2011 Kia Sorento drivetrain NHTSA complaints: Power Train

NHTSA — Power Train Problems

2011 Kia Sorento (Page 6 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 6 of 7)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #25

Dec 082011


  • 14,980 miles


The contact owns a 2011 Kia Sorento. The contact stated that after driving 2 mph over a ditch, the vehicle failed to accelerate properly. The contact also stated prior to the failure the transmission was replaced by the dealer. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer to address the current failure. The manufacturer was not contacted and the vehicle was not repaired. The failure and the current mileages were 14,980.

- Van Nuys, CA, USA

problem #24

Aug 162007


  • Automatic transmission
  • 12,000 miles
My 2011 Kia Sorento 2.4 L w/ auto tranny fwd was fixed on recall almost two months ago.after driving 26 days I had bad accident. From my house to work I stopped at mcdonald rest. To buy breakfast. I got on, started my vehicle, step on my brakes to engage in reverse, the vehicle start shaking, reversed, span 360 degrees, hit the railings and ramp of the restaurant and drive forward in the middle of the parking lot. It stop because the two control arm/axles were damaged. I was shaken and it was hard to remember what really happened what I explained was the same as what the witness saw while lining up on the drive thru to order her breakfast. The witness came over and helped me. The damaged was so expensive that I have to fix the damage thru my insurance. I had the vehicle fixed by reliable shop not by Kia dealership in order for me to verify if the accident was the cause of the recall repair. I almost forgot that on the early morning before the accident the vehicle reversed from my garage @ unreasonable speed that I have to control by applying the brakes. The vehicle is drivable and I am still waiting for some parts from Kia. Do I have to notify Kia what happened or wait until the problem happen again. What is your advise. As of now I am driving the vehicle and I have phobia everytime I back up, at least I am aware what happened. Thank you

- Edmonton, WA, USA

problem #23

Sep 012011


  • 19,000 miles
The transmission will not shift from drive to reverse/park at intermittent times. The vehicle must be put into neutral, turned off, and restarted in order to shift into park/reverse. This has occurred on three separate occasions. The vehicle was taken to the nearest Kia dealer. The service team stated that they could not recreate the problem and did nothing to correct the error.

- El Paso, TX, USA

problem #22

Oct 222011

Sorento 4-cyl

  • 3,108 miles


I was driving on the X-way at about 65mph and felt a huge jolt and heard a loud bang and the same time and the vehicle seemed to lose control a bit. I worked the shift gear to try to regain control and got off the X-way, and turned around to see what I had hit or run over. Nothing was in the road. I made it home and made a service appointment at the nearest Kia dealership. I barely drove for 3 days until the appointment on Tuesday, 10/25/11. During that time we found information about the faulty transmission recall on the NHTSA site (Kia safety recall #SC089) that is related to the 2wd automatic Sorento. However, the symptoms described are exactly the same as I experienced on my AWD vehicle. Kia drove it for about 5 minutes and when the same problem didn't present for them, they told me nothing was wrong and to take it home. The Kia service team didn't seem to be aware of the NHTSA recall. I have contacted Kia by phone and also by E-mail in an attempt to get the defective parts replaced. I am waiting on a response. I don't have a back-up car, and I need to drive every day to keep my job, etc. Please expand the NHTSA action number PE11010 - Kia safety recall # SC089 to include the 2011 AWD Kia Sorento models and help me get this vehicle repaired while it is still under warranty and before a crash takes my life or that of someone else. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6)

- Akron, OH, USA

problem #21

Oct 212011


  • 4,000 miles
Brand new Kia Sorento (4,000 miles) needs to have a completely new transmission after the transmission went out driving down the highway.

- Lexington, KY, USA

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problem #20

Oct 152011


  • 17,000 miles
Transmission issues. Driving at 30mph when I notice suddenly the traction control and downhill assistance lights came on the dashboard. I tried to turn it off but I couldn't, it just would go away. At the next stop sign I put the car on park when it for my surprise it got stuck, would not go fw or reverse. I had to turn the car on and off a few times when I was finally able to get it to work. The transmission got stuck a few times before and when I inquired the dealership they ran some tests and said everything is fine. After doing some research I found out this is common issue on 2011 Kia Sorento. Several customers had the transmission replaced once, twice and even 3/4 times and the same thing happen over and over. It seems to me Kia does not care, it is a safety hazard and a rip off for a $25K car with less than 17K miles.

- Spring, TX, USA

problem #19

Oct 092011

Sorento 4-cyl

  • 28,000 miles


I was accelerating from a stoplight, and the transmission did not engage, and vehicle seized to accelerate. There was a loud gear grinding noise when gear was engaged, both forward and reverse. Car started fine afterward, but same gear grinding occurred when placed in gear, with no vehicle motion.

