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:
1 / 3
Injuries / Deaths:
4 / 0
Average Mileage:
47,192 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 electrical problems

electrical problem

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2011 Kia Sorento Owner Comments (Page 2 of 5)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #67

Nov 302012


  • 63,800 miles


The contact owns a 2011 Kia sorrento. The contact stated that when the interior light switch was in the auto position, the interior lighting would not turn off. The failure recurred intermittently. The vehicle was taken to a dealer where it was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 63,800.

- Bradenton, FL, USA

problem #66

Oct 082015


  • 72,316 miles
The ABS, ESC, and dbc lights stay on when I start car and drive it at all speeds.

- Strawberry Plains, TN, USA

problem #65

May 012015


  • 98,000 miles
2011 Kia Sorento airbag light came on out the blue. Took to dealership was advised either defective passanger airbag or the sensor for passenger seat. Would have to pay $$$ to put on diagnostic. Car jerks forward when switching gears. Also, car just accelerated by itself.. put the car in park and it jerks forward. Its jerks so hard I could get the car doesn't want to stop.scarriest thing ever. I am really concerned how sometimes I don't even have to press the brake to put in gear. Last, went to change headlight, rightside extremely jot and could hear boiling like something cooking.

- Union City, GA, USA

problem #64

Oct 162015


  • 101,000 miles


Heated seat element on drivers side started on fire. Caused driver to be burnt. Heated seat had been turned on for about 2 minutes. Car was in motion on city street.

- Onalaska, WI, USA

problem #63

Oct 162015


  • 62,000 miles
Recently my 2011 Kia Sorento ex will not shut down. When I press the engine start/stop button the engine will shut off but the dashboard, navigation touchscreen & lights all remain on. It can sometimes take up to 3 minutes of pushing the button, turning the car back on and trying to turn it back off before it will actually shut all the electrical components down.

- Pittsburgh, PA, USA

problem #62

Jan 312015


  • 64,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Kia Sorento. While driving approximately 20 mph, the engine stalled and the check engine warning indicator illuminated. The engine was able to restart. The vehicle was taken to a dealer where it was diagnosed that the cpu needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 64,000. The VIN was unavailable.

- Weeki Wachee, FL, USA

problem #61

Aug 182015


  • 49,800 miles


The contact owns a 2011 Kia Sorento. While driving at any speed, the air bag warning light illuminated. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where it was diagnosed that the clock spring failed and caused the air bag warning light to remain illuminated. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 49,800.

- Peoria, AZ, USA

problem #60

Jul 282015


  • 65,750 miles
While driving at night the headlights will go off then come back on after being off for approx 2 seconds. It also occurs sometimes when changing lanes and using the turn signals. I feel that it may be a defect in the turn signal headlight assembly switch on the steering column.

- Orange, TX, USA

problem #59

Nov 192014


  • 93,000 miles
The only way you can open any of the doors is from the inside. First it was drivers side. A couple of weeks later it was the back drivers passenger door. Now it's the front passenger's door. Makes no sense I have one door to get inside my car. Please help.

- Delcambre, LA, USA

problem #58

May 272015


  • 64,050 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Kia Sorento. The contact stated that the rear driver side door failed to open. The failure recurred several times. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where it was diagnosed that the door actuator needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 64,050.

- Ladera Ranch, CA, USA

problem #57

Sep 172014


  • 61,000 miles


The interior dome light quit working took to a mechanic, he looked into the wiring harness and said that all the wires had melted together. This problem could affect all the electrical parts of the truck. Also of note is that the truck indicator light showing that the truck is open, even when its not. So far no fire has started. Cost to fix per the mechanic is over $1000, or more.

- Lochbuie, CO, USA

problem #56

Apr 162015

Sorento 6-cyl

  • 41,569 miles
On 04/16/15 pulled into parking space. Car would not go into park or reverse. Parking brake would not engage. Warning lights on didn't make sense., accessories would not turn off. Car rolled w/O hard depress to brake. Brake wouldn't fully engage (wouldn't plunge all the way). Put into neutral, could not fully shut off. Car warning signal blasting. Could not secure car, lock car or or turn car off. Could only drive forward slowly with drag when able to get out of parking spot. Drove forward to get out of paking lot before trapped in there again and reverse rolling occurred. Went to side of road for towing. Huge drag while driving slow 5mph aprox. Ignition finally turned off after putting into neutral again. Warning sound finally went away but accessories still were on. Parking brake would now engage. Car not drivable or fully functioning. Car towed to dealership..diagnosed- failure of recall part put in at time of recall to fix had failed. Resolution: Replaced defective recall fix part with same recall part that just failed, no accident resulted because of this failure but I could not properly, drive, secure, car. Left stranded with medically fragile child with limited cellular reception. Concern: Driving unsafe car with known failure part that could lead to serious accident do to symptoms of failure posted by Kia. Kia resolution was to put same part in that is know to fail and was part of a fix for voluntary recall due to know serious results of part failure. I am driving a car that is on it's third recall which is proven to have special needs medically fragile son would not have had immediate medical emergeny services if failure happened where there was no signal. Lack of brake lights could result in collision resulting in death or serious injury. Summary, driving car with know safey issues by Kia with no resolution.

- Duvall, WA, USA

problem #55

Jan 012013

Sorento 4-cyl

  • 80,000 miles
Vehicle has had repeated head light issues since purchase. Last visit to the dealer they are recommending changing out headlight assembly at an excessive cost. In researching this issue it seems that many consumers are having the same issue and needs to be recalled to fix.

- Phoenix , AZ, USA

problem #54

Mar 022015


  • 102,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Kia Sorento. While traveling approximately 40 mph, there was a loud noise coming from the front of the vehicle. Also, the contact mentioned that smoke emitted from the engine compartment. Upon pulling the vehicle over, it was further noticed that the engine compartment was on fire. The vehicle was towed to an independent mechanic, who diagnosed that a rod fractured into the engine affecting the other components caused a fire. Also, the mechanic diagnosed that the pistons may need to be replaced but further extensive diagnosis was required to repair the vehicle. The contact was not included in NHTSA campaign number: 10V388000 (electrical system). The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 102,000.

- Taft, CA, USA

problem #53

Feb 172015

Sorento 6-cyl

  • 105,000 miles
Car began to act like it did not want to crank. Once I got to destination, radio went off first, then everything started dimming, then it shut off. Tried to jump it off, got it down the road 1/2 a mile then shut off again. Took battery out and tried to charge it but it was dead. Bought another fully charged battery, drove the car home. Tried to crank next morning, wouldn't crank again. Charged it up took it to 2 different was the alternator. According to a service bulletin #SA061, there was an issue where the battery light was illuminated causing the alternators not to charge. This was the same issue mine was doing..the battery light was showing but I did not know about the alternator. This is third battery in 3 years for this car! after looking around everywhere with no alternators in stock and no one knowing how to re-build them, the Kia dealership wanted to charge me $443 for an alternator and another $300 to put it in! not to mention I would have to probably tow it over there! that is crazy! this is not the only issue with this car! my sunroof, back-up camera, right front light, radio knob has fell off, passenger head rest has fell off, oil pan seal issues....list goes on and on! it is ridiculous! this service bulletin covered dates 07/12/10 - 09/18/10. My alternator was built in 10/04/10. Wow, ,,,it miraculously got fixed!! there was noooo way!!! the same issue is happening to mine!!! but...Kia wants me to pay for it!!! it is insane!!! I have had nothing but trouble out of this vehicle from day 1.

- Smiths Station, AL, USA

problem #52

Nov 152014


  • 89,000 miles
This is the most recent and serious electric issue; I do not know the exact dates of earlier issues. I believe all these electric issues are related. Issues began in 2010 after the purchase of the car. Was taken to the dealer for electrical issue and they repaired lose cluster array. Other electric issues from 2011-2013: When turning left the downhill brake control indicator would light would come on and prevent the car being put into park, the headlights flicker when car is at a stop, driver side low beam headlight frequently burns out. December 2013-January 2014: All dash indicator lights malfunctioned (no warning lights/gauges, including fuel, speed, turn signals, low fuel indicator, etc.). dealer found the factory cluster array to be faulty. The dealer replaced the cluster with a new one. I am reporting the following: I was traveling 65mph and turned the cruise control off, the ABS warning, downhill brake control, electronic stability control indicator and 4WD auto lock lights all illuminated. The car was operating normally. Today, all of these lights came, stayed on, then went off. Upon driving, the electronic stability control light came on and the car downshifted as I was driving. All other of indicator lights noted came back on. I am taking my car back to the dealer tomorrow. Many other Kia owners are reporting almost identical issues. This most recent incident occurred when I was traveling at a high rate of speed and follows a serious of electrical issues I have had since I owned my car, new from the dealer. Something is wrong at the manufacturing level that needs to be addressed before someone is killed.

- Maplewood, NJ, USA

problem #51

Nov 102014


  • 67,847 miles
Went to start car with push button start and it will not start. All the lights come on in the car and the battery when tested is still functioning. The car has already had the brake light recall replacement. We tried to do the turn on that goes around that and car still does not turn on.

- Lakeville, PA, USA

problem #50

Jun 032014

Sorento 4-cyl

  • 117,000 miles
Dash indicators for traction slip, downhill assist and ABS came on and have stayed on. Braking is fine and pushing the assist and slip buttons have no change on braking. Two weeks later the high beam and turn signal dash lights will not illuminate, but the aforementioned lights are still on. The brake light switch was recalled and repaired by the dealer under warranty. I have changed the brake light switch and aforementioned lights are still on and others still not working.

- Townsend, GA, USA

problem #49

Jun 122013

Sorento 4-cyl

  • 39,700 miles
The car had problems starting and the starter, alternator and battery was fine. The dealer claims it was a switch and it was replaced. The problem kept happening on occasion (2-3 times) in the last year and last time they replaced the battery. I believe there is a bigger problem and defect.

- Tucson, AZ, USA

problem #48

Aug 182014


  • 119,000 miles
After sitting overnight or all day, when backing up then going forward the car acts like the ABS is sticking and wont move forward, pulls to the left. You have put car in park, turn it off, then turn back on for it to stop.

- Flemington, WV, USA

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