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:
3 / 2
Injuries / Deaths:
2 / 0
Average Mileage:
44,634 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 engine problems

engine problem

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2011 Kia Sorento Owner Comments (Page 2 of 3)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #31

Dec 312014


  • 54,000 miles


My son was driving on interstate I-5 near salem, or when his car suddenly stopped and would not accelerate. The car had a 50,000 mile and $1000 service 3 months prior to this incident. I did on line research and saw several instances of Kia Sorentos stopping suddenly on the highway. Kia offered $400 to compensate our inconvenience but I think the us consumer safety is worth much more. I would appreciate your investigation of this incidence. Thank you, [xxx] the Kia representative is [xxx]. information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Albany, OR, USA

problem #30

Nov 272014

Sorento 4-cyl

  • 48,084 miles
While driving on light, new snow my car had suddenly skidded slightly, no over-correcting, I simply got the car back in control when the car suddenly shot forward, steering wheel seized and started racing down the opposite side of the street into the embankment! I had pulled the car to the left and had the brakes pushed all the way down (and both feet including all my weight on them) until my car crashed completely into a tree! the tires were still spinning when the car stopped and my feet were on the brakes! it was also hard to get the car out of drive and into park --- when I was able to push the car into park I quickly took the keys out. The 2011 Kia Sorento and sudden acceleration seems to be a problem and should seriously be looked into. Yes, I was injured and thankfully a tree stopped the vehicle and no one else was hurt!

- Chardon, OH, USA

problem #29

Nov 232014

Sorento 6-cyl

  • 36,971 miles
Our Kia went up in flames last Sunday. It had been in the shop on Thursday before. Here is the article that got me thinking it was under a recall.

- Indianapolis, IN, USA

problem #28

Aug 012014

Sorento 4-cyl

  • 90,000 miles


Vehicle started by losing power on take-off. Later violent jerking/shifting over 30 mph. I have taken the vehicle to both dealer and personal mechanic. Crank and cam sensors were replaced. Issue is not resolved. The vehicle sometimes shuts off upon take-off. Sometimes it immediately starts again, other times I have to put into neutral and restart. This issue is also not resolved. Positive battery cable was removed to reset the computer. This temporarily fixed the problems for a day. When placed into "sports mode", the vehicle shifts without driver input (second gear and above). Note: Unscrupulous dealer mechanic voided engine warranty for "sludge" in engine and incorrectly removed a sensor, resulting in breakage of said sensor. Personal mechanic saw normal traces of "sludge" in engine. Vehicle is acting similar to previous recalls of the same year, make/model, but does not fall into VIN/date ranges for recall repair..

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #27

Apr 262014

Sorento 4-cyl

  • 41,300 miles
4/26/14 my Sorento cel light was flashing & vehicle running rough. After shutting off and restarting, no issues, contacted dealership took in for service 5/9/14, they said they were unable to diagnose problem as it was not doing it at that time. On 7/25/14 cel light flashing & running rough again, called dealership and took in 8/9/14, again they said they could not diagnose and no codes showing up or in history stated they have a call into Kia motors and opened a tech line case have never heard anything back from them. 9/18/14 cel light flashing and running rough, I contacted dealership that I always have used since purchase of vehicle but another dealership was close to my workplace. I refused to shut the vehicle off because when you do, it resets everything and it cannot be diagnosed. I took vehicle to dealership, left it running till they could put the obd scanner on it to code it. I received call from manager, he stated that they were able to get codes from it and that 2 coils were misfiring. They shut the vehicle off, it would not start. They left it sit an hour and it started up and they tried to code it again and nothing showed in the codes at all, not even code history. They replaced two coils, then on 9/25/14 the cel light started flashing again and running rough. I immediately contacted the dealership that just changed the coils, he didn't have much to say. Asked me where I purchase my gas from and that he couldn't do anything today because they close at 4:30 and it was after 4:00 then. When I shut the car off, it would not start. Left for work this morning and you would never know anything was wrong, ran fine. There is obviously something going on that somebody needs to figure out because I am not going to be handed a big bill for repair once my warranty expires, as this has been an ongoing issue for 5 months now.

- Northern Cambria, PA, USA

problem #26

Aug 282014


  • miles
The vehicle would not start finally it started in the drive position, have been complaining to the dealer that the vehicle shifts on its own from drive to another position. In addition all the lights remain on in the dash board. Vehicle was taken out the repair shop on 8/25/14 and this problem was rectified. The airbag light is on now since 8/25/14.

- St. Thomas, VI, USA

problem #25

Aug 052014

Sorento 6-cyl

  • 44,000 miles


After a small number of days of a minor rattling from the engine, as I pulled away at an intersection there was a bang from the engine, the engine lost all power and there was a tremendous amount of banging from the engine. Managed to crawl to a nearby gas station. The car stalled on the forecourt. Managed to restart it, only to hear the terrible banging again and see that the engine still had no power. Had it towed to the local Kia dealer the following morning. At the time of writing this, Kia are refusing to fix the car under warranty, despite it still being covered and there only being 44,000 miles on it. They are claiming the reason for the incident is a 'clogged oil filter', although they have yet to properly examine the engine and officially diagnose the fault. The symptoms of my incident are suspiciously similar to other issues dating back to 2005 where the bolt pin on the crankshaft pulley shears.

- Seneca, SC, USA

problem #24

Jun 132012


  • 18,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Kia Sorento. The contact stated that the vehicle failed to start after activating the push-to-start button. The contact also stated that while driving 35 mph, the vehicle stalled without warning. The dealer replaced the key fob, engine module, wiring harness and brake light switch however, the failure recurred. The manufacturer was notified and the vehicle was not repaired. The VIN was unavailable. The failure mileage was 18,000.

- Dunnellon, FL, USA

problem #23

Feb 202014

Sorento 6-cyl

  • 56,243 miles
1) the vehicle has stalled out six (6) times during my ownership. This has occurred after stopping. I was able to restart the vehicle four of the six times by stopping, putting the vehicle in park, and pressing the "start" ignition button. Two of the six times the gear was locked into drive and neutral only. The vehicle would also not shut off. Both times 911 was called for California highway patrol assistance was contacted as I was stranded on the freeway. This occurred on 2/20/14 and 6/03/14. On 5/17/14 the vehicle was brought into the Kia car pros carson facility for the 60,000 mile maintenance and passed with no issues. 2) the backup camera flutters intermittently (about 10-15 times a month) mostly in the morning on start up and sometimes at night. Kia of cerritos had replaced the navigation/radio module 3 times, but official records show it was replaced only twice. This has not rectified the issue as it still persists. 3) the radio inconsistently (about 2-5 times a month) does not start for about 20 seconds after starting the vehicle up. I am not confident that the issues are resolved and I fear for the safety of myself and all who ride in the vehicle. The Kia car pros carson facility replaced the drive assist part and cleaned the electrical contacts for the first incident in Feb 2014. I was told this would rectify the issue. On 6/03/14, I was told a software update to the ECU (electrical control unit) was performed, but they do not guarantee that the problem has been resolved. I want the facility to retain my vehicle and perform a full diagnostic on the vehicle until they can guarantee that it will not stall and lock up on me again. Corporate Kia said the vehicle can be released and the facility will not investigate any further. I do not believe Kia is taking this matter seriously.

- Torrance, CA, USA

problem #22

Mar 172014


  • 59,000 miles
Occasionally and more than once, the remote key fob will not open the door and when it does will not start the car. Sometimes you have to insert the key into the fob holder in the console for the vehicle to start. It has happened now more than 5 times to my family and I.

- Warner Robins, GA, USA

problem #21

Mar 302014


  • 84,000 miles


When the Sorento reaches a speed above 60 it hesitates before abruptly jumping into the next gear, causing the entire vehicle and all passengers to jerk forward. The jumping of the gear is so forceful that it sounds as if the engine is about to fall out of the vehicle each time it's placed in gear.

- Hendersonville, TN, USA

problem #20

Jan 302014


  • 36,000 miles
When switching from park to drive a loud pop will be heard from the vehicle usually occurring (loudest) during cold moist days. In the same conditions when the vehicle is in motion the car begins to stutter and vibrate when switching gears (this is usually felt initially driving off or during hard brakes at lights). Car at one point stalled in middle of traffic. When going to dealer they said software updates should have fixed it, however the problem simply persists (though the car did not stall thus far).

- Brookhaven , PA, USA

problem #19

Feb 152014


  • 75,000 miles
Push button start not starting vehicle. Brake lights do not come on upon depress of brake pedal. Vehicle only starts after holding button 10-15 seconds.

- Washington, DC, USA

problem #18

Dec 282013

Sorento 4-cyl

  • 28,788 miles
I was driving to work on a 2 lane road with people behind me. My car made a sound like a rock rolling around in an empty water bottle then all the dashboard lights turned on and the engine died. Luckily I was able to pull over with a great deal of strength applied to the steering wheel. I called Kia immediately and they had it towed to a dealership within the hour. The dealership is now claiming I had a coolant leak which caused the car to overheat but I had no indications prior that the car was overheating. They said this is probably not covered by warranty since its a leak and it should have been discovered earlier.

- Chula Vista, CA, USA

problem #17

Jul 292011

Sorento 6-cyl

  • 3,000 miles
When coming to a stop at a light or stop sign, usually on a slight downhill slope, the vehicle engine dies completely. It usually happens after the vehicle has be driven for 10-15 minutes, parked for 10-15 minutes then driven again for ten minutes. Once it dies I am able to start it up right away. It is a push start "key" and the car dies after I apply the brakes and am very near to a complete stop. This has happened within a few months of purchase and occurs randomly, every few months. It has happened six to ten times since I purchased the car. I have brought it into the dealer at least three times and the computer comes back with no codes. They can't replicate it and do not know what to fix. Today, the dealer installed a monitor for me to use for two weeks to see if it happens and we can capture the info in real time. Kia manufacturer customer service was abominable. I am trying to get a field technician to look at it and communicate with the dealer.

- Albany, CA, USA

problem #16

Sep 112013

Sorento 6-cyl

  • 52,000 miles
Started vehicle 7am. Shifted from P to R. engine revved on its own. Shifted back to P. observed clunk sound from transmission. Shifted back to R and observed clunk sound. Reversed to street. Shifted to D. vehicle accelerated on its own without depression accelerator to 20 mph. Pulled over. Shifted to P. turned off ignition. Restarted vehicle. Clunk sound or sudden acceleration not observed.

- Bend, OR, USA

problem #15

Apr 182011


  • miles
From point of purchase (November 2010) the vehicle always had a hard start, the seat belt was incorrectly installed and the gas lid fails to open without manual prodding. In April 2012 the engine failed to start, and then this continued to happen multiple times thereafter. The dealership changed the battery and service the vehicle. In the following months a series of issues continued, windshield washer pump stopped working, failure start, loud knocking sound in the engine while idle and driving, and then the car started to stall and thrust hard forward. The car was serviced again, oil changed, the changed the pump and filters, all reported problems persisted through 2013. For three months the car remained in the dealership service shop where the engine was serviced, and some "tappets" were replaced. The dealership cracked the engine cover, replaced it, without informing me. All engine, fail start, and windshield pump issues continues to persist to date (September 2013) despite multiple services.

- St Thomas, VI, USA

problem #14

Sep 022013

Sorento 4-cyl

  • 37,600 miles
While pulling into parking space, car became non-responsive to gas pedal input, but brakes sill worked. Hill asst and etc lights lit up on dash, car would not shift past neutral. Turned car off and on and was able to shift to park. Car started normally after being shut off.

- Portland, OR, USA

problem #13

Aug 312013

Sorento 4-cyl

  • 37,500 miles
While driving out of a parking lot at about 10 mph the vehicle shut down and all the dash lights illuminated. I turned the key off and on and the car restarted, drove rest of day without incident. Car stalled a second time two days later.

- Portland, OR, USA

problem #12

Jun 232013

Sorento 6-cyl

  • 40,000 miles
I came to a stop, suddenly the dash lights started flashing, and the car would not accelerate. I turned the key a couple of times but nothing happened, I turned off the radio and then turned on my emergency flashers. I then put the car in park and turned the key again. This time the car started and I drove it home. Two days later the Sorento was taken to the shop. Possible reason given on the workorder for the stalling/shutting down was that the gas tank had been overfilled. The technician also told my husband that this problem had been reported in other vehicles and should be solved by the brake switch recall, service bulletin 13V114000. He explained that the engine control system receives a signal from the brake switch for the starting process and, if the signal is not received, the vehicle will not start. Because of the faulty brake switch, he stated that it could interrupt the operation of the vehicle by sending an erroneous signal to the engine control system, activating the "no start" process. Even with the vehicle running, this would cause the engine to cut out. He further stated this recall replacement of the brake light signal switch should cure that problem. After running a complete diagnostic check on the vehicle, the service rep said there were no stored codes in the engine control memory indicating a fault. Since shutting the motor off due to an erroneous signal that the brake was not engaged is not a set fault code, this may not have been recorded. Also, the rep stated that if a fault had occurred, it may not have been in place long enough to record a fault code. Though he did give these answers verbally, they were not specifically indicated on the service invoice, and this connection was not listed on the recall notice for the brake light switch. Is this Kia official position that the brake switch recall fixes the engine shutdown?

- Seattle, WA, USA

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