2011 Kia Sorento transmission NHTSA complaints: Power Train:Automatic Transmission

NHTSA — Power Train: Automatic Transmission Problems

2011 Kia Sorento (Page 1 of 2)

CarComplaints.com Seal Of This Might Hurt

CarComplaints.com 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 1 of 2)

problem #37

Aug 042011


  • 28,300 miles


I purchased a brand new 2011 Kia Sorento from Kia. I was driving on the highway with my family and suddenly I felt like I hit a brick wall and a my Sorento RPM guage jumped to 6000 RPM. I pulled over and looked under the hood for any visual damage which I could not find, I then proceeded to put the car in drive and I noticed the car would not shift from 1st gear. Again I was on the highway with my I year old. I called roadside assistant for the 1st time in my life after owning over 20 new cars. My car was towed and my family was stuck out of town with no vehicle for two days. The dealer looked at my car and said that they could not duplicate the problem. Of course not! I call Kia Corp and the just took my name and provided me with a case #. what about being strainded without a car for 2 day and luckly I had family near by for a place to stay. I received a call from the dealership informing me that Kia had issued a transmission software upgrade, so after the update my car was driving like new again. That's when I noticed about 2 weeks later on my way to work I felt that same feeling like hitting a brick wall. The dealer still has not addressed the concern and their only solution is a software update. This will be my second Kia that I have owned and the last!!!! 6yr 100,000warranty is not worth the drama. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6)

- Arlington, TX, USA

problem #36

Jun 102011

Sorento 4-cyl

  • 18,000 miles
My Kia Sorento 2011 manual transmission is jerking while we driving or coming out of a full stop but this is random, shes been at the dealer on 4 ocasions but they can not figure out whats wrong, the computer did not advise of any problem so we continue using the car and make notes of when it happens the dealer told us when it happend more often then take her back, so if anybody has an idea of what it can be we would like to hear from you, thanks.

- Virginia, VA, USA

problem #35

Aug 042011

Sorento 4-cyl

  • 24,000 miles
Transmission broken for 4th time. Vehicle towed for 4th time. One new transmission installed in Nov 2010. On 04 Aug 2011, while at bank, multiple warning lights came on and vehicle, with my spouse, a us naval veteran and (disabled), when she could not put vehicle in park, neutral, or reverse. As she sat crying for the 4th time the vehicle has let her down, she got the attention of 2 women whom came over and noted the problems and took photos for when the dealership "crown Kia" in tyler Texas says "we cant duplicate your concern." We are now writing our second demand letter and will take Kia to circuit court to get our money back and get away from this dangerous vehicle that has left my wife stranded for the 4th and last time due to gross neglegence and violation of the magnusson moss waranty act and the state of Texas lemon laws. The cruise control has broken 3 times and is still broken. The vehicle has pulled to the right since purchase. The Kia Sorento has left my spouse stranded on multiple occasions including an out of state trip to ft. Bragg nc while attempting to visit active duty son home from iraq. And the icing for all potential/future Kia owners, this is our 7th Kia. Yes, this is how Kia rewards customer loyalty.

- Tennessee Colony, TX, USA

problem #34

Aug 042011

Sorento 4-cyl

  • 13,000 miles


A couple of months ago I took my 2011 Kia Sorento in because I felt something was wrong with the transmission. When I drive it, it feels like it is not shifting properly. The RPM's would go up too high before it would shift gears. It is an automatic. They said they drove it but did not feel anything and gave it back to me. Today I drove it and when I went to put it in park it would not go beyond neutral. I immediately called the dealership and took it in. They were very vague about what it could be and just said they have had several come in with this problem. It concerns me that my transmission is going out. I see where there have been investigations into the 2011 Kia Sorentos for transmission failure. Have you encountered any having the problem of being able to shift out of drive?

- Cartersville, GA, USA

problem #33

May 012011


  • 3,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Kia Sorento. The contact stated that the transmission failed to switch gears while driving 55 mph. The contact had to shut off the engine to allow the vehicle to cool in order to proceed with driving. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for diagnosis where they were unable to diagnose or duplicate the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The VIN is unavailable. The failure mileage was 3,000 and the current mileage was 5,000.

- Charleston, SC, USA

problem #32

Jul 112011

Sorento 4-cyl

  • 25,000 miles
Driving at about 45 mph, dry, clear conditions. For no apparent reason, heard a loud thud and felt a sharp jarring. There was no collision, nor did I hit anything in the road. Transmission immediately went into safety or "limp" mode. Dealer could not diagnose problem. Vehicle reset when restarted.

- Aliso Viejo, CA, USA

problem #31

Jul 112011

Sorento 4-cyl

  • 15,000 miles


My 2011 Kia Sorento is stuck in the drive position. This has occurred on and off for a few months but was always able to manipulate the brake, and key to get the car to shift. Today I left for work, made a quick stop at the store and my Kia would not shift into park. I was ae to put it in neutral. I turned the car off applied the er brake got what I needed. Returned to the car and started it. Was still unable to shift to P, or R. I was in neutral and luckily on a slight slope so the car rolled back enough to avoid hitting the building. Place the car in drive and went on to work. When I arrived at work the car still would not go in to anything but N and D the traction control light and down slop light came on and would not go off. After a while my husband was able to get the car in park. I then left for an appointment and the car would not shift out of P. giggled things around and finally was able to back up and drive. When I arrived at my appointment the Kia would not go into R or P and it remained that way. I had to place the car in neutral apply er brake. After work I was able to maneuver the gear shift enough to be able to get it to go into reverse. I heard loud clunking noises. Backed up slowly and carefully. Putting the car into drive I heard more loud noises. I then proceeded to the Kia dealership where I purchased the car and left it for them to check it out. I'm extremely aggervatted that I had to leave my car unlocked all day with the key in the emission and er brake applied. I hope this helps with the investigation of the bad transmissions in the Kia.

- Amarillo, TX, USA

problem #30

Feb 012011


  • 6,000 miles
The contact owns 2011 Kia Sorento. While driving various speeds, the contact stated that the vehicle would jerk violently. When applying pressure to the gasoline pedal, the vehicle would not accelerate;however, it would make a loud noise. The transmission was replaced in February 2011 by the dealer. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The vehicle was not inspected or repaired. The current mileage was 10,000. The approximate failure mileage was 6,000.

- San Diego, CA, USA

problem #29

May 172011

Sorento 4-cyl

  • 31,000 miles
I filed this report 6/23/11 on Kia.com consumer care website: 2011 Sorento LX (4cyl AWD) transmission has locked up multiple times. At 40 mph during acceleration, loud bang followed by severe jerking, (hard down-shift), loss of drive (engine continues to run but does not shift into gear), coast to stop, put in park. First few times it drove okay after a complete stop and from park, this last time it would not shift beyond 40 mph. Towed twice to dealer but they were unable to replicate the issue in the mileage that they drove it. Vehicle purchased 01/30/10 with 24K miles. Mileage at the last service was 33K. First event 5/17, occurs every 4-5 days or approx 200-250 mi. Chk engine lt / transmission light have never come on, computer diagnostic doesnt register any issues. The dealer was very nice but without Kia's approval would not keep the car long enough to find the problem. I asked Kia directly to provide a tech to drive the car long enough to experience the issue but they have refused to authorize it and have also stated that without verification they will not approve any repairs. I am very afraid that next time it happens it will cause a serious accident. I have already had two close calls on the freeway 6/28: The same issue occurred again 4 days ago (6/24) on a narrow two lane road while accellerating after a stop sign (again about 40-45 mph). This time it lost all drive and RPM's did not go up when pushing the gas pedal. Put it into park and tried two more times before it finally drove. Today 6/28, at a gas station the car would not go into reverse. After several tries to shift into any gear, turned it off and on again and it drove okay out of the station but 200 yds later as I was accelerating up the ramp to enter I-5 (a 6 lane freeway during early commute) it made the same loud bang, jerk and then lost drive, coasted to shoulder. Turned engine off, waited a few minutes to restart, it was not very responsive but I was able to exit the freeway.

- Roseville, CA, USA

problem #28

Apr 302011

Sorento 4-cyl

  • 100 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Kia Sorento. The contact stated that the vehicle stalled while stopped at a stop light. Upon restart, the vehicle operated as normal. The contact also stated that when driving in excess of 60 mph, the vehicle would not accelerate further when pressure was applied to the accelerator pedal. A knocking noise was also heard coming from the front end of the vehicle, and the vehicle would intermittently jerk backwards. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer where they were unable to diagnose the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 100. A new transmission was installed 6/29/2011. Updated 09/07/2011

- Alpharetta, GA, USA

problem #27

Jun 202011

Sorento 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 7,200 miles


The contact owns a 2011 Kia Sorento. The contact stated the transmission starting slipping while shifting into first gear. The contact took the vehicle to the dealer and was told that the transmission needed to be replaced. The failure and current mileages was 7,200. Return to dealer 8/10/11 transmission fluid leaking, toil leaking, transmission still sticks. Updated 09/14/2011 the consumer returned to the vehicle to the dealer, due to transmission fluid leaking, as well as the getting stuck. Updated 12/05/11

- Fountain Hills, AZ, USA

problem #26

Jun 072011

Sorento 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 1,200 miles
Purchased a new Sorento LX on 5-2011, 4cyl, fwd, automatic. On three occasions during the first month I owned the vehicle, I have experienced 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.

- Elkhorn, NE, USA

problem #25

Jan 152011


  • 1,820 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Kia Sorento. While driving different speeds the vehicle would jerk forward and lose power. The transmission light illuminated on the instrument panel. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for diagnostic testing. The technicians stated the transmission needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. There was a recall under NHTSA campaign id number: 11V258000 (power train:driveline:driveshaft) but the dealer stated the VIN was not included. The approximate failure mileage was 1,820.

- Orland Park, IL, USA

problem #24

May 172011


  • 2,600 miles
Powertrain issue on my Kia Sorento LX 2011, 4L, there was a sudden loss of motive power when I was driving the highway with all my family on it. This causes me concern because when I try to accelerate I heard some unpleasant, loud and repetitive clicking noises under my car which eventually went away after a minute. This has happened three times since I bought my car 2 weeks ago. I had to call Kia and was advised me to go to any Kia authorized dealership within my area to get it fix, but they didn't offered me an car loan option while hypothetical repair takes place. My main concern is about the security of my family and risk of crash. Also I was shocked when Kia representative told me my car wasn't listed for a recall. When I have all the fore-mentioned symptoms described on NHTSA campaign id number: 11V258000.

- Hollywood, FL, USA

problem #23

Feb 022011


  • 45,600 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Kia Sorento. While driving approximately 20 mph the contact noticed that the vehicle would no longer accelerate. The vehicle rolled to a stop but the contact was unable to shift into park. The vehicle was towed to an authorized dealer where the contact was told that the transmission failed and would need to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired. The failure recurred twice. After each failure, the vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer where it was repaired. The failure mileage was 45,600 and the current mileage was 60,200.

- Menominee, MI, USA

problem #22

Oct 062010


  • 17,000 miles
In October of 2010, I was driving my 9 month old 2011 Kia Sorento. I was stopped at a traffic light and heard a very loud boom sound. I put the car in park. I tried to shift the gear into drive and it made a very loud grinding noise and the car would not move. I had the car towed into Kia and the transmission had completely gone including the drive shaft. They had to totally replace the transmission and drive shaft. Today is April 19, 2011 and for the past couple weeks my car has been hesitating like I am running out of gas, at some points the car actually jerks. I am taking the car in to be serviced today.

- West Palm Beach, FL, USA

problem #21

Apr 072011


  • 1,400 miles
2011 Kia Sorento ex V6 purchased 04-10.occasional loud noise and jolt forward during start.while driving at low speed sometimes vehicle slows down for second or two and then surges forward.

- Washingtonville, NY, USA

problem #20

Feb 202011

Sorento 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 27,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Kia Sorento. The contact was driving 55 mph when there was a loud noise and the vehicle lost power. The vehicle was towed to the dealer who stated that the drive train and the transmission failed. The dealer replaced the drive train and transmission which was under warranty. The manufacturer was contacted who stated that the vehicle was scheduled to be included in a recall but provided no additional information pertaining to the recall specifics. The failure mileage was 27,000. Updated 05/31/11

- Newport Richey, FL, USA

problem #19

Apr 082011


  • 10,000 miles
I was driving 60 mph in clear lane on highway on 04/08/11 when a very loud "bang" was heard in engine, SUV lurched violently and engine whined noticeably. It was immediately noticeable that the engine was losing acceleration power and I pulled over. When stopped, I put SUV into park and noticed it lurched. The vehicle lurched whenever the shifter was moved from P to R to N to D and back. It was readily apparent the vehicle had a transmission problem. 2011 Kia Sorento was purchased new, and had 10,000 miles on it at time of occurrence. Vehicle did not shift or drive correctly afterwards.

- Wardensville, WV, USA

problem #18

Mar 312011


  • 30,000 miles
After stopping to paying bridge toll, heard a loud grinding noise which sounded like something feel out from underneath the our 2011 Kia Sorento. From that point on the vehicle would only coast. This could have caused a major accident as 3 lanes of traffic were merging and luckily there was a parking lot just before getting on the bridge. We called roadside assistance and vehicle was towed to Kia dealership and transmission is being replaced. A rental car was provided, but is on a day-to-day basis...the repair is supposed to only take a week...not sure how I feel about the vehicle now.....there should be a recall...

- Franklinton, LA, USA

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