2011 Kia Sorento drivetrain NHTSA complaints: Power Train

NHTSA — Power Train Problems

2011 Kia Sorento (Page 5 of 7)

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CarComplaints.com Notes: Kia really changed the design of the Sorento in the 2011 model year. Instead of a truck-like body-on-frame more capable of offroad adventures, the newest Sorento is a unibody construction and is much more crossover than sport utility. The changes brought a whole slew of problems, including a frustrating problem where the door that won’t open. Is it too late to go back?


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
7 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
6 / 0
Average Mileage:
37,880 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.

2011 Kia Sorento drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2011 Kia Sorento Owner Comments (Page 5 of 7)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #45

Aug 042012

Sorento 4-cyl

  • 17,000 miles


I had the same incident happen twice in the last week. I came to a complete stop at a stop sign while my car was in drive. I tried accelerating several times to proceed through the intersection and my car would not move but the engine would rev up. I had to put my car into park and then put it into drive again in order to have the car function so that I could proceed through the intersection. I am terribly nervous I will be rear ended if this happens again. I recently had a brake switch replaced because I was unable to get my car into park. I had to put the car into neutral while engaging the emergency brake in order to turn off the engine but I was unable to remove my keys from the ignition. I don't know if these 2 problems are related to one another.

- Minnetonka, MN, USA

problem #44

May 012012

Sorento 4-cyl

  • 23,000 miles
Stability control and downhill assist lights illuminate while driving. Then when stopped, car will not go past neutral when trying to shift into park. Also, when driving, the brake lights do not work immediately when pedal is depressed. Car will not shift out of park after started and stability control and downhill assist lights are illuminated. Located switch at the upper part of the brake pedal and while car was in neutral, with parking brake on, was able to bump the switch box and then shift car into park.

- Sugar Hill, GA, USA

problem #43

Jul 012011

Sorento 4-cyl

  • 5,000 miles
The date above is the first date there was a indication of a problem. The actual speed of travel has varied. The issue is random and has affected most systems at one time or the other. It has normally been a headache more than safety always going away after shutting the car down and restarting. To me it became a safety issue when about two months ago I heard a loud bang like I hit something and then my rpms increased and the transmission would not shift out of the lower gears. I pulled into a safe parking area, shut the car down and called the dealer. After restarting the car the problem went away, just as it has every time no matter what system has been affected. The issues have ranged from a cruise control refusing to activate, the cruise control having erratic behavior (often kicking in the passing gear when not required), total electronic panel shutdown (including radio), to doors locking on their own when open, to headlights not being turned off when they should have been after 2-30 seconds. The transmission issue has been the most serious. The car should have already been serviced under a similar recall. I have noted similar complaints including a similar transmission compliant on Kia forums. Kia itself refused to give the go ahead for a computer reset/upgrade. My dealer did this on his own for me after I made it clear this has gone too far. A personal conversation with Kia was negative and was nothing short of talking in circles. I understand the issue of trying to traced random problems, but not the failure to start an investigation into, for instance, possible computer shielding issues making outside interference a possibility. It remains to be seen if the computer update works, but it is a issue when a transmission shuts totally or partly down. The dealer has never been able to verify my complaints.

- Grandview, MO, USA

problem #42

Jul 252012

Sorento 4-cyl

  • 34,000 miles


When pulling into a parking space when I went to lunch today the ESC and dbc lights came on and I could not get the car out of drive or neutral. I tried to put it in reverse or park and it would not move into that position. This has happened to me at least 10 times. Today, it took over 20 minutes until it would move into park. This is a real problem. The same thing happened to me last night. I'm getting really aggravated because I don't know when I'm going to be stuck again. Kia needs to recall these vehicles and get this fixed or give us a new vehicle to drive without these problems.

- Trenton, IL, USA

problem #41

Jul 212012

Sorento 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 21,750 miles
Automatic, front wheel drive this happened to me 3 times in 1 day. -pulled into a parking space, noticed the ESC and dbc lights illuminated and vehicle would not go past neutral to get into park. After a minute or so of trying to get it to park (while pressing on the brake pedal all along) it finally released and went to park. -the car sat for 2 and a half hours. -on my way home I pulled into a gas station, turned the vehicle off and pumped gas. Went to leave and the car would not go out of park, the ESC and dbc lights once again illuminated. Finally after about a minute or so, while pushing the brake pedal, it released and went into drive. -the third time that same day, I got home about 5 minutes later, pulled into the driveway and again the ESC and dbc lights were on and the car would not go past neutral to park. Once again, after a minute or so while pushing the brake pedal the whole time, it finally released again after a minute or so. I have yet to drive my car again, and am actually afraid to drive it at this point, not knowing what else is going to happened. I am taking it to the dealership tomorrow to get it checked out. I've seen a lot of others complaining about this same issue and it needs to be recalled and fixed if this many people are having this same problem.

