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:
2 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
2 / 0
Average Mileage:
16,896 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 suspension problems

suspension problem

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2011 Kia Sorento Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #23

Nov 222016


  • 101,000 miles


The contact owns a 2011 Kia Sorento. While the vehicle was stationary, the cv axle leaked fluid. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the issue. The failure mileage was 101,000.

- Plattsburgh, NY, USA

problem #22

Apr 232016


  • miles
While slowly backing out of driveway, loud bang noise, shook car. Front right coil spring broke off. Had towed to Kia dealer, front right coil spring, right ball joint, and left front strut was replaced. Extended warranty covered all costs. Over$ 1,000. 73.600 miles.

- Conneaut, OH, USA

problem #21

Nov 032014


  • 56,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Kia Sorento. While driving at various speeds, the rear end of the vehicle would vibrate and shake. The vehicle was taken to the dealer, who indicated that the tires needed to be replaced and the suspension needed to be aligned. The four tires were replaced and the suspension was aligned but the failure reoccurred. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 56,000.

- San Antonio, TX, USA

problem #20

Sep 112014


  • 50,000 miles


At approximately 9 a.M. on September 11th 2014 my family and I were traveling eastbound on 66 from front royal Virginia to the dulles airport. My boyfriend [xxx] was driving at the time and I was seated behind him next to our 3 year old daughter. We were traveling in the left lane of 66 at about 70 miles an hour when all of a sudden our vehicle went wildly out of control. We fishtailed, went through the right lane of 66 all the way across, slamming us head on into the dewey wall and guardrail. I was violently jolted forward and smashed my face into the back of the driver seat. I was taken by ambulance to fraquier co. Hospital. I suffered multiple nasal fractures and 2 abrasions to my nose and gash on my knee. I required a ct scan, stitches, and my nose to be reset. I had black eyes, severe head aches and swelling for several weeks. The axel in the rear passenger, behind the driver side, had snapped cleanly at the weld. There was no major rust and no jagged edges on the break. There was also no dent or damaged to the scrape plate as found by auto repair shop.indicating the car had not been driven roughly. It is believed by both the auto repair shop and is written in the police report as a manufacturer's defect. My family and I could have been killed, luckily my 3 year old daughter was ok even though she still talks about the incident. I was on my way to the airport for my grandfather's funeral which I missed. My nose will also require rhinoplasty to be completely fixed. I had a look at the part myself and have pictures in can't believe my eyes, I am aware that there have been problems with the front axles of these vehicles. The incident has left me with severe anxiety. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Front Royal, VA, USA

problem #19

Feb 122014

Sorento 4-cyl

  • miles
2/12/14 was the date that I purchased this vehicle. I have hated every minute of it since. It kept sounding like stuff was falling off the bottom of my car. I took it in and here both the front struts are out. Then to find out they where out before I even bought the vehicle! I have been waiting months for Kia to get the parts in this country to have my car fixed! since then I have been stuck driving my new/used vehicle with no struts. Without the struts working that alignment is off which causes the vehicle to pull. I have two young children that ride in this vehicle plus I drive 25 miles to work and 25 miles back every day. I call Kia and the dealership to check on the parts order and all they can say is they are back ordered.....well, if it is a 2011 and parts are back ordered so far I have to wait months to get them, something is wrong. Struts should not have to be replaced this soon on a car.

- Westby, WI, USA

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problem #18

Jan 132014

Sorento 6-cyl

  • 5,000 miles
There is a problem with the suspension on all 2011 Kia Sorento cars. The suspension is very bad on rough roads. The vibration and noise in the cabin is not normal. It is very hard on your back and should be modified by the manufacturer.

- Frisco, TX, USA

problem #17

Feb 132013

Sorento 6-cyl

  • 26,112 miles


Single clunking noise whenever decelerating, which was verified by Kia service advisor at NY Kia dealership.

- Williston Park, NY, USA

problem #16

Apr 122012

Sorento 6-cyl

  • 22,531 miles
Bought car on 4-12-12 had 22531 miles on it. From time of purchase it would pull to the right severely. We had Kia dealership check out steering problem. They couldn't find anything wrong. They charged us for an alignment and said car should stir fine. Alignment do nothing to fix steering problem, still pulls severely to the right at any speed.

- Graham, WA, USA

problem #15

Nov 042012


  • 24,000 miles
Wheel assembly appears to have completely given out. Vehicle traveling at ~35mph when it rose slightly then gave out. Vehicle hit side of parked car and flipped on to side and into retaining wall - full side curtain airbag deployment. Entire front passenger wheel well completely vacant. Everything laying on street including suspension springs. Witness to support events. Vehicle under 25K miles (2011 model, incident 2012). Vehicle totaled by insurance.

- Conroe, TX, USA

problem #14

Aug 142011

Sorento 4-cyl

  • 22,000 miles
This is my wife's vehicle, but given the issue she is afraid to drive it..... driving up hill with my foot on the gas pedal at 50 mph. My vehicle lost power ( as if I slammed on the brake ) my body went forward and was stopped by the seatbelt. My head whipped downward. Then the vehicle surged forward. My head and body slapped back into the seat. It was so abrupt and violently. It will scare you to death. This has happened to many times over the last year to count. I have tried to document the events in a journal because the dealer has been able to duplicate it only once. Some days it can happen up to 3 times a day for weeks on end. Some times I can duplicate it driving up hill and sometimes nothing. The worst times are when merging into traffic or when someone is following to close behind me. My fear is that I will hurt another motorist or a passenger in my vehicle. A term called " limp mode " has been said to me. Where the transmission shifts to a hi gear to protect it from damage. My vehicle still does this at least once every other day. I have been to the dealer 14 times. The tranny was replaced a year ago and a backfire code was found recently. A computer software update that didn't help was the last thing done in over a year, unless you count paying for rental vehicles doing something. There is also a suspension/steering issue. A hard pulling left/right and bump steer. The vehicle will pull the steering wheel out of your hand in turns and veers as it hits bumps.

- Pittsburgh, PA, USA

problem #13

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 #12

Feb 032012


  • 14,500 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Kia Sorento. The contact was driving approximately 25-35 mph when he heard a loud, wining noise. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where they were unable to diagnose the failure. The manufacturer was contacted and advised the contact to continue driving the vehicle and if the noise became more prominent, then they would buy back the vehicle at full cost. The vehicle had not been repaired. The failure and current mileages were approximately 14,500.

- Elkhorn, WI, USA

problem #11

Dec 162011


  • 2,700 miles
I bought my 2011 Sorento sx AWD 2 months ago and have had nothing but problems with it. The dealer has aligned the car 3 times for pulling to the right, it still does it. My biggest issue is the vibration and groan sound I get when driving at 57mph. The sound is a resonating and annoying sound which goes up and down and seems to subside after 60mph and get bad again at 80mph. The dealer has balanced the new tires 3 times, swapped the drive line with another Sorento and it didn't improve it at all. They placed a new drive line and it made it worse. I have opened a trouble ticket and a case number with Kia customer support but they have said the issue is an inherent characteristic of this vehicle. Not acceptable by me. Kia Corp needs to find a solution for this issue. I am wondering if anyone else has had a similar issue and have a fix for it.

- Chandler, AZ, USA

problem #10

May 022011

Sorento 6-cyl

  • 7,000 miles
I have taken my 2011 Kia Sorento in 3 or 4 times to see if they can find out what is wrong with the suspension. They did a visual inspection and said all looks good. They have refused to do anything to my vehicle. The mechanic agreed with me, on the rough ride. The vehicle bounces all over the road. Kia did change the suspension in Oct of 2011 on all new Sorentos. Which tells me they know there is a problem with the old ones. Also if you look online it appears a lot of people who bought Sorentos in the beginning are complaining about the rough ride. Kia needs to do recall on all older models and up grade them. (this is from Kia noticed this ride quality issue and decided to take the costlier dfd dampers and employ them not just on the new sx model, but across the model's entire range beginning in the fourth quarter. While Kia officials we spoke with at an atlanta press event this week stopped short of admitting that the Sorento's ride quality has been an issue, they did note that once engineers sampled the dfd setup on the sx, they liked the ride so much they decided to institute the new units on all Sorentos.)

- Lombard, IL, USA

problem #9

Jun 022010

Sorento 4-cyl

  • miles
Update to complaint of 6-2-2010: Since my original filing, I have had a total of 5 alignments, 1 steering wheel straightening, 1 tightening of alignment specs, a front tire switch; also 4 new tires with spin balance were put on the SUV by Kia. I have given up on Kia being able to correct the SUV drifting to the right. The new tires did help somewhat, but mostly they gave it a better ride. Took Sorento in on transmission recall fix May 2011; several days later the SUV wouldn't shift into gear and had to be towed back to dealer. Brand new transmission was installed, and SUV runs better than ever. The initial purchase of this vehicle was really a challenge, but the Sorento has turned out to be a great vehicle and I am very satisfied with the driving and handling. I have hauled at least 1,000 pounds in the back at one time with no trouble; this SUV is a workhorse.

- Canton, OH, 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

Jan 152011


  • 14,000 miles
I purchased a 2011 Sorento ex in 2/2010. I was told at the time that the steering, when it pulled to the right, was normal for this type of suspension. I dealt with it for a long time. Then, I noticed one day a loud clanking noise coming from the back of the vehicle. I brought it in right away, and they told me that my rear shock went out on the right side and the back leftside was almost gone as well. So, they ordered the new ones. While they had my vehicle for 5 days, I asked them to do an alignment but told me that I was past 12K miles, and wouldnt be covered uner warranty. I called Kia affairs and they covered the repair under the warranty. However, the pulling (after the alignment) is still the same. I also mentioned a noise coming from the front end especially when braking. It is not normal, but dont know what it is... they told me there was nothing wrong with the brakes. But, any passenger in my vehicle hears it and says something is wrong. I am waiting for either my steering to go out or my brakes to not work on day as I know theres an isssue. There is also a clanking noise when starting the engine. What could be causing that? it sounds like someone needs to investigate and help consumers! please. I will also follow up with Kia affairs, but someone needs to intervene. The same issues aer being experienced by many people. There should be a recall relating to the steering, suspension, clunking engine noise when starting...before something happens. These are just a few people who have spoken up, but all are similar in nature, and there must be many more who have not complained. ! thank you.

- Round Lake, IL, 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

problem #5

Dec 062010


  • 3,000 miles
Front strut failure at 3K miles. Car randomly has a loud metallic clunk sound when starting, sometimes the car will surge/jump forward when starting (while the car is in park, parking brake on and foot on brake). The transmission shifter gets stuck in park and does not release, with great effort releasing from park(car made loud metallic clank sound and surged/jumped in reverse). I'm afraid to park too close to another car because starting car can cause collision. When the transmission is stuck the brakes depress to floor of car. Since day one the car has pulled to the right, after strut replacement the problem is worse (the faster the speed the harder it is to steer straight).

- Fort Worth, TX, USA

problem #4

Dec 142010

Sorento 4-cyl

  • 150 miles
I recently purchased a 2011 Kia Sorento 4 cyl. And just after one day of ownership noticed that the car was pulling to the right. I immediately took it back to the dealership with only 150 miles on it. They said it was the alignment and did a test on it and after the test the car pulled to the left. The steering wheel is also off center, like many others have reported. I have taken it back once more and this time they performed a tire rotation, this did not fix the problem. After three weeks of ownership the brakes have started to make substantial noise and the suspension feels and sounds like it is coming apart. The dealer is waiting for Kia technician representative to come by and take a look and report on this vehicle.

- Stephens City, VA, USA

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