- St Paul, MN, USA

problem #18

Oct 012011


  • 13,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Kia Sorento. The contact stated that two children were able to shift the vehicle into neutral when it was parked and shut off. As a result, the vehicle rolled forward until crashing into bushes. Both children suffered minor injuries. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer and the contact was informed that the vehicle operated to its specifications. The contact was also informed that all vehicles made by this manufacturer could be shifted out of park in the same manner. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 13,000. The VIN was unavailable.

- Fairfield, OH, USA

problem #17

Sep 192011

Sorento 4-cyl

  • 19,884 miles
Placing the car in reverse resulted in a loud "clunk" felt in the transmission area. However, the vehicle drove normally for a short period of time (about 4 minutes). After entering a highway and beginning to accelerate to merge with traffic, there was a much larger "clunk" form the transmission area, followed by a metallic whining/whirring noise form the same area, and loss of speed. The engine remained running, but the vehicle would not accelerate. I pulled the car off the main road, and had a difficult time getting the car into the "park" gear so I could turn the vehicle off. Kia roadside assistance came and towed the vehicle to a Kia dealership for replacement of the transmission.

- Newhall, CA, USA

problem #16

May 022011

Sorento 6-cyl

  • 1,000 miles
Ever since bought new (Sorento sx 6cyl.) in April 2011, there has been a intermittant issue with no engine response from stop for 2-3 seconds. RPM's stay at idle speed, then it suddenly takes hold and runs fine. Only happens from stop, and only about once or twice every 2-3 days. Dealer cannot duplicate problem, no codes. Dangerous situation when pulling out into traffic from a stop. I cannot duplicate it under any driving circumstances. Also, if I apply brake during this "hesitation" there is no engine acceleration while I hold the brake. I feel sure it is in the "fly by wire" system, but dealer has no clue. I have to "feather" the accelerator from stop whenever I am concerned about oncoming traffic.

- Lisle, IL, USA

problem #15

Nov 012010


  • 100 miles


Delay in acceleration after applying brakes. This happens from a dead start and also while moving. Especially bad when trying to back up a grade. (ex.) while backing up a grade such as a driveway to the garage I back up and then hit my brake to stop. I then realize I need to back up a little farther. I take my foot off of the brake and push the accelerator. Instead of going backwards I drift forward. In my mind I am thinking I don't have the accelerator pushed down so I push harder and about that time the accelerator kicks in and I go flying backwards toward the garage door. (ex.2) I am trying to back a boat into the river. I back up and hold my foot on the brake. I need to pull back out of the water some so I quickly release my foot from the brake and push the accelerator. Now instead of going forward there is a delay in acceleration and I drift further into the river. (someone is going to have a very bad accident) multiply this occurrence at every stop sign. Especially where there is a grade involved. In my opinion I believe this is a design in the computer for what ever reason and it is a very dangerous one.

- New Martinsville, WV, USA

problem #14

May 232011

Sorento 4-cyl

  • 200 miles
Vehicle suddenly down shifts usually at approx. 65 mph. Tires squeal sending me lurching forward. Whiplash! RPM shoots up to 6000 and stays there until I exit the highway and slow down below 40mph. This has happened 5 times in the 4 months I've owned the vehicle. Once I was pulling into traffic and the car would not move! I had rush hour traffic coming at me from both directions. Dealer keeps saying they can't replicate the problem. My family is going to be very wealthy when I die in this death trap.

- Virginia Beach, VA, USA

problem #13

Jun 212011


  • 3,500 miles
Automatic transmission slips on show upshifts, intermittently. Began @ 3500 miles. Check engine light came on. Code initially read as "transmission temp light fluid". dealer reset code, could not duplicate problem. Check engine light recurred with same code for "transmission fluid temperature sensor". continued intermittent problems with sluggish upstarts at low speeds and hard shifts into gear. Intermittent problems with check engine light displaying for 24 hours and then disappearing without storing code. Dealer replacing transmission @ 4800 miles

- Southport, IN, USA

problem #12

Jul 262011


  • 23,000 miles
While driving on highway approximately 75 mph, car suddenly jolted like I hit something. It jerked very hard and decelarated. The rpms also went up much higher like it shifted to a lower gear. Pulled onto shoulder of road and turned car off. Same thing happened 2 days prior while cruise control was set at 71 mph. First time, was able to restart car and continue the 20 mile drive to work. Today, car would not restart and had to have towed. When arrived at dealership, car started without issues. Service manager said they hooked up the diagnostic computer and there were no problems with car. The technician drove the car about 30 miles and was unable to replicate problem.

- Bowling Green, OH, USA

problem #11

Jun 042011


  • 645 miles
While coming to a stop, the vehicle down-shifted hard and the engine started to sputter like it was going to cut off. Took to dealer and they found P0748- pressure control solenoid "a" electrical fault. They performed a reprogram of tsm per tsb# tra038. Drove off lot and it shifted hard three times on way home. Dealer said it would take 100 miles for the computer to re-learn my driving for best fuel mileage. Drove to work (shifted hard 5 times) and drove to run errands. While on errands the vehicle shifted down hard and engine sputtered while slowing down in traffic. Then, when releasing the brake and pressing the accelerator, the vehicle RPM/ tach went up but the vehicle wouldn't go. After stepping back on the brake and waiting 2-3 seconds I tried to move again and it did. I took the car back to dealer directly and while stopping to turn into dealer it shifted hard, engine sputtered and it again would not move ( only engine RPM's turned up). It did finally move and I was able to pull into the parking lot. Now the manufacturer is replacing the transmission because to their admission they do not know what is wrong with the vehicle. Nearly stranded on a five lane 35 mph road could be physically dangerous but a highway could be fatal. An evasive maneuver with this vehicle, requiring stopping and starting quickly is not an option if you can't drive during normal conditions stopping and starting.

- Winston Salem, NC, USA

problem #10

May 222011

Sorento 4-cyl

  • 11,307 miles
Bought my Kia approximately 1 year ago on 05/31/2010 it is a 2011 4cyl. While driving (speed doesn't matter) (this has happened several times)the vehicle will loose power and all gauges will go unfunctional, pushing on the accelerator will not provide response, vehicle will not drive but engine is running. Took to dealership on 05/12/2011 and dealership said they fixed it. Had vehicle home for less than 1 week when we were driving down the highway at approximately 75 (on 05/22/2011) and vehicle again lost power and all controls. Had to fight vehicle with no power and controls and rolled to a stop.....engine was still running but no controls or power working....had my 3 kids and my wife....very scary....vehicle has a problem that needs to be seriously addressed....Kia doesn't know what they are doing.

- Mission, TX, USA

problem #9

Apr 222011


  • 26,286 miles
Driving approx 35 mph, there was a loud pop and noise then the car started grinding and transmission locked up. No gears, car locked up and came to a halt. Could not go backward or forward when put into gear, just had a loud grinding sound. Sound was so loud I thought the transmission had fallen out. Before this happened I noticed that when the car had been turned off for a while then started and put into reverse there was a loud clunking sound, almost as if you had tried to put the car into gear without putting your foot on the brake first and it would leap into gear.

- Kansas City, MO, USA

problem #8

Feb 212011


  • 27,000 miles
While traveling down the road the axle and transmission suddenly went out. This caused vehicle to come to a sudden abrupt stop. This could have caused a fatal accident if traveling at a higher rate of speed or on an interstate. When the problem occurred, you had no power to the vehicle and it could not even coast to the side of the road. Dealer stated it was due to a manufacturers defect caused by a bolt from the axle hitting the transmission and said they forwarded photos to Kia corporate. I contacted Kia corporate and asked for a written explanation and assurance that this particular problem would not happen to us again and they declined to provide anything in writing. Our problem was fixed, at least for now, but I want to know that my family or someone else's does not have this problem with a tractor trailer behind them at 70 mph on an interstate.

- Greenwood, SC, USA

problem #7

Feb 192011


  • 20,000 miles
I have a 2011 Kia Sorento purchased new. On Saturday, February 19, 2011 with 20,000 miles on the vehicle, the car completely shut down. The dealership still has the vehicle and is replacing the entire transmission. I am concerned as this is a new vehicle and they cannot give me the actual reason why a transmission in a new vehicle could fail. I had with me my 3 year old child and am concerned regarding the overall safety of this vehicle.

- Folly Beach, SC, USA

problem #6

Feb 012011


  • miles
2011 Kia Sorento. Consumer writes regarding problems with vehicle within the first 2 months of purchase the consumer stated the stalled while driving on the highway. It would down shift unexpectedly and then jerk and jolt. There were times when the consumer applied the accelerator and the vehicle would not respond for a short period before the vehicle revved up and accelerated. The vehicle also pulled to the right and there was a bad grinding/rubbing sound coming from the front drivers side of the vehicle, along with spongy brakes which was a problem from the start. The consumer stated when she started the vehicle, there was a knocking noise coming from the engine. The interior lights went out, the drivers side window switch was faulty and the back-up camera stopped working.

- Washington, DC, USA

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