- Apopka, FL, USA

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problem #40

Jul 052012


  • 15,000 miles
ESC and cbc lights came on couldn't shift into park.

- Aberdeen, OH, USA

problem #39

Jun 152012

Sorento 4-cyl

  • miles


The same thing is happening to my Sorento that is listed in OD10459049. Vehicle would not go into park from the drive position. The dbc and ESC dash lights were also illuminated. This has happend 3 times in 2 weeks.

- Douglasville, GA, USA

problem #38

Jun 132012


  • 25,500 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Kia Sorento. The contact stated that while driving 20 mph, the vehicle started to jerk and lunge forward. The contact mentioned that the vehicle shifted from drive to neutral independently. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure who did not offer any assistance. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure and current mileage was 25,500.

- Salisbury, NC, USA

problem #37

May 192012


  • Automatic transmission
  • 24,785 miles
Automatic transmission, went to shift from drive to reverse and would no go into reverse or park. Has done this several times in last two days. The ESC and dbc lights were on and should not have been on. I went on a Kia forum and there are many complaints for the same thing with cars that have even less mileage than mine.

- Bedford, VA, USA

problem #36

Apr 302012

Sorento 6-cyl

  • 22,500 miles
My wife was driving our 2011 Kia Sorento Feb. 2012 (17,450 miles) when it went "clunk" and lost power; the engine ran as normal but no/little power from transmission. She was on a dangerous highway and damaged the car trying to back up to a safer spot. Sorento was towed, dealer kept it for three days and said they'd fixed the problem, but Kia said the body damage was our problem. Today, April 30, I was driving when it went "clunk" - (approx 21,500 miles at 47 mph) engine ran but no/little power from transmission; I pulled over, shut the ignition off and restarted after a minute or so - I am home and the car is going to the dealer. This car scares me - if this happens in other circumstances I see the real possibility of a serious accident. How do I report this problem? other than trading it (and giving the danger to someone else), what are my options? this is our second dangerous incident... I don't believe anyone at Kia really cares.

- Kalama, WA, USA

problem #35

Apr 092012


  • 18,000 miles


The contact owns a 2011 Kia Sorento. While stopped with the brake pedal depressed, the contact attempted to place the gear shifter from drive to park but the shifter became stuck in neutral. The contact shut the vehicle off and restarted it approximately three times before being able to shift into park. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer for diagnostics or repairs. The approximate failure mileage was 18,000.

- Elgin, SC, USA

problem #34

Jun 152011

Sorento 4-cyl

  • 1,200 miles
My 2011 Kia Sorento downshifts while at a high rate of speed. It also gets stuck and while the rpms are racing, it will not shift up. The bluetooth does not work properly and am only able to make a call 30% of the time. Backup cameras and sensors are intermittent. Window will not work. Back drivers side door fell off hinges while I was driving with my child in the backseat. My passenger side seat overheated and would not turn off. Causing my car to fill with smoke on the expressway. Many issues with this lemon! shifter will not go from drive into park leaving me stranded in my car. Vehicle has no power....poor engine. Paint and chrome of handles are coming off. Pulls to the left and ESC light comes on all the time.

- Burlington, KY, USA

problem #33

Feb 102011


  • 10 miles
1st problem: I bought the car, drove it off the lot, dealership did not get it inspected so I had to take it at 10 miles to get an inspection sticker on it! 2nd problem: Immediately after buying the car, I noticed all the windows and doors rattled. Took it to Kia in kingwood 5 times and they could never hear the sound and/or fixed other things on the car that did not need to be fixed. Problem still exists. 3rd problem: Engine light kept coming on, 3 visits later, I needed a new transmission, at 13,000 miles..something wrong with sensor that measures fluids?? 4th problem: Taking back at 14,500 miles on Monday(3/18/12) to get doors checked out now electronics are messed up and loud noise everytime I lock or roll down windows. Also, cant get key to turn in ignition alot!! what a piece of crap!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

- New Caney, TX, USA

problem #32

Mar 062012

Sorento 4-cyl

  • miles
Sometime in Oct. 31, 2011, my Kia Sorento 2011 failed to start up. It took me to dial my cell and call Kia roadside assistance to deal with this problem. And now, March 6, 2012, another problem, worse than the first, occurred. It was Tuesday morning, while I'm excited to report to work early for a scheduled post conference with the asst. Principal, one of my evaluators, I just can't work and get the post conference done due to the failure of my Kia Sorento 2011 to move via D shift. I went outside to see what happen but I don't see any outside trouble until another driver asked me what's wrong and heard something underneath from my Kia Sorento 2011 then he said --- transmission. I called Kia roadside assistance and waited for almost three hours until we get there at orr Kia-Mitsubishi dealer shreveport (same dealer where I got my Kia Sorento 2011). I was told to rent a car for 2 - 3 days since they can't provide me a dealer's temporary car to keep me going and do what I'm supposed to do. After 2 days, I called and was told that indeed transmission is the problem.

- Shreveport, LA, USA

problem #31

Jan 012012


  • 17,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Kia Sorento. The contact stated that the vehicle hesitated to accelerate from stops. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer and they were unable to diagnose the failure. The vehicle was not repaired and the failure continued. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 17,000.

- Benton, IL, USA

problem #30

Feb 232011

Sorento 4-cyl

  • 11,815 miles
02/23/2011 vehicle would not start; dealer replaced brake switch. 10/14/2011 vehicle would not start; dealer replaced battery. 11/14/2011 vehicle would not start; dealer replaced transmission shifter. 01/05/2012 vehicle would not start; dealer could not find problem, started after battery jump. 01/29/2012 vehicle would not start; called for tow; vehicle started after 40 minutes of numerous attempts. 02/07/2012 vehicle would not start; vehicle started after 30 minutes of numerous attempts. 02/09/2012 vehicle would not start; towed to dealer. Something is obviously wrong with these push-button starters! 5 tows within one year plus other non-start times?! Kia needs to recognize they have a problem!

- Orlando, FL, USA

problem #29

Feb 032012

Sorento 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 12,000 miles
While on vacation in South Florida, I was traveling on a city street at approximately 45 mph in my 2011 Kia Sorento sx (6 cyl, auto trans), when the engine suddenly began racing (but not accelerating), and I felt a heavy thump in the rear end of the vehicle, as if it had been struck by another vehicle. There were no other vehicles near me, and no warning lights came on. When I pulled over to check the vehicle, there was no visible damage. The vehicle was purchased in October, 2010 and this was the first time I had the problem in 12,000 miles of use. I telephoned my Kia dealer in Pennsylvania and was told that if no warning lights came on they would not be able to diagnose the problem unless it were duplicated during a test drive. They did tell me to take the car to a Kia service department if it happened again.

- Warminster, PA, USA

problem #28

Jan 092012


  • 10,900 miles
I was driving to work on Monday Jan. 9th going approximately 60 mph, when all of a sudden the car jerked violently. Then the car lost power I had to pull over it would not drive, I was pushing the accelerator but it would not respond. Also the tach quit working, check engine light came on. I called my husband who called and scheduled service with our local Kia dealership. On my way home it done the same exact thing I had to pull over again, luckily both times there was not a car following too closely. My husband drove the car to the dealership and they kept it for 4 days and said they could not duplicate the problem. We picked it up on Sunday thinking everything was fine, we made it home and went to the store. On the way back coming across the pomeroy mason bridge it jerked again very hard and we had to come to a stop in traffic! we called to schedule another appointment for Thursday Jan. 19. on my way to work today Jan. 16 it done the same exact thing! I don't feel safe driving this with my 2 kids in the back seat.

- Middleport , OH, USA

problem #27

Jan 132012

Sorento 4-cyl

  • 10,325 miles
I was driving on I-95 at aprox. 65 mph and felt a severe jolt. This could have caused an inexperienced driver like either of my kids to loose control. I initially thought someone had hit the rear of my car. There didn't seem to be any other vehicles close enough to have hit me, so I pulled over onto the shoulder to see if I had hit something. Everything looked fine so I proceeded to get back onto the highway. I noticed the car was sluggish and then noticed it was not shifting gears. As I continued to accelerate the engine RPM continued to climb so I had to drive below 45mph.when the shifter was moved to the manual side it was in 4th gear. I pulled over onto the shoulder again and shifted into neutral and drive a few times but it would always go back to 4th gear when in drive. I had to drive the rest of the way, about 20 miles at a slower speed with the flashers on. This morning I checked out the car and it was operating normally. I will bring the vehicle to Kia, but will not let other family members drive the car unless I am certain it is corrected. I now see there are a lot of the same complaints on edmonds. Com. Is there a recall for this? I could not find one on your web-site.

- Hawthorne, NY, USA

problem #26

Dec 162011

Sorento 4-cyl

  • 14,888 miles
I was driving about 40 mph, when the vehicle appeared to miss/skip gears! it felt as if the vehicle was going to stop altogether, and I definitely lost acceleration ability. Next the malfunction indicator light came on and it has not gone off. I am going to take the vehicle in to the dealer on 12/17/2011 to see what may be causing a problem like this.

- Indianapolis, IN, USA

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