 80,000 miles


The contact owns a 2008 Kia Sorento. The contact stated that while driving at approximately 10 mph, the accelerator pedal was depressed and hesitated to respond. The ESC and the engine warning indicators illuminated. The failure recurred on five separate occasions. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic, who was unable to locate the failure. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 80,000. MA 10/15/2015

- Myerstown, PA, USA

problem #21

Aug 012011


  • 55,000 miles
Approximately 2 years ago, the ESC light would come on and the vehicle had no acceleration and pulling out into oncoming traffic would be very scary to say the least. It would be very sluggish and no acceleration and oncoming traffic would come up on you before you could get it going. I carried it to the Kia dealership where it was purchased and they said it was a faulty accelerator and replaced it at a cost of 350 dollars. It has started doing it again. This is very dangerous and I am afraid to drive it and don't have 350 dollars to try and fix it again. This is a serious problem that I have found tons of complaints with this. Something needs to be done and it should not be at the cost of the consumer for a faulty product.

- Athens, AL, USA

problem #20

Feb 032014


  • 47,000 miles
The ESC light has been coming on since the beginning of 2014. When this happens there is very little acceleration and it is difficult to get to the speed limit. The dealership said it is a chip that needs to be replaced and it would cost about $3,000. We were also told it was not a guarantee it would still fix the issue. We were also told that this issue could cause the car to go from drive from drive to park while driving. This alone is a danger in itself causing harm to us and to others in traffic. When the light is on the car does not accelerate and trying to merge into traffic is difficult especially up hill. I talked to Kia customer care and they said they would talk to the dealership. The person I talked to was not very helpful. If this a chip issue then it should be a recall or at least something that Kia should fix. It is something that is out of control of the owner. There are times when the light is off and the vehicle runs ok. I think this should be a situation that should be handled with great urgency before there is a serious accident.

- Denver, CO, USA

problem #19

Oct 212013


  • 75,500 miles


Gas pedal (or computer program) very touchy. When someone who is not aware of issue drives car, as they start to press gas pedal it will lurch forward. Was driving with daughter who went to step on gas and vehicle jumped forward and we almost hit another vehicle. This has happened multiple times with other drivers, including myself who is well aware of issue and makes sure not to press pedal quickly, but it still lurches on occasion.

- South Hadley, MA, USA

problem #18

Sep 092011

Sorento 6-cyl

  • 31,072 miles
I was leaving la going over the grapevine on the freeway, after reaching the top I started on the down side of the grade when the brakes went out completely.traffick everywhere barely made it to safety, without hitting two autos in front of me! I was scared to death.the master cylinder $438.58 went out. September 18th2013,5:40am, no power to engine the gas pedal was not working could not go more than 20 miles an hour, I was in traffic and was almost rear ended when it happened all at once.the electric gas pedal went out!. repair cost $430.mileage only43069.

- Carmichael, CA, USA

problem #17

Sep 032013

Sorento 4WD 6-cyl

  • 47,500 miles
Driving to work on the highway at 65 mph, I lost significant power and was unable to accelerate past 40 mph on a local highway. I was able to slowly drive to a auto center where I was told my transfer case assembly and accelerator pedal assembly was malfunctioning, causing me to lose power and causing my car to shift erratically while driving. I have owned this car for less than 11 months.

- Denver, CO, USA

problem #16

Sep 032012

Sorento 6-cyl

  • miles
My 2008 Kia has had a continuing problem with the ESC off light coming on intermittently. Causing failure to accelerate properly. Dealer ran diagnostics. Replaced an item and said that should take care of it. Within three weeks it started again. The light would come on and I would lose power. The dealer stated it wasn't related but I never lost power until the light would come on. They checked it again and couldn't find any problem. Service tech said he couldn't "recreate" the issue. The light was on when he tested it, but I took it too another licensed mechanic shop and they could tell that there was no acceleration power. Any one who drove the car could tell that it wouldn't accelerate. Now the ESC off light then stays on constantly. No acceleration. Will not allow 4 wheel access to operate. Transmission shifts from 1st to 5th too rapidly not allowing the acceleration. I'm obviously not the only one with this problem that the service tech's can't seem to figure out.

- Holt, MO, USA

problem #15

Jul 262013

Sorento 6-cyl

  • 53,460 miles


Backed out of driveway, check engine & ESC off light came on, wouldn't accelerate over 20mph. Brought back home and parked. Few hours later took granddaughter to dentist and only check engine light illuminated. Didn't go off until took to auto zone on asheville hwy, knoxville, tn. After placing on diagnostic machine and giving a print out of probable causes, check engine light went off. Took to dealership on 7/29 and wouldn't except diagnosis since they didn't perform. Was showing electrical and valve problems. Stated unable to repair due to lights not being on when car was at the Kia dealership. Stated replaced the problem with recall. However, now stating motor seals need replaced which is covered under warranty. Unsure if other issue has been resolved due to no issues since Friday.

- Knoxville, TN, USA

problem #14

Jul 202013


  • 34,000 miles
Driving on a surface street with a 40 mph speed limit. Car suddenly lost power and could not get speed above 20 mph. We were lucky that there wasn't much traffic about as this could definitely have caused an accident. When this happened both the ESC off light and the check engine light came on. We had to leave our car in Nevada and get a rental car to get home to Arizona, we have no idea when we will get our car fixed and back home. We were owners of a Kia rondo and the same thing happened to that vehicle too (no longer own that one). This vehicle needs to be recalled immediately and Kia needs to admit that there is something seriously wrong and that they will take responsibility for fixing it. Too many owners having exactly the same problem, we should not be ignored.

- Glendale, AZ, USA

problem #13

Jul 162013


  • 178,155 miles
I was driving on an interstate with a speed limit of 65 mph when with no warning the "check engine" and "ESC off" lights came on simultaneously. At the same time, the engine lost power, causing my vehicle to suddenly decelerate and almost causing a collision both with the car behind me and with the cars merging over from an entrance ramp. Luckily, I was able to safely maintain control of my car and put on my hazard lights to warn other drivers of my much slower speed. Even depressing the gas pedal to the floor, I was unable to accelerate above 55 mph, and my speed going up hills was significantly slower. Once I was able to safely reach a shoulder with comfortable clearance, I pulled over and stopped the car for a few minutes. I restarted the car, both lights remained on, and I similarly was unable to accelerate the car appropriately, especially from a stop. I limped along with my hazard lights for the last few miles to work where I immediately began researching this issue only to find that this is far from an isolated incident. In fact, this problem seems to be pervasive in Kia of similar model year. There are scores of Kia owners who have experienced a similar series of events. The sudden and unexpected loss of power with absolutely no warning is highly dangerous in any situation, but especially so on the interstate when speed limits are so high. I was so lucky that the drivers around me and I were able to avoid an injury-causing crash. This issue needs to be investigated swiftly and thoroughly. Again, a simple search of this very website as well as other online car forums reveals a problem so widespread that it should warrant a recall by Kia.

- Knoxville, TN, USA

problem #12

Jul 052013


  • 50,500 miles
Started car to warm up for trip to work. ESC light stayed/came on. Engine wouldn't allow speed over 55 with the gas pedal floored. Took to Kia dealer made appointment.

- Caldwell, ID, USA

problem #11

Mar 182013

Sorento 6-cyl

  • 85,696 miles
I was about to get on the highway when my 2008 Kia Sorento refused to accelerate. I had to pull over and while I was doing so I did not have my foot on the gas or brake. Instead it was braking itself. This the 3rd time this has happened. I'm ready to get a new car! Kia suck!

- Waco, TX, USA

problem #10

Mar 142013


  • 87,000 miles
I have researched and found that other 2008 Kia sorrento owners have reported to Kia, about the ESC light coming on causing lost of power in the vehicle. Kia is content to charge customer a diagnostic fee, fix part that do not need to be fixed when clearly there is a defect in the vehicle. When you mention to them the complaints filed about the problem, they indicate the have never heard anything about it instead of taking the time to look on safecar.gov, they continue to brush it off. Not sure how being on the hwy driving at 70 mph and your vehicle suddenly dropping to 20mph is a customer problem. Also not sure how when you place my car on the machine and it gives you a code to fix this life threatening problem and it happens again causing me to have to coast into the emergency lane to keep from being hit from behind with 2 children in the back seat is a customer problem sounds like a defect to me.

- Smith Station , AL, USA

problem #9

Jan 302013


  • 74,000 miles
While driving the electronic stability control "off" (ESC off) light and the check engine light came on at the same time. Upon taking it to the a mechanic, he informed me that the accelerator pedal position sensor was bad. I continued reading online, and have notice this has happened on many occasions. When this occurs the vehicle looses all power to make any necessary corrective actions which could result in a accident. It also slows the car drastically while in motion, again with the possibility of causing an accident. ## VIN failed ##

- Port Saint Lucie , FL, USA

problem #8

Aug 262012


  • 53,455 miles
The contact owns a 2008 Kia Sorento. While driving approximately 5 mph the RPM readings increased and the vehicle independently accelerated to 20 mph. The contact applied the brake pedal but the brakes were hesitant to respond. The contact also used the emergency brake in order to stop the vehicle. The failure recurred twice. The vehicle was towed to the dealer for diagnostic. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 53,455.

- Surprise, AZ, USA

problem #7

Jun 142012


  • 50,000 miles
The contact owns a 2008 Kia Sorento. The contact stated that while driving 65 mph, the vehicle failed to accelerate. The vehicle was towed to the dealer who diagnose that the acceleration sensor needed to be replaced. The failure recurred. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure who did not offer any assistance since the vehicle was no longer under warranty. The failure mileage was 50,000 and the current mileage was 76,000.

- Manning , SC, USA

problem #6

Jul 052012


  • 27,000 miles
The contact owns a 2008 Kia Sorento. The contact stated that while driving into a parking space, the vehicle surged forward and crashed into a tree. There was one reported injury. The vehicle was towed away from the location. The manufacturer was not contacted. The failure and current mileages were 27,000.

- Midland , GA, USA

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