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 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
14,638 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 transmission problems

transmission problem

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2011 Kia Sorento Owner Comments (Page 2 of 2)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #17

Mar 262011


  • 17,000 miles


Transmission broken for third time. We can now duplicate the problem consistently by parking on an incline, putting the 2011 Kia Sorento in drive and attempting to take off, the vehicle grinds and then suddenly accelerates. We are taking vehicle into dealer for the 4th time. The transmission has been replaced once and the vehicle continues to grind and surge forward, once causing wife to nearly jump pedestrian sidewalk with her mother in vehicle.

- Tennessee Colony, TX, USA

problem #16

Mar 232011


  • 22,500 miles
After coming home from work my daughter said her car was making a strange noise. She asked me to take it for a test drive to see if I could tell what was wrong. After starting the car I placed the transmission in reverse. At that point I noticed a loud noise and felt a strong bump. After backing out of the driveway I put the car in drive and noticed the same noise. When the transmission down shifted as I stopped at an intersection I noticed the noise again. After driving about a mile I went to accelerate from a stop sign, we heard a loud noise, felt a bump, and then heard a very loud grinding sound coming from the transmission. At that point the engine was running but the car would not go any where. We were able to cost to a safe location along the side of the road. The car was towed to the local Kia dealership.

- Wilmington, OH, USA

problem #15

Mar 182011


  • 22,000 miles
Transmission failed on a 2011 Kia Sorento with 22K miles on it. We were pulling out into an intersection when it completely lost power. The only warning that I have seen in reference to a possible transmission issue is that the car idles high (at about 3500 RPM) in the morning. This was reported to Kia but they could not replicate it. As of now, the car is at the dealership waiting on a new transmission.

- Florida, FL, USA

problem #14

Mar 092011


  • 18,750 miles


I was traveling from columbus Ohio to toledo Ohio on a business trip. The trip started out normally, but when I arrived in toledo and pulled off at an I-75 exit, my transmission failed as I was exiting. Did not have any forward motion at the exit and heard only grinding sounds coming from the transmission when I tried to move. Ended up having it towed to the nearest Kia dealership. The dealership replaced the transmission, but I'm hearing a strange whine coming from the replacement transmission. This could have caused an accident if I had been traveling at 70 mph on the interstate. This issue needs a recall from Kia.

- Westerville, OH, USA

problem #13

Mar 032011


  • 24,000 miles
I was driving my 2011 Kia Sorento from Arkansas to Indiana. I stopped off to get gas and felt like someone bumped me in the rear end when I came to a stop. I looked behind me and there was plenty of room between the car behind me and myself. I wasn't sure what it was so I didn't really think too much about it and went on my way. The next time I got off the interstate and stopped, it did it again. I then called the dealership I bought my Sorento from and made an appt to take it in the following day. Needless to say it didn't make it to the next day. As soon as I got off the interstate (thankfully at my exit) the transmission went completely out. I then had to call roadside assistance and they had to tow it to the dealership. The next day I went to the dealership to find out that they were going to have to put a whole new transmission in my vehicle. I was provided a rental car until the service was complete. The thing was I was only in town for a long weekend and had to get back to Arkansas. They told me that I could drive the rental car back to Arkansas but would have to come get the Sorento when it was ready. (they would not ship the Sorento to me) it did end up working out ok, my mother and father inlaw picked up the Sorento when it was fixed and I drove one of their vehicles down to Arkansas. They brought the Sorento down to me on their vacation. I am very disappointed that the transmission went out in my brand new vehicle. I don't think that I will ever feel totally safe driving it again. I'm always going to be wondering what is going to happen next.

- White Hall, AR, USA

problem #12

Mar 112011


  • 8,900 miles
2nd event, uncommanded downshift from 6th gear to 4th gear at speed. Transmission then locks in 4th gear until shut down and restarted. Very violent event when it occurs, with an instantaneous bang and corresponding immediate loss of speed.

- Terryville, CT, USA

problem #11

Mar 032011


  • 8,200 miles


While driving on the interstate at 65 mph, transmission shifted to 4th gear uncommanded from 6th gear. Large bang and sudden deceleration. Think of hitting a foot deep pothole..without the pothole. Transmission locked in 4th gear until engine shut off and restarted. Problem has not recurred.

- Terryville, CT, USA

problem #10

Mar 042011

Sorento 4-cyl

  • 21,099 miles
I had just left work and drove about two blocks, stopped at stop sign, then pressed the accelerator when I heard a loud noise and then a grinding noise. The car would not move. I had to have it towed to the dealership. They are saying I will need a new transmission. I also have been having a problem with the doors unlocking by themselves as I drive. This has increased in frequency to 3 -4 times a week.

- Bettendorf, IA, USA

problem #9

Feb 252011


  • 23,765 miles
I was traveling at approximately 70 mph and my tachometer stopped working and I started losing speed. The car would not shift. I was able to move to manual shifting and resume my speed. But the tachometer continued to read "0".

- Williamstown, NJ, USA

problem #8

Feb 222011


  • 3,200 miles
While driving with cruise control set at 60 mph and transmission in the drive position, the vehicle suddenly down-shifted into 4th gear and held that position without shifting manually or automatically. The sudden shifting of the transmission would be similar to revving an engine in neutral and then shifting into drive with the RPM's very high and the sensation was a loud thud/thump sounding like I jumped a curb, with a similar sensation from the driving position. I was able to drive, but could not shift out of 4th gear even when I stopped at a safe location a few miles up the road. I was able to manually put the vehicle in N, R and P. I parked the vehicle and turned off the engine. I waited 15 seconds, restarted the vehicle and put it back in drive. At this point the engine returned to normal operation and shifted fine. No unusual noises or changes were noted. I was on the phone with the sales person who sold us the vehicle and he mentioned something about a computer glitch that handles automatic shifting. The vehicle in question has approx 3200 miles on it and this is the first major concern I have experienced.

- Saint Michael, MN, USA

problem #7

Feb 172011

Sorento 6-cyl

  • 5,000 miles


2011 Kia Sorento. Push button start. Intermittently you hear a thud and sometimes the entire vehicle jerks forward. Also have noticed when I turn vehicle off a shuttering noise coming from the right rear side car. Very disappointed with mileage on this vehicle also. Had to dealership twice and they say they can not duplicate my complaint.

- Greer, SC, USA

problem #6

Feb 022011

Sorento 4-cyl

  • 3,500 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Kia Sorento. The contact stated that while driving approximately 70 mph with the cruise control activated she heard a loud noise underneath the drivers seat. The vehicle then shuttered, stalled and wouldn't accelerate. The driver was able to keep driving, but couldn't accelerate over 20 mph. The vehicle was inspected by a dealer who informed the contact that the pressure control solenoid valve failed and that they needed to replace the transmission. The vehicle was repaired. The failure mileage was approximately 3,500. The consumer stated the vehicle has been in the shop two more times since filing the complaint. The consumer stated there was a strange noise coming from the vehicle. The dealer was claiming there were different problems with the vehicle, which was causing the noise. The consumer stated the doors would not lock and unlock and also the dome light wasn't working. The dealer found the door locks were disabled and the dome light connector was not connected. Updated 03/30/11

- North Wilkesboro, NC, USA

problem #5

Jan 212011


  • 4,000 miles
I have had my Kia Sorento for 10 months. It has been back to the dealership 4 times for transmission issues. On the third time that it went back, they decided to put a new transmission in it. It worked for three months. I was driving home from ky when the transmission started leaking. This was suppose to be a new transmission. Are there other issues with other cars"?"

- Spring Hill, TN, USA

problem #4

Dec 302010


  • 15,345 miles
Received our "repaired" 2011 Kia Sorento back, after 6 weeks of being without it from previous transmission failure, on 29 Dec 2010. The vehicle smelled as though it were hot on drive home from dealership. The next morning 30 Dec 2010, with the vehicle running and while at an intersection, I put the vehicle in drive but nothing happened except a grinding noise. I moved the shift up and down for several seconds and even tried turning the vehicle on and off to no avail. Finally after several seconds, I moved the shifter into drive and the grinding did not occur and the vehicle took off. The incident occurred, as did the initial failure 6 weeks ago, at an intersection whereby I could have been injured. The vehicle now, at random, repeats the same scenario.

- Tennessee Colony, TX, USA

problem #3

Jan 142011


  • 21,768 miles
Transmission on my 2011 Kia Sorento went when I was exiting a roadway. Car just wouldn't move forward anymore. Engine was still running.

- Williamstown, NJ, USA

problem #2

Nov 212010


  • 15,347 miles
Transmission and driveshaft broke 21 Nov 2010 barely making it across busy intersection. Vehicle is 2011 Kia Sorento. Purchased in February 2010 (in Texas), Kia Sorento broke down out of state (ft. Bragg, nc) thanksgiving week 2010. Kia had vehicle towed to nearest dealer - a+. Kia provided rental immediately - a+. Kia dealership reported transmission and driveshaft would need to be replaced. (vehicle started but would not move and made grinding noise). Kia now states "we do not have a followback policy" meaning I'm supposed to pay for vehicle to be returned from near ft. Bragg nc to where I reside in Texas - F. any one know the law" I have owned 7 Kia's including this one, you would think Kia would reward such loyalty"

- Tennessee Colony, TX, USA

problem #1

Sep 152010

Sorento 6-cyl

  • miles
Own 2011 Sorento ex V6 - similar complaint as another when using pushbutton start every 4 or 5 starts a loud clunking and engine torque or transmission is experienced. Also noted a continuing oscillating "hum" coming from the rear wheel area - very noticeable on somewhat smoother roads. Not due to roads since I have tried other roads to rule out a particular road. It's from the car and not the road. It never goes away.

- West Lafayette, IN, USA

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