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?


fairly significant
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 3
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
9,757 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 1 of 2)

problem #23

Feb 022013


  • 30,000 miles


Air conditioning not cooling properly.drain and recharge system by dealership, still not cooling ordered a new installed new compressor and recharge system.

- Middleburg, FL, USA

problem #22

Jun 152013

Sorento 6-cyl

  • 29,000 miles
Found this on another web site: (see below for description) very interesting: Apparently this defect has been going on since 2002!! well it's still happening I have the 2011 6 cyl AWD and found out it's still a defect in the 2012 and 2013. Nothing more to say but 'shame on Kia motors' your lack of taking ownership for this defect is just discusting. NHTSA please help us.....lives need to be saved; I am bleary eyed reading all the powertrain defects for the 2011 Kia Sorento. The Kia Sorento is prone to catastrophic engine failure, according to a class action lawsuit filed in New Jersey. Plaintiffs allege in the Kia Sorento class action lawsuit that Kia motors knowingly concealed that its 2002-2009 Sorento crossovers were manufactured with a defective engine part called the crank sprocket. This alleged engine defect leads to a catastrophic chain of events that starts with severe heat buildup, the release of debris, and then leads to loss of steering control, engine failure and the potential for a hazardous accident, according to the class action lawsuit.

- Port Jefferson Station, NY, USA

problem #21

Jul 132012


  • 25,000 miles
As I back U this weird scratchy sound and also as I drive at normal speed.

- Wallington, NJ, USA

problem #20

Apr 022012


  • 13,225 miles


When trying to step on gas vehicle seems to strain. Example, when needing to get in lane, my car seems not to get much gas which I feel especially on highway, may cause an accident. My vehicle tend to ride quite rough as far as wheel suspension. I have had a wheel alignment and have had the vehicle checked. I was told nothing seemed to be wrong with it. I had the $189 service did on my car as well. I called the recall center and I was told nothing showed for my vehicle. My vehicle is not performing as it should.

- New Orleans, LA, USA

problem #19

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 #18

Dec 272011

Sorento 4-cyl

  • 26,982 miles
While driving the vehicle and while pressing the gas pedal the vehicle starts to come to a stop as if the gas pedal is not being applied. I have to release the gas pedal and press it again for the Sorento to respond and continue to accelerate. I took it to the dealer and they have no clue as to what is the problem. They reset the computer and released the vehicle to me but the problem persists.

- Guaynabo, PR, USA

problem #17

Dec 232011

Sorento 6-cyl

  • 16,130 miles


While driving through a shopping plaza, going about 15mph, the vehicle suddenly shut off, causing the loss of all power assist functions and electrical operation. The electrical came back on-line right away, but the car had to be restarted. The second time it happened was in rush hour traffic, 4 days later. The car was coasting at about 25 mph when it shut down again.

- Mesa, AZ, USA

problem #16

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

problem #15

Sep 012010


  • 5,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Kia Sorento. The contact stated that while driving 30 mph, the vehicle stalled without warning. The contact also stated that the vehicle suddenly accelerated upon restarting. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer on several occasions and they were unable to diagnose the failure. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure, but could not offer any assistance without having a diagnosed failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 5,000 and the current mileage was 22,000.

- Jefferson , NY, USA

problem #14

Oct 152011


  • 12,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Kia Sorento. The contact was driving 50 mph when she heard a clicking sound coming from the engine as the vehicle stalled. The vehicle was towed to the dealer who diagnosed that the filter place in the engine was not up to standards and the engine would need to be rebuilt. The vehicle was not repaired. The VIN was not available. The failure and current mileage was 12,000.

- Dahlonega , GA, USA

problem #13

Jul 182011

Sorento 6-cyl

  • 8,700 miles


While driving down the expressway, without warning, there was a catastrophic engine failure causing one or two of the connecting rods to blow through the oil pan and start a fire from the front of the vehicle to the back underneath the carriage. The flames came up the sides and back of the car. Needless to say it was extremely frightening. Looking at the damage of the car I never expected them to attempt to repair this car yet they did. The car was down for almost two months, the second engine and power steering failed before we even drove the repaired car off the lot. Kia still did not want to do anything but repair the car again. They said, "these things happen thats why you have a warranty". these things have never happened to me or anyone I know in the 30 years I have been driving. You buy a new car to avoid such problems. The car has now been returned to me and it is still not right. I just took it in for them to blow out the vents and filters. There was still remnants of the fire extinguisher coming out when you turned on the air. This car is defective and should have a salvaged title. I was forced to put in a law suit.

- Chicago, IL, USA

problem #12

Jan 192011


  • 19,000 miles
When accelerating from a stop or slow speed the engine will occasionally bog down and almost die. This is extremely dangerous when pulling into traffic or across oncoming lanes of traffic. It has occurred numerous times. Sometimes from a full stop and sometimes from low speed (less than 10 mph). I have taken the car to the dealer three times. The first two times they claimed to have repaired the vehicle and turned it back over to us without any comment. The third time, after I complained about it not being fixed the two times before, they finally admitted there was nothing they could do. They claim to have driven another 2011 Sorento which did the same thing and they claim to have contacted Kia who told them if there was no code on the computer (there was not) there was nothing they could do. This is very dangerous and needs to be corrected. And by the way, your system will not accept my E-mail, I guess because it has a dash (-) in it so I am using my wife's E-mail.

- Knoxville, TN, USA

problem #11

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 #10

Apr 012011


  • 5,000 miles
After the first dealer oil change I began getting lifter noise on engine start up that would last for minutes. The problem has gotten worse. Dealer refuses to aknowledge the problem and now I have put a non-op on my brand new 2011 Sorento because of this problem. Tried to get this resolved with a lawyer and the company refused to take the car back. I have been forced to retain a lemon law attorney to get this resolved. Kia motors does not stand behind their warranty. My car was in and out of different dealerships with an array of problems. The interior cloth around the rear hatch is coming apart and the car was in the shop 3 times for it and it was never fixed. The last dealer said that they have to get "special permission" to fix this even though the car is under factory warranty. The brakes are getting very spongy, and they are still not fixed. The car has been in the shop for over 70 days on and off with most of my complaints being ignored. One of my original complaints was a glare off the instrument cluster that blinds the driver on sunny days. I almost hit another car when I was momentarily blinded by the "chrome rings" around the cluster while flashed in the eyes as I was going around a curve. They said that they could not correct this problem because it was an "engineering" problem. The bluetooth still does not work correctly, and I am still getting warning lights that go on and off, including low tire pressure (when the tires are fine) as well as an emissions light and a check engine light. There are many problems with this car and it is parked because of them. The car is not safe to drive, and I submit that the company knows a lot more about these problems than they are letting on.

- Tualatin, OR, USA

problem #9

Apr 022010

Sorento 4-cyl

  • 1,000 miles
My 2011 Kia Sorento ex 4 cylinder has had a safety issue with hesitation upon takeoff from a stop sign or any stop. You never know when it will accelerate and I am very concerned it will cause an accident. I have taken it to the local dealer many times as it should be covered under the bumper to bumper warranty. They act like there is not a problem, but there is. One time they did say it would take a software fix that Kia has not provided. I just want it fixed.

- Springdale, AR, USA

problem #8

Jun 152011

Sorento 6-cyl

  • 10,800 miles
While driving down interstate at various speeds, the vehicle suddenly dies and the vehicle coasts down the road w/ service engine soon light illuminated. Vehicle has only 11K miles on it; has done it 3 times in 2 days. All Kia service would do is clear the history (reset).

- Mint Hill, NC, USA

problem #7

Apr 182011

Sorento 6-cyl

  • 50 miles
We purchased/leased a new 2011 Sorento V6 and almost immediately started experiencing the occasional hesitation problem when pulling into traffic from a stop. On a couple occasions it put us in a very dangerous situation as we were crossing 2 lanes of traffic. Took the vehicle to courtesy Kia in brandon fl. 4 times, they could not duplicate the problem. Finally they got us a 2012 near identical Sorento V6, and on the 3rd day had the same experience w/50 miles on the vehicle. We now have 500+ on it and have had a total of 7 similar situations. The dealership says I'm the only one experiencing this and that they aren't aware of the problem, although I talked w/a customer of theirs w/a 2011 Sorento and he said he and his wife have the same issues w/theirs. We are very disappointed with this situation, but other than that we like the vehicle & get lots of compliments on it, but I am also letting others know of our experiences. Its our first Venture from GM, and it will likely be our last. Additionally, the 2011 was getting the advertised fuel mileage, the 2012 has not gotten any better than 17.5 on the highway or in town. When we turned in the 2011 they charged me $2,500 (money that we were to get back from Kia in the deal) which I thought was really out of line. I admit we put 5,000 miles on it but $.50 per mile is a bit much, plus I had added heat & lumbar in the seats and tinted windows. This is truly a serious safety issue and very disappointing. I can't help but wonder what Kia & the dealerships will do when some is seriously hurt or killed as a result of this problem that they can't find or even admit is happening.!? jj (note: The VIN provided is for the 2012 Kia Sorento).

- Temple Terrace, FL, USA

problem #6

Jun 102011

Sorento 6-cyl

  • 175 miles
Going downhill in our newly purchased 2011 Kia Sorento ex V6, reaching a 4 way stop, our engine quit. Vehicle had only 175 miles on it as it is brand new. Car restarted without further incident. Took it to dealer, they found no problem or faults registered on the onboard computer. I have read of similar occurrences with other 2011 Kia Sorento ex V6. I will file another report if it happens again.

- Manhattan Beach, CA, USA

problem #5

Apr 272011


  • 800 miles
The contact owned a 2011 Kia Sorento. While driving approximately 40 mph, the check engine light began illuminating. The contact also began to see sparks coming from the engine. The vehicle was pulled over and a fire began under the engine. The fire department appeared to the scene to extinguish the fire. A police report was also filed but no injuries were reported. The vehicle was destroyed and towed to an authorized dealer where they were in the process of diagnosing the failure. The failure and current mileage was 800.

- Pocono Lake, PA, USA

problem #4

Feb 142011


  • 1,900 miles
I have had the car for about 4 months. During this time it has 5 times completely shut off in the middle of an intersection and once while I was changing lanes in stop and go traffic. I have taken it back to the dealer twice and they have been unable to duplicate the problem.

- Upper Marlboro, MD, USA

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