2012 Kia Sorento drivetrain NHTSA complaints: Power Train

NHTSA — Power Train Problems

2012 Kia Sorento (Page 2 of 2)

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CarComplaints.com Notes: As long as catastrophic engine failure at under 60,000 miles is the top owner complaint, it'll be pretty hard to recommend the 2012 Sorento.


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
6 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
4 / 0
Average Mileage:
24,401 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.

2012 Kia Sorento drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2012 Kia Sorento Owner Comments (Page 2 of 2)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #10

Oct 242012


  • 21,500 miles


I purchased a 2012 Kia sorrento with 24 miles on 12/20/11. 10/24/12-I was driving up a hill with a line of cars behind me and students walking behind me my vehicle just stopped. I was forced to back down the hill. I had gone to visit my son in college and as soon as I go there I had to turn around and go home. I was 160 miles from home and didn't want to risk breaking down on the interstate in the dark. I took the vehicle to dealership 11/1/12-transmission was installed-vehicle was kept a week.our first replacement transmission. 1/1/13-my husband was driving and lost acceleration. We took the vehicle to dealership. Week 1-our 2nd new transmission installed. We called about vehicle and was told that they installed transmission but that it still wasn't working correctly and that they were speaking with the manufacture. They needed to put in a 3rd transmission. Another week past. End of week 2-stopped in to check on vehicle and was told that they needed to put in yet another transmission and this transmission would be coming directly off the manufacture floor. Once completed this will be the 4th new transmission in this vehicle. The dealership has had the vehicle this time for 27 days as of 1/29/12 and it's still not fixed. After the issues with the transmission the first time, I did some research and found that there were issues with transmissions in the 2011 Kia sorrento. There is obviously something seriously wrong with this vehicle.the dealership has spoken with the appropriate people at Kia to resolve this problem numerous times unsuccessfully and I have lost all confidence in this vehicle. I notified the manufacture and filed complaint. 5 total transmissions and over 30 days in the shop..it's time for Kia to step up and make this right!

- South Charleston, WV, USA

problem #9

Nov 152011


  • 18,000 miles
I own a 2012 4 cylinder Kia Sorento. I bought it new in Nov 2011. Had it about 8 months and was driving up a hill with traffic behind me and it just stopped....had to let traffic around me and then let off brake to coast back down hill until I got to a place I could pull in. Took it to local dealership...transmission issues-had to get new one...dealership kept it over a week.less than 2 weeks later my husband was driving up a hill and again same type of problems and was told by dealership I needed another transmission....it's been at dealership 1/2 a week and not sure when I'll get it back.

- South Charleston, WV, USA

problem #8

Feb 022012

Sorento 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 10,100 miles
I own a two-wheel-drive model 2012 Kia Sorento with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine and automatic transmissions. It has loss of power due to a sudden failure of the transmission; automatic transmission does not change gears and has a whirring/whining noise. The transmission shifts correctly between 1st and 2nd gear. Shifting into 3 the rmps begin to increase beyond normal limits and shifting into 4th is so delayed the transmission seems to be failing. At 35 mph, the RPM's ramp up to 4500 and continues to climb. By 45 mph it can be as high as 6500 rpms. The sustainable rpms in this vehicle are continuously 3500 to 4500 rpms and is quite loud. I have taken it to my local Kia dealer 4 times. On two occasions, they kept it for more than a week and always tell me that this is how the vehicle is designed and there is nothing wrong with it. The 4th time it was in the shop, another 2012 Sorento was brought in for the same problem. Twice this issue has nearly caused a wreck when I was pulling out from a stop sign, pressing the accelerator, and not having the power to get past 35 mph; pushing the rpms to 4500+. traveling up small grades is difficult at best let alone traveling steeper hills/crests and grades. I fear this will cause great damage to the transmission and engine or worse, cause a fatal crash with me and my children. Other vehicles have been taken to my local dealer for the same issue and I am certain others are having this same issue. Please review this issue. Thank you.

- Rocky Face, GA, USA

problem #7

Jun 062012


  • 6,000 miles


The contact owns a 2012 Kia Sorento. The contact was driving 45 mph when the vehicle would no longer accelerate. The contact was able to restart the vehicle and took it to the dealer for diagnosis. The dealer could not diagnose the failure. The manufacturer was contact and stated that if the dealer was unable to diagnose a failure then they would not be able to provide any assistance to the contact. The failure mileage was 6,000 and the current mileage was 96,000.

- Poinciana , FL, USA

problem #6

Sep 032011


  • 233 miles
The 2012 Kia Sorento LX AWD was purchased new with 233 miles on it. The vehicle's automatic transmission regularly hesitates to up-shift during smooth acceleration while under normal driving conditions (flat roads, cruising speeds), causing the engine to hang in the 3500+ RPM range. When the car has finished accelerating and has reached cruising speed, my foot backs off the accelerator pedal and it still does not up-shift or even coast. Instead, the vehicle drastically decelerates as the engine rpms drop because the transmission remains in the same gear when my foot leaves the accelerator, rather than up-shifting to the next gear. I have driven countless automatic transmission vehicles over the years and have never experienced this phenomenon prior to owning this vehicle. I don"T normally make use of the "sportmatic shift" feature of the vehicle's automatic transmission. However, sometimes "manually" up-shifting with the sportmatic shift is the only way to get the car to up-shift properly to 5th or 6th gear once acceleration is complete and cruising speed has been reached. It seems as if either the transmission or the power train control module is ill-informed or just poorly programmed. Aside from the sheer annoyance of this defect from a driver's perspective, it also is ruining the fuel economy of the vehicle. For a vehicle with an epa miles-per-gallon rating of 21 city/28 highway/23 combined, I have never once achieved true calculated fuel economy of over 20 mpg since owning this vehicle. My driving patterns are approximately 40% city and 60% highway driving. The car is driven in a fairly rural area with hardly any stop-and-go traffic. The vehicle is not carrying excess weight and all 4 tires are inflated to the manufacturer"S specification. I've seen online that several other 2012 Sorento drivers are complaining about this same issue.

- Plantsville, CT, USA

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problem #5

Dec 072011

Sorento 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
I have a 2012 Kia Sorento. Bought with 114 miles on it. I have the automatic transmission, ex AWD model w/power shifting. I noticed after driving my car shortly after purchasing that the car would not shift when it should. Rpms would reach up to 4000 and the car still would not shift. I have to manual shift the car into the next gear since my automatic transmission has trouble. If I wanted a standard transmission - I would have purchased one.

- Pennsburg, PA, USA

problem #4

Dec 132011


  • 4,500 miles


The contact owns a 2012 Kia Sorento. The contact stated that the vehicle was parked in a residential driveway with the engine off when it rolled backward and crashed into a neighboring home. The contact stated that before shutting the vehicle off, he was unable to shift into park and shut off the vehicle while in drive. The vehicle was destroyed. The police were called and a report was filed and available. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 4,500.

- Tucker, GA, USA

problem #3

Jul 222010

Sorento 6-cyl

  • miles
When starting vehicle with the start button, there is a loud popping sound and the vehicle either wants to lung forward or backwards in the park position, took the vehicle back to the dealer the first time, I'm told that until they actually hear the noise they cannot detect what is causing it since no check engine light comes on they did nothing since they didn't hear the noise. Took vehicle back second time as now the sound is getting louder and the lunging is more prominent, as the service manager was checking the vehicle in she started vehicle and heard the pop sound, said Kia put out an update for a part under the dealership recall number SA087 and that other vehicle that were brought in for the same reason were updated and they had no other vehicles come back after the updates installed. I was relieved to know that finally, something will be done, unfortunately, I received the vehicle back after the update and it is still doing the same thing. It does not do this every time I start the vehicle, however, it is playing on my nerves every time I go to start it I close my eyes and pray it is not going to happen again, it did and still does. I did file a case directly with Kia direct whereas they are monitoring it, I saw where there are other people having this same problem. You purchase a brand new vehicle assuming you have peace of mind and I am scared to even get in this vehicle. Called the dealership, and wants to set up yet another appointment, this is a great inconvenience, back and forth only to be told they cannot find anything.

- Jefferson Hills, PA, USA

problem #2

Aug 152011


  • 1,500 miles
2012 Kia Sorento V-6 AWD vehicle surges either forward or reverse during start up as if its partially in gear. Once started it seems to be fine and drives normally. The issue was sporadic at first but is now occuring on a daily basis. The dealership was first contacted on 8/27/11. The vehicle was then taken in on 9/6/11 but was not fixed as the dealership was having computer related issues. I have not been successful in getting a response from the dealer since then! 9/28/11

- Archbold, OH, USA

problem #1

Jun 012011


  • 100 miles
The problem I am having is intermittent. When I push the start button sometimes the car the lunges backwards while the car is still in park it only does this when I am starting the car. It also makes an audible noise at the same time it is " buck jumping". I have taken it to the dealer several times an on the first visit they heard the noise and figured it was the starter. They put in a new starter and I am still having this problem. The transmission also seems to slip during city driving but it is very subtle. Now after about the fifth time being in the shop every time they say they can't reproduce my description of the problem to make a diagnosis so they can't fix it. However, they have already heard the problem because they put in a new starter and told me if the problem persists to bring it back. On one of the visits they rewired the electrical parts to see if it was an electrical problem and it was not. I am afraid that one of these days the car is actually going to move out of park and hit something. Every time I push the start button I hold my breath and go stiff because when it "acts" up the whole car jumps backwards as if it is trying to shift itself in reverse and the noise was described as the starter is hitting the flywheel or some other terminology I can't recall. I always pick my car up from them without it being repaired because they continue to say they were unable to reproduce the problem, but how is it that as soon as the same day of picking my car up or within the next few days my car starts jumping when I push the start button. The dealership has kept my car a full week on more than one visit and the mechanic has put as many as 85 miles on it starting it frequently and you guessed it - has not been able to reproduce the problem!!!!! somebody is not forthcoming with the truth.

- Memphis, TN, USA